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Superstition Peak 5057 - Balanced Rock Loop, AZ

no permit
205 13 1
Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
3.7 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,082 feet
Elevation Gain 2,975 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,200 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic, Seasonal Waterfall, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2018-10-26 rayhuston
15  2018-01-05 Daytripper
22  2017-02-12 KBKB
19  2017-01-25 rvcarter
10  2015-05-03
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
13  2015-05-03
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
5  2015-01-31
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
16  2013-03-10
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
Page 1,  2
Author rvcarter
author avatar Guides 33
Routes 304
Photos 2,146
Trips 236 map ( 1,436 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location tucson, az
Co-Author Mountain_Rat
co-author avatarGuides 10
Routes 91
Photos 550
Trips 192 map (1,893 Miles)
Age 56 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Mar, Feb, Jan → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Scrambler's Delight
by rvcarter & Mountain_Rat

Reaching the Superstition Mountains highest point fits into several hikes already described on HAZ. This description covers a short seven-mile or so loop out of the Hieroglyphic Trailhead in Gold Canyon that utilizes parts of the Superstition Ridgeline Trail (normally reached via Siphon Draw or Carney Springs) and Hieroglyphics Trail # 101. Both of these trails are magnificent by themselves, but the variation described here combines some strenuous hiking with off-trail class three rock scrambling, incredible views, and navigational challenges not otherwise experienced.

This is not Superstition Peak 5024, which is an unnamed peak situated 1000 feet or so to the northeast of Flatiron.

The hike is probably best done in counterclockwise manner, but could be done clockwise. The scrambling once one leaves the Hieroglyphic Trail to head up to the peak would for most people be most comfortable going up. Surprisingly, there is a faint trail all the way up to the peak, marked by cairns at most key points. However, a good map and a GPS would be very helpful. The take-off point from trail # 101 for us seemed to be the one most used, and it quickly lead to a faint path up the slope. Don’t miss the huge portal in a large rock formation off to the right. There are few cairns in this section, but the general plan is to make your way up to an outstanding balanced rock on the ridge above Hieroglyphic Springs. If you look around some, some routes to scramble up to the balanced rock will become evident.

There is a sharp turn to the right (east) past the balanced rock to head up the ridge. The boulders in this area provide some fun scrambling but obscure the true direction one needs to follow. As they say, “when in doubt, go up…”, but look for the faint trail which helps immensely along the entire way. You eventually reach a cliff area which must be skirted to the right. Once on top of the cliff, the actual peak will soon come into view. Some of the photographs posted by others show a chair like rock formation but we didn’t see it.

The views from the top of Superstition Peak are stunning in every direction. Easily recognizable landmarks include Weavers Needle, Four Peaks, Battleship Rock, an oblique view of Flatiron, Picketpost Mountain, and the suburbs of Phoenix. You’re also surrounded by some of the most unique rock pillars in the Supes. When ready, head easterly down to intersect the Ridgeline Trail, turn 180 degrees, and go west. There are some great rock formations along the way over to the top of Hieroglyphics Canyon, some involving additional scrambling opportunities. The point to turn down Hieroglyphic Canyon is marked with a large cairn. Resist the urge to head down too soon. From here to the springs, the trail is fairly easy to follow but very steep and fraught with loose rock. Once the lower drainage is reached, depending on the time of year, water may be flowing. We stayed on the trail due to the considerable flow, but least one of tracks linked to this description goes directly down the drainage.

Take some time to view the considerable (but substantially vandalized) rock art near the springs. The slick rock and petroglyphs near and below the spring are truly impressive. Follow the Hieroglyphic Trail back to the parking lot.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2017-01-31 rvcarter & Mountain_Rat
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Superstition Peak 5057 - Balanced Rock Loop
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    On Sunday, my friend Bob and I (mostly) followed the official GPS track for this hike. It's a good track, though several times, we got off-track by following a good trail. This led to us hiking slightly longer distance and accumulating more elevation gain than that listed for this hike. My advice to anyone else doing this route is to pay close attention to your GPS device because what appears to be the best defined trail isn't always the right way to go.

    We encountered two spots where we needed to do some slightly more technical scrambling than suggested by the description. I'll admit, however, that we didn't spend a lot of time looking for an alternate path. Even so, the majority of the hike does not require use of the hands to make progress. My hiking poles were in my hands for most of the day. Speaking of which - there are some loose steep sections (mainly on the descent to Hieroglyphic Canyon) which are much easier to negotiate with the hiking poles.

    We were on the move pretty much all day long except for two stops to address minor injuries (pulling out thorns) as well as numerous shorter pauses to appreciate the views.

    I took a spill (despite having shoes soled with 5.10 C4 rubber) while walking on water polished rock in Hieroglyphic Canyon. I landed on my back; luckily though, my backpack absorbed most of the shock. I think Bob took a spill of his own earlier in the hike, but he, too, was okay.

    I drank 4.5 liters of the 6 liters I brought with me.

    It was a great day with excellent views. I definitely want to do it again and am curious about where some of the other trails lead.
    Superstition Peak 5057 - Balanced Rock Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Most of the details are in the description I just posted. I intend to link at least two other tracks on HAZ that closely follow my track. I want to credit trekkin gecko and ddgrunning for their comments on ddgrunning's January 21 hike up Hiero Canyon. Their conversation about the loop option, and her inclusion of a link to a March 10, 2013 loop track posted by BiFrost, is what got this on my radar. It is a great hike, but the scrambling does not involve much exposure. Just fun, and not a killer day. The views from the peak are something to behold.
    Superstition Peak 5057 - Balanced Rock Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    denny has wanted to hike 5057 again, and i have too
    john wanted to do the off trail route via balancing rock, so we all agreed that the loop would be fun
    left hieroglyphic trail to head up toward the balancing rock and passed right by the base of it
    not sure how that stays balanced
    went on above the canyon from there, following a route karl and kathy did with ---- and liz
    a couple fun places to scramble, some cactus to avoid but not bad terrain at all
    other than the foxtails and bushes with little round sand burr-like stickers
    great views to the south
    hit 5057 from the west side, with the final bit on the official trail
    not much of a breeze and it was a little hazy
    didn't stay long on the summit, as we wanted to snack at the saddle above hieroglyphic canyon
    headed down the ridgeline
    always good to see the views of the superstitions from there
    followed the trail down hieroglyphic canyon
    this trail is quite well-defined now, with plenty of cairns
    a half mile of scree at the top, but then pretty good footing
    as we dropped, there were more and more gnats
    eventually a really annoying amount of gnats the last couple miles
    we couldn't even stay and chat at the trailhead
    great hiking a peak with denny and john again
    good choice, guys :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Hieroglyphics Trailhead
    From the East Valley follow US 60 East to South Kings Ranch Road. Kings Ranch Road is 14.1 miles east of Power Road for reference. Turn North on Kings Ranch Rd and follow to 2.8 miles to Baseline. Turn East on Baseline and follow 0.2 miles to Mohican. Turn North onto Mohican and follow 0.4 miles to Valleyview Road. Turn West onto Valleyview and follow (naturally turns North, and turns into Whitetail Road) for 1.4 miles. At the intersection of Whitetail Rd. and Cloudview Road turn East and follow 0.4 miles to the end. The trailhead parking is here and the trail is easy to spot to the East.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 42.9 mi - about 54 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 95.3 mi - about 2 hours 3 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 2 hours 58 mins
    page created by rvcarter on Jan 31 2017 10:00 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
    help comment issue

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