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

Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop, AZ

no permit
206 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.3 of 5 by 3
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 6.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,303 feet
Elevation Gain 900 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,380 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.6
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
89  2017-03-25 tibber
9  2017-03-25 writelots
8  2015-12-06 hikingaz2
21  2015-03-14
Massacre Falls Loop - Jacobs Crosscut
29  2015-02-13 kingsnake
50  2014-12-16 philnewell
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  7:20am - 5:19pm
Route Scout App
Official Route
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
Old West Boulder Canyon Ridge
Old West Boulder Canyon Ridge
0.0 mi away
10.5 mi
3,300 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
First Water Tributaries 2947 Loop
First Water Tributaries 2947 Loop
0.0 mi away
4.3 mi
815 ft
Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
Second Water - Black Mesa cut Loop
0.0 mi away
9.3 mi
462 ft
Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH
Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH
0.0 mi away
6.9 mi
1,375 ft
Red Hills Needle Canyon
Red Hills Needle Canyon
0.0 mi away
13.4 mi
1,422 ft
Superstition Wilderness - GET #1
Superstition Wilderness - GET #1
0.0 mi away
30.3 mi
5,091 ft
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
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Mostly Off Trail - Well worth it
by philnewell

Likely In-Season!
Overview: This mostly off-trail loop hike will give you fantastic views of the Superstition Wilderness, Fours Peaks and a peek of Weavers Needle, a breathtaking drop-off at Massacre Grounds and beautiful water features if you are lucky enough to catch this hike a day or two after a major storm!

Hike: The hike follows the Dutchman Trail from First Water trailhead for half a mile until you reach the first wash crossing the trail. Turn right (SW) and head up the wash. A mile and a quarter later you will see the escarpment of Massacre Grounds. Head directly off-trail towards the right hand end, you will pick up the Massacre Grounds Trail. Follow this well trodden trail to the Massacre Grounds, which is a nice spot to take a break and take in the scenery. Keeping to the south side of the escarpment you will see Massacre Falls which may be flowing if it has stormed recently.

Where the Massacre Falls trail leaves the escarpment you can turn due east and drop down around the south side. There are the odd game trails to follow down to the wash. Follow the wash until you see a convenient place to get out and continue East.

Now we try to contour over open desert through various sharp vegetation, try to stay up high as there is less vegetation. There are a few small hoodoo's that are interesting to visit.

Eventually the terrain funnels you down into a small stream until eventually you will reach First Water creek. You will know when you reach it as it is a big wash as it enters the canyon. Don't get suckered into the low saddle about half a mile before Fist Water, it looks like a short cut, but trust me when I say it is no cake walk! I say this from experience..

Follow First Water down through beautiful slick rock, small canyons and a few pools. If it has recently rained hard you will be enriched with the cascading water through this creek, still very passable with water just a little more work. First Water ultimately connects with the Dutchman Trail for a nice easy walk back to First Water Trailhead.

First Water is one of my favorite hikes in the Sups, combine it with the views from Massacre Grounds and no crowds as it is off-trail and you have the perfect hike. If a winter storm comes through Phoenix, be sure to head out within a couple of days to get the max water effect, you will not be sorry.

    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 $$

    Map Drive
    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 philnewell on Dec 26 2014 5:17 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker