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Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop, AZ

Guide 8 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.8 of 5 
no permit
1 Active
206 8 0
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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
Kokopelli Seeds 13.6
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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9  2020-01-11
Reverse Flatiron
24  2019-11-16
First Water Reverse Flatiron
35  2019-02-04
Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH
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
Page 1,  2
Author philnewell
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 2
Photos 125
Trips 2 map ( 61 miles )
Age 60 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:17am - 7:39pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Mostly Off Trail - Well worth it
by philnewell

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, and you will pick up the Massacre Grounds Trail. Follow this well-trodden trail to the Massacre Grounds, which is a lovely 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 you ultimately 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 cakewalk! I say this from experience.

Follow First Water down through the 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 leisurely 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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2014-12-26 philnewell
    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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