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Superstition Wilderness - GET #1, AZ

Guide 11 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 30.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,288 feet
Elevation Gain 2,555 feet
Accumulated Gain 5,091 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 47.27
Interest Ruins, Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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24  2015-03-26
Superstition Getaway - Day 1
18  2015-01-18
Campaign TH to First Water TH
11  2012-12-25
Charlebois from Peralta TH
20  2010-03-02 sirena
Author blisterfree
author avatar Guides 24
Routes 37
Photos 5
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location lithosphere
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  5:16am - 7:38pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

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

GET Segment 1 overview

The Superstition Wilderness of Arizona's Tonto National Forest encompasses a unique, diverse, and dramatic landscape of canyons, mesas, and volcanic peaks, much of it occurring in the lower and upper Sonoran desert life zones with their equally unique communities of plant and animal life. As such, this first segment of the GET is truly a feast for the senses, a fitting place to begin or end an extended journey on the Grand Enchantment Trail.

Our route follows an extensive and meandering network of foot trails, varying in condition from well-trod and easily followable to vague and overgrown in places. The trail sections nearest the significant trailheads (First Water, Peralta, and Rogers Trough) receive the most use. They are maintained accordingly (either officially so or by all the foot and hoof traffic). Farther in the backcountry, where comparatively few users go, trail conditions tend to be rougher and unavoidably overgrown with catclaw and other bushes, at least in corridors here and there. Overall, this segment's terrain is quite rocky and rough, with a fair amount of climbing and descending as the trails negotiate passes between the many steep-walled canyons for which the "Supes" are renowned. For long-distance hikers just starting, rest assured: While the way may seem complicated, and indeed it is unavoidably so here, the rewards are yet evident all around, and the route does become somewhat easier once it joins the Arizona Trail near the eastern end of this segment and continuing into segment 2.

Except for two generally reliable water sources (Charlebois Spring and La Barge Spring), water can be relatively scarce in dry times, so be sure to carry enough of it despite the extra pack weight. Impromptu campsites are encountered with some frequency along the way, and the going at either end of this segment can sometimes get a little crowded. Still, for the most part, hikers can expect a wilderness experience with plenty of solitude among these mystical and legendary desert hills.

A detailed, mile-by-mile description of this segment is available in the official GET guidebook. See

This segment of the GET forms part of a longer trip between resupply locations, as described below:

GET Segments 1 & 2, Phoenix to Superior

The Grand Enchantment Trail begins 45 miles east of downtown Phoenix AZ at the First Water Trailhead in the Superstition Mountains (Tonto National Forest). It follows a foot trail east into this rugged volcanic desert range, winding through lush canyon bottoms and over scenic passes, past saguaro cacti, teddy bear cholla, jojoba, and other highly-adapted plants of the lower Sonoran desert. Weaver's Needle, a dramatic rock fang, is often in view, marking the mythical Lost Dutchman's Gold's location while adding to the real-world grandeur of this landscape. East of sheer-walled Upper La Barge Box, the route climbs toward scenic Horse Ridge and Tortilla Pass, now in the upper Sonoran desert life zone, before descending to follow the rockbound drainage of Rogers Creek and passing near a 700-year-old Salado cliff dwelling. Here the GET joins the Arizona Trail, not far from the gravesite and former ranch of Elisha Reavis, the "hermit of the Superstitions." Following the AZ Trail south, the route climbs chaparral-cloaked Montana Mountain with sweeping views, then drops steeply to follow the drainages of Reavis and Whitford canyons, finally leaving the Superstitions and reaching US Hwy 60 four miles west of the town of Superior nearby the renowned Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2013-08-08 blisterfree

    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 hike
    Forest Route 78 at Dutchman Trail #104. First Water Trailhead is accessible by a 2WD passenger vehicle. First Water Trailhead is located about 45 miles east of downtown Phoenix. From Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, exit onto Washington St eastbound. Pick up the 202 freeway east to US 60 east to exit 196 / Idaho Rd. Turn left, following Idaho Rd north through four traffic lights. Along the way, pass a Super 8 motel, a few convenience stores (for water, etc.), a Walgreens pharmacy (rubbing alcohol, Bic lighter, sunscreen, etc.), and several restaurants nearby. At the 5th light, turn right, northeast, onto Apache Trail / State Route 88. Pass Goldfield ghost town/tourist attraction, and then (at around 5 miles from Idaho Rd jct) a signed turnoff to Lost Dutchman State Park on right. Continue on Apache Trail less than a half-mile farther, then turn right onto graded dirt FR 78 at the sign for "First Water Trailhead." Your driver may opt not to continue farther, although the road is usually passable for 2WD vehicles except following flash floods. At ~2.3 miles on FR 78, find First Water equestrian parking on the left. Here a spur trail heads east, or continue on the road ~0.6 miles farther to First Water Trailhead hiker parking and the GET west terminus. Toilet facilities are here, as well as a hiker register and information kiosk, but no water is available. (First probable water along the trail is Charlebois Spring about 9 miles away.)
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Aug 08 2013 12:52 pm
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