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Quarter Circle U Trail, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  1 Active Topic
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no permit
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 1.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,299 feet
Elevation Gain 294 feet
Accumulated Gain 498 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 - 2 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 2.96
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2018-03-19 Steph_and_Blake
1  2013-12-14
Black Mesa Loop - Superstition Mtns
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 61
Photos 2,522
Trips 176 map ( 751 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:36am - 7:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Superstition Fire9.6k

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Not-so-short Shortcut
by Steph_and_Blake

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Quarter Circle U Trail is a short (mileage, not time) bushwhack to the east of Palomino Mountain in the Superstitions that connects the Dutchman Trail (#104) to the Peralta Trail (#102). This Description is to inform folks that might view this as a short-cut.

First: A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and gloves are recommended. Also, good map-reading skills or a GPS unit is needed as it is not obvious where to leave/get on the Dutchman or the Peralta Trail. We took the Quarter Circle U Trail from the Dutchman Trail, headed in a southeast direction, and we could not see the Peralta Trail until some hikers above us passed on it.

Second: Looking at the Green Trails Maps of the Superstition Wilderness (Map #2829S) or reading about it in Carlson and Stewart's Superstition Wilderness Trails West, you might think this would be a short-cut that would save time and mileage getting you from Dutchman Trail to Peralta Trail. While it does take off about 0.4 miles, it probably takes 3 times the amount of time compared to going around the northern and eastern flanks of Palomino Mountain.

Head east on Dutchman Trail, go over Parker Pass. About 0.3 miles before Black Mesa Trail (#241) comes in from your left (north), go off-trail to your right, headed in a southerly direction. You start on a lightly cairned and slightly overgrown trail. At this point, the hiking is pretty easy, but fairly soon, the trail vanishes, and you have to begin bushwhacking. Keep aiming for Weavers Needle and consult your map frequently. There are numerous side drainages you'll encounter, but stay in the main one and keep Palomino Mountain to your left. The goal is to pick the path of least resistance, which may sometimes be in the bottom of the drainage itself. We probably crossed the drainage ten times to avoid vegetation choke-points and the loose, steep hillsides. We reinforced or built cairns for the first 3/4-mile, but when it became obvious that we wouldn't recommend this trail to anyone, we abandoned our efforts.

At about 1.2 miles in, leave the drainage, take a hard left (east) and climb up the rocky hillside. You might see a faint horizontal line of grasses that breaks up the hillside above you. That would be the Peralta Trail. Keep climbing until you reach it.

The only positive thing to be said about this "short-cut" is that cholla were at a minimum. The views would have been far superior if we'd just taken the "longer" way around Palomino.

Water Sources
There were two small (less than 24 inches in diameter) pools of water in a side drainage coming in from the west.

We stumbled upon an old fire ring, but the surrounding, cleared area only looked big enough for a small tent. Given the lack of good views, we'd recommend camping elsewhere.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2018-03-20 Steph_and_Blake

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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 Steph_and_Blake on Mar 20 2018 12:12 pm
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