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 unusual 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. In general, the trail sections nearest the major trailheads (First Water, Peralta, and Rogers Trough) receive the most use and are maintained accordingly (either officially so or by virtue of all the foot and hoof traffic). Farther in the backcountry, where comparatively few users go, trail conditions tend to be more rough, and unavoidably overgrown with catclaw and other bushes, at least in corridors here and there. Overall, the terrain in this segment 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 out, rest assured: While the way may seem difficult, 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.
With the exception of two generally reliable water sources (Charlesbois Spring and La Barge Spring), water can be rather scarce in dry times, so be sure to carry enough of it despite the extra packweight. 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, but 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 www.grandenchantmenttrail.org
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 foot trail east into this rugged volcanic desert range, winding through lush canyon bottoms and over viewful 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 location of the mythical Lost Dutchman's Gold 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.
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.