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Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH, AZ

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Guide 18 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3 of 5 by 9
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,110 feet
Elevation Gain 746 feet
Accumulated Gain 960 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 10.8
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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62  2017-02-14
Peter's Mesa
14  2016-03-11 Travis
68  2016-02-27 Travis
6  2016-02-10 rtaylor3235
11  2016-02-10 hikingaz2
12  2013-01-19
Hoolie Bacon - Peters Trail Loop
9  2013-01-05 hikerdw
42  2012-12-26
Tortilla via Peralta TH
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,259 map ( 21,438 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:23pm
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1 Alternative
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by joebartels

This was my introduction to the Tortilla Trailhead. The road coming into the trailhead is FS213. Personally I consider this a 4x4 route. However, on the HAZ Forum it was debated to be doable in a pickup. I guess there's no harm in trying. ( as it's going up and you could get back down ) In the past I snickered at the suggestions of hiking the three miles to trailhead. The three mile approach is actually very scenic. Tortilla Canyon drops down steeply on the west. The road slithers a ridge down into Tortilla Canyon which is cool in itself. It would probably only take an hour each way as there's no obstacles in hiking a road. Personally I'd mountain bike the stretch if I couldn't drive in.

About a half mile before the end of the road you'll pass Tortilla Ranch. It's just a slab of concrete now. The road ends at ( a fence ) the unsigned trailhead for the JF Trail #106. There's an old sign stating end of motor vehicle road. Just before the end of the road is a fork to the right. At the end of this road is Tortilla Well. Which is the trailhead for Peter's Trail #105. The old windmill has taken a beating from gunfire in the past eight years. Page 234 of the Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness shows the 1993 full bladed version. The mini water tower now has a slight lean too.

The trail is easy to spot. Page 231 in the guide displays the Peter's Trail sign. The photo had me thinking for years this is a nice rolling-hills laid-back hike. Check out my photo of the sign. You might notice there's been a little growth on that catclaw mimosa. This should have been a clue that this wasn't gonna be a happy little hike. The trail criss-crosses Tortilla Creek for about 0.65 miles. You might need to keep an eye out for cairns to lead the way. This is a dreamy section of trail. I was thinking this is really cool. Might even be better in the spring with some running water. Canyon walls hug in close along the way. It's like Fish Creek with really low walls but lots more foliage. At 0.65 miles Tortilla Creek forks off to the left or southeast. Continue southwest on the obvious trail through one last hoo ha of snuggly creek. You could have turned up Tortilla Creek and looped back to the trailhead on the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This may be the best option for a short 3.4 mile loop.

Okay coming out of the last hoo ha you're in a wide open basin. It's unnamed as far as I could find out, so I'm calling it Indian Spring Basin. I was thinking cool, I like basins. Nice easy strolling, taking in the views, not! The trail, although obvious, was beginning to get overgrown. Not so bad usually except here it's all catclaw. The tallest mountain towering above on your right or west is Tortilla Mountain. Since I live in the valley and travel the western Superstitions more I consider this the backside of Tortilla Mountain.

The trail crosses the basin then heads up a canyon to a low pass. It's steep but nothing like Camelback or Squaw Peak. Mid way up you'll pass some lush grass in the creek. Kane Spring is in the area causing the mini oasis. I was surprised to find the ground damp after an extended hot summer. It's been in the upper nineties this October, about 10-15 degrees above normal all month. Even Charlebois seemed dry a couple weeks ago, which is considered a reliable spring. A bit further up I took a photo looking back at the trailhead. It's a little over two miles to the low pass. On the other side the trail and surrounding area looks great. Unfortunately, it quickly gets overgrown and painful in sections. The big mountain ahead of you is Music Mountain. You are headed for the stubby knoll south end of Tortilla Mountain.

So from the low pass you drop about 180 feet. Then come back up about half that to Peter's Pass. This wasn't my original or even second option for this trip. However, I believe this is a good moderate distance for some breaking views. From Peter's Pass you have great views down into Peters Canyon. I'm not familiar enough with the eastern views to name off the land marks. Horse Camp Basin is in there somewhere.

Peter's Pass is the turn around point for this trip. Peter's Trail continues 4.4 miles down to the Dutchman Trail. Which is very close to Charlebois Spring. Hikers Guide trip 41 on page 226 offers an idea for an 8.2 mile loop with the Hoolie Bacon Trail. This was my second option coming into the day. My first thoughts were for a super loop down to Red Tanks Trail. Neither of which appealed to me much. The area is beautiful but the catclaw is horrid around these parts. Hikers Guide trip 41 talks about short cutting over to the Hoolie Bacon Trail. On the old topographical maps Peter's Trail actually used to go that way. Hikers Guide trip 41 warns of serious catclaw on the shortcut. Then goes on to mention Peter's Trail as a superhighway. If they call Peters a superhighway, I don't wanna experience that shortcut period.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2001-10-29 joebartels
    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
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Hiked Peter's Trail to the pass then across the back side of Horse Ridge to do some exploring. Lots of catclaw but to be expected. Scared up a couple white-tail deer who looked surprised to see us. We then headed towards peak 4066 and made our decent on the right or east side dropping down onto Little Hawk Spring. Enjoyed lunch and a break at the spring and then continued down the drainage to the wash, then continued east to meet up with the Hoolie Bacon Trail which we then followed back to the trailhead. Great weather, overcast and even a brief rain shower.

    Some trees along Tortilla Creek were showing some nice yellow foliage.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Never been out to the Eastern Superstitions area, so Rick suggested a trip out with his RZR and check the area out, before we plan a trip. Even though I have a Jeep, that 1st 300 -- 400 yards made me reconsider taking it out to the actual TH. RZR was perfect, met some hikers coming back up when we hit the gate and then a big group taking a break down at the old ranch area before heading back to 88. we decided to head out and explore JF Trl and head back, but decided we'd check out the old water tank that's still standing first, discovered that Peter's Trail started there. We decided to check out Peter's Trail, went out a couple of miles and turned around at the saddle about 2.20 miles in, had we known we would have went the short distance further to Peter's Pass :( . Nice area and thanks to all for cleaning up the Trail, I'm sticking my clippers in the pack for all futures hikes, never know when they'll come in handy. :) I'm really going to enjoy the Eastern Supers :y:
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Drove in with the RZR to Peter's trailhead, only went to the low pass as I didn't know Peter's Pass was just a little further, ( I do now). Still quite a bit of water flowing in Tortilla creek and somebody recently groomed the trail so the majority of the cats claw is at bay for now.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Met up with Kyle for another trek on the Tortilla Super Loop. This is our third time making this loop and probably not the last. We parked right off the 88 hwy around 7:20am and started hiking the road. This part flies by and we hit the JF trail opting for a clockwise loop. The hike up Hoolie Bacon went well and we dropped down to Red Tanks Trail. We made good time as the miles poured by and took our lunch at La Barge Spring. Here we talked to a pair of guys making a loop from Peralta and were exiting the Whiskey Spring Trail. They were asking how much time they had back to the trailhead. I guessed 3-5 hours. We continued on and headed up the Peters Trail. This portion of the hike started to take it's toll on us. We were both getting tired and route finding kept our heads on a swivel. We took a break at a creek and filtered some water. From there we had one more small climb and then all downhill back to the Tortilla TH. Some trail maintenance has been completed through here and made for quick travel. Once back to the TH we flew down the road and were back to the vehicle around 5:40pm. This was a long day but I'm glad we did it. This is a great hike that doesn't get a lot of traffic. Thanks Kyle for suggesting this one and driving.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Kyle and I headed out to Tortilla with plans to make the Hoolie Bacon - Peters Loop. We started driving up the road and I was not crazy about the obstacles. We had a quick look and decided to dump the jeep and wrack up a bunch of miles.

    The walk up the road flew by. We found ourselves at the true trailhead within the hour. We connected on JF to Hoolie Bacon and followed the trail down towards Red Tanks. Once on the Red Tanks we proceeded west. I really enjoy this portion of trail. Along the way we crossed paths with Fricknaley & Azdesertfather. We continued on and had lunch at La Barge Spring. From there we continued north and ran into more HAZ members, Slowandsteady and BiFrost. We had a nice chat and then continued.

    Once on Peters Trail we started making the climb up. Our progress slowed but we pushed on. Along Peters we passed four separate backpacking groups. Most of them were heading to Charlebois. After a while we returned to the parking area and then hiked back on the road and back to the jeep.

    This was a long day but well worth. I'm really glad we checked out this area of the Supes and I didn't mind the extra mileage. I look forward to returning to this area again someday.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Tortilla via Peralta TH
    This is another hike from last year, however, I think its alright to post now, because it is right around the same time of year, and with the extended holidays coming up, some may be looking for some nice three and four day treks. This hike certainly offered some challenging changes in elevations, cold temperatures, and solitude. Most seasoned backpackers would find this to be a moderate hike in terms of difficulty, route finding (all trail), and total miles.

    We started at Peralta TH the day after Christmas. Our chosen route was the Dutchman's Trail to Coffee Flats, to Red Tanks, Hoolie Bacon, then Peter's Trail back to the Dutchman's Trail and finishing up on Bluff Springs Trail. If you are into simply drawing new lines on your map and knocking out some remote areas of the Supers this hike may be for you.

    Day one was our highest mile day of entire hike. We did not stop much, mainly because of the cool temperatures, we had some Christmas Tamales at a nice deep pool of water along Red Tanks, did a quick side trip to explore what proved to be an old Indian dwelling that utilized a deceptively deep cave. Although, the cave was not hard to locate only a short distance into Red Tanks Trail, it seemed not many people had been, because there was literally plate size pot sherds littering the ground. Our day one goal was to stay at Brad's Water which is in a side canyon/wash before you reach Hoolie Bacon, however, once we got there, we chose to just push forward, as we knew water was not going to be an issue. For future reference Brad's Water always has water, I will put my name and honor to that, if you are ever in a pinch during hot months, there will be water. However, it is not easy to find, I don't know if it was man-made, but it is essentially a small cave or rock grotto that has filled with water, about waste deep and pretty far back. We chose to camp our first night near the opening/beginning of Trap Canyon, just off Hoolie Bacon. We ran into the only people we saw on entire hike around five or so in the afternoon, they were doing a similar loop in reverse, except they were going through La Barge Box, definitely a more direct loop than ours. It got extremely cold the first night, our water froze and we started our second morning with what would be a trend for the first two days, thawing out our tents, recovering our gear, and huddling around the fire. For an additional side trip, if camped near the origins of Trap Canyon, a short walk down the canyon will take you to a ground level cave dwelling, with remnants of former walls and several grinding holes.

    Our day two was relatively short in miles, but very scenic, and cold. Hoolie Bacon and Red Tanks both seem to really meander along and drag out at points. The day was made interesting by a pretty good little snow storm in the early afternoon and a fun descent down Horse Ridge. There are opportunities for side-trips as well in this area, for example, one can check out the Lost Dutchman Mine Jr. which is located near intersection of Hoolie Bacon and JF Trail. However, we have never been overly impressed by this cave/maybe old mine so we just pushed on towards Indian Springs. There was no need to find an actual spring, however, we did find the old troughs and some piping. Indian Springs proved to be another really cold night, but lets be real we built a very large fire. We camped in a pretty well-established spot, in fact, someone's entire camp seemed to have been just abandoned in place there, but it was in a sad state.

    Day three we continued down Peter's Trail, took a GPS reading at Kane Spring and made our way towards Peter's Mesa, which begins with a pretty good climb. We ran into the same group from day before near Peter's Mesa, chatted a little and continued mission. We went off-trail around Peter's Mesa and dropped down into one of our favorite canyons to take a short-cut to camp at one of our favorite spots. The third night must have literally been 15 degrees warmer and we woke up to very warm temps on day four. It was kind of weird, after spending the first two nights in rather unfamiliar areas we kind of felt like we were already home, even though we were still in the Supers. Our hike out was pretty uneventful, just taking your standard well-traveled western Supes trails to Peralta TH. In fact, I finished in short sleeves and shorts, which was a far cry from my opening morning picture.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    I have done the hike in from the Tortilla trailhead several times and it always seems so far. Much farther than the reported 2.5 or three miles. Today I drove my 4 x 4 in and each way it was 3.6 miles, so add that to my reported hiked miles if you hike in from the Tortilla trailhead. This probably accounts for why I have never seen anyone else back there. My brother and I cleared this trail of catclaw about a decade ago, and I decided to do a fresh cleanup myself today. It was badly overgrown in many spots but I can happily report my adopted section of trail is free and clear of vegetation and even has a passing lane in some sections. Tortilla Creek was flowing but the crossings were easy. The first mile and a half the trail passes several scenic rock outcroppings, many times accompanied with large shade trees. Finding shade was no problem on this section. Water was also flowing from Indian Spring and Kane Spring. The trail is in excellent condition.
    Peter's Pass from Tortilla TH
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    Decided that the 4x4 FR was too burly for my SUV, so I walked the three miles to the TH. I was originally planning a Peters-La Barge-Hoolie Loop, but got 'side-tracked' fairly early on. The first part of this Peter's Trail is a pleasant stroll, not terribly scenic, and quite overgrown with catclaw. Maybe that's why I wasn't too concerned when I 'lost' the trail when it crossed over upper Peters Canyon. At the time, for whatever reason I thought I had gone over Peter Mesa already and that I must be in the upper reaches of Music or Charlebois Canyon. So when I saw this scenic, adventurous, flowing creek I gladly ditched that boring overgrown trail and figured I'd follow this drainage down to the Dutchman trail/La Barge Creek. :mrgreen: The only problem was that I hadn't passed over Peter's Mesa yet and I just started heading down the upper reaches of Peters Canyon. :o It took me awhile to admit to myself that I made a huge navigational error and by then it was too late to turn back...:? So I did about 7 miles on Peter's Trail but probably did another 8 miles navigating narrows, down climbing, and rock hopping down Peters Canyon while trying my best not to get soaked by the flowing creek. :sweat: I walked into Tortilla flat around sunset and was lucky to find another understanding hiker to give me a lift back to my SUV at Tortilla TH. :thanx: Total trip was about 15 miles from sunrise to sunset.

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    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To Tortilla Trailhead
    From the junction of Idaho Road & SR-88 follow SR-88 23.0 miles east to FR-213.

    If you do not have 4x4 you will need to park here and hike 3.4 miles to the trailhead. Otherwise drive in. The first 0.25 mile section is the most difficult.

    The trailhead is not well defined. If you are hiking out on Peter's Trail #105 steer right(west) at the end to the old windmill and water tower. If you are hiking out on JF Trail #106 or Hoolie Bacon Trail #111 continue straight/right to the fence. JF Trail #106 takes off immediately. Hoolie #111 is 0.8 miles off of #106.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 60.7 mi - about 1 hour 50 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 154 mi - about 3 hours
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 205 mi - about 4 hours
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