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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Red Hills Needle Canyon, AZ

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175 13 2
Guide 13 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
Rated
3
3 of 5 by 8
 
1
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
Canyoneering
Consensus
View 1
Grade1
WaterB
Risk
TimeIII
Statistics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 13.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,290 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,422 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 20.51
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next Tap
6  2018-10-13 chumley
20  2015-02-21 wallyfrack
50  2014-03-01
Dutchman Trail #104
friendofThunderg
20  2014-01-04 RowdyandMe
26  2013-02-04
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
Mr_Squishy
23  2010-01-05 snakemarks
30  2008-12-19 kanode
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:57am - 5:23pm
openimportsetbegin
Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH
Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH
0.0 mi away
6.9 mi
1,375 ft
Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
0.0 mi away
9.3 mi
462 ft
Superstition Wilderness - GET #1
Superstition Wilderness - GET #1
0.0 mi away
30.3 mi
5,091 ft
First Water Tributaries 2947 Loop
First Water Tributaries 2947 Loop
0.0 mi away
4.3 mi
815 ft
Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
0.0 mi away
11.3 mi
1,560 ft
Old West Boulder Canyon Ridge
Old West Boulder Canyon Ridge
0.0 mi away
10.5 mi
3,300 ft
Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop
Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop
0.0 mi away
6.7 mi
1,380 ft
Aylor
Aylor's Arch
0.0 mi away
10.3 mi
1,790 ft
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
0.0 mi away
11.8 mi
2,100 ft
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns
0.0 mi away
9.0 mi
1,125 ft
[ View More! ]
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
The other Needle Canyon
by kanode

Likely In-Season!
This is a creekbed hike through Needle Canyon in the Red Hills. The hike starts at the First Water trailhead, heads south on the Dutchman trail, then east on the Boulder Canyon Trail to the entrance to Needle Canyon. The exit from Needle Canyon runs into the Bull Pass Trail which is used to return to the Dutchman trail and back to the First Water trailhead. This Needle Canyon has nothing to do with Weaver's Needle but is named for a white needle on the east side of the Boulder Canyon trail roughly halfway between the Bull Pass and Cavalry trails. It's the only obvious route headed east in the area.


The only route finding challenge was picking up the point where the creek crosses the Bull Pass trail. The creekbed is wide at that point and has two channels. On the first attempt we went past the intersection. On backtracking, we found the trail and cairns hidden in tall grass but the trail was within a 100 feet of where the GPS said it should be. If you are nearing a large tree (a cottonwood from the leaf color), you've gone too far.

This hike is great when water is flowing and the air temps are above 60 degrees. Without water, it would be a much easier hike but not worth the effort of the return over Bull Pass. If the temperature is much below 60, you'd try to keep your feet and calves dry which would mean fighting a lot of brush and scrambling on the sides of the canyon . When dry, this route could be used as an alternate backpacking return from Charlebois Spring. It would be longer but avoid the ascent and descent over Bull Pass. It took us an hour longer for the canyon half of the trip but more than half of that was spent taking pictures and looking around.

The Boulder Canyon segment hasn't seen much recent traffic and is somewhat overgrown. Hikers may be using the creekbed when it's dry rather than using the path on the benches.

According to Tom Kollenborn's Chronicles, an miner named Al Morrow lived and worked in this canyon for 19 years. No details are provided on the location of the mine and we didn't see any trace of it or any artifacts.

The start of Needle Canyon is not where it's shown on Topo maps. The early section starts about 500 feet north of the map location (north of the 2300' butte rather than south of it) and makes several big U-turns not shown on the map. From the point the canyon makes a major move south, the map is accurate. The side trails which loop in front of Red Hills Mtn 2073 and then head north to connect to the Cavalry trail were brushy and didn't seem worth the effort.

kanode
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    FS


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To First Water Trailhead
    From Mesa follow Highway 60 East to Idaho Road. Turn North onto Idaho Road which is SR88 and follow North 2.2 miles. SR88 bends right just past Scenic St. and Idaho continues North. Be sure to go right and stay on SR88. Follow SR88 5.2 miles to the signed turnoff for First Water Trailhead, this is FR-78. Turn right on to FR-78 and follow 2.6 miles to the end.

    This trailhead feature restrooms without running water. The large parking area fills up in season. When full utilize the Horse Lot 0.5 miles back.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 43.1 mi - about 59 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 136 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 3 hours 3 mins
    page created by kanode on Dec 21 2008 10:33 pm
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