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Praying Hands Loop from Crosscut TH, AZ

Guide 89 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 4.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,114 feet
Elevation Gain 846 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,137 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.44
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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26  2021-07-24 adilling
8  2021-01-17
Treasure Loop to Praying Hands
27  2021-01-15
Massacre Grounds Praying Hands
18  2020-05-25 adilling
15  2019-12-28 adilling
13  2019-05-19 Yoder
24  2019-05-12 Yoder
15  2019-02-27
Canyon of the Waterfalls & Massacre Falls
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Author AZLOT69
author avatar Guides 175
Routes 247
Photos 7,966
Trips 1,925 map ( 16,249 miles )
Age 70 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:26pm
Official Route
12 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Superstition Fire9.6k

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
by AZLOT69

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The allure of the Superstition Mountains lies in part with the geologic formations within. This hike offers close up views of hoodoos, spires, pinnacles, and arches formed both by the volcanic activity in the area and the subsequent forces of nature. Many of these formations convey a mystic or supernatural feel.

While most should be physically capable of completing this hike, substantial footwear and route finding skills may be required to complete the loop.

The loop can be accomplished in either direction and is described herein as counterclockwise. From the Crosscut Trailhead, go thru the horse step in the fence. Directly in front of you on the south bank of Weekes Wash is the return trail. Instead, find the trail leading to the southwest along the south bank of Weeks Wash. There is a signpost, but the sign is gone. This is Jacobs Trail #58. Take Jacobs Trail to the intersection with the Treasure Loop Trail #56 and take it to the left towards the Superstition. Well up the mountain, the trail starts toward the south, take the unmarked trail continuing up and to the east. There are a couple to choose from. Taking the left passage is easier. You can see your immediate destination, the Praying Hands, which is high above to the northeast. Topping out at Praying Hands is an experience in itself and a great place to meditate for a while.

There is a fence line here marking the wilderness boundary. Very little vegetation here gives you plenty of places to sit and enjoy. From here, a faint narrow trail continues to the east. Take this trail. The trail gets a little tricky to follow, but there are sufficient cairns that make the trail finding fun. In the distance, to the left of the trail in the foreground lies the next destination. Three separate geologic features are similar to the ones you just experienced behind you at the Praying Hands. The landforms look like temples. The trail continues in that general direction hugging the mountain. The trail comes to a Y. To the right, the trail goes up the mountain. Take the left choice thru the shallow ravine ahead, bearing left directly towards the first spire. It is mainly a bushwhack without much vegetation. As you get close to the spire, you will pick up an animal trail taking you to the base of the spire. From here, continue to the next land feature to the north. There is no right or wrong way. Some loose scree will be the worst you encounter.

From around the north side of this feature, the views overlooking the wilderness are fantastic. Four Peaks, Black Mesa, Weekes Wash headwater, First Water Creek, and the Massacre Ramp are just a few of the sights. See how many others you can spot. There is a great camping spot just below this spire to the north. The third temple lies down the ridge directly to the west. With hoodoos above and Praying Hands ahead in the background, this is a photographer's dream. Just wait for the right light. On the north side of the third feature are a smaller set of praying hands. Work your way over to them and take the ramp between them down. From here, continue to the northwest down the ridge. At the first rock outcropping, watch for cairns and angle across the drainage to the north. From here, the wash ahead is clearly visible, chocked with vegetation. Staying to the right of it, work your way thru the jojoba, taking the obvious path of choice. Scan the horizon occasionally as you look for the scarce but strategic cairns. Always bearing left, the trail comes and goes. Whenever you think you lost the trail, bear left to pick it up again. Eventually, you cross the wash on your left and come to an area where the rocks are red. Continue bearing left. Soon the trail becomes more pronounced, and of course, there are more cairns than you need at this point.

Soon you come to the wilderness boundary fence again. Passing thru the fence, the trail gets more pronounced. The trail follows a ridgeline down now with large sweeping ravines off either side of the trail. The trail now seems to be an old prospectors jeep trail and is quite easy-going. Eventually, you will come to a forest of cholla. Watch for a small cairn and bear right on the single track back to the Crosscut trailhead. If you miss the turnoff, continuing straight will still take you out to First Water Road, and your vehicle will be to the right.

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2009-10-13 AZLOT69
    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 Crosscut 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 0.6 miles to the large dirt parking lot which is the Crosscut Trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 41.1 mi - about 52 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 134 mi - about 2 hours 9 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 185 mi - about 2 hours 56 mins
    page created by AZLOT69 on Oct 13 2009 8:06 pm
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