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Massacre Falls Loop - First Water TH, AZ

Guide 18 Triplogs  2 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
301 18 2
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 6.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,290 feet
Elevation Gain 1,007 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,375 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.73
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Perennial Waterfall
Backpack Yes
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25  2022-02-19
Massacre Arch via First Water Trailhead
12  2020-02-23 survivordude
5  2019-12-29
Massacre Falls Arch
24  2019-11-16
First Water Reverse Flatiron
35  2019-02-04 mr_squishy
29  2017-04-16 KBKB
89  2017-03-25
Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop
9  2017-03-25
Massacre Grounds Upper First Water Loop
Page 1,  2
Author azhunt2012
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 12
Photos 281
Trips 45 map ( 372 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Chandler, Az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Feb, Jan, Dec, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:36am - 7:28pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Superstition Fire9.6k

Amazing views & Waterfalls
by azhunt2012

An excellent mini-adventure to Massacre Falls through a hidden tributary of First Water Creek. Then looping a return past the old Massacre Trailhead. A GPS unit loaded with the Default Route will be very helpful in getting you to Massacre Falls.

From the First Water Trailhead follow the Dutchman Trail #104 for 1.3 miles to the first major crossing. Here you turn right off trail and follow the creek. This tributary flows almost as hardy as First Water itself.

You have to do a little bushwhacking as you follow First Water Creek for about 0.2 miles until you turn southwest up the draw. Caution should be used during stormy conditions. You need to watch for flash flooding. After the turn, follow the draw up through a small streambed that is overgrown with catclaw, Teddybear Cholla, and other nasty things that tend to stick you. This continues for about 0.7 miles to the first saddle. From this point, you can see Massacre Falls, a dark vertical stripe that is 1.2 miles to the west. Continue down the draw and back up through the saddle across some easy rock face terrain. Proceed down one last time to the bottom of Massacre Grounds before you start the climb to the falls.

Next comes the ascent to the falls. When the creek is running you can hear the falls in the distance. Finding the falls is nothing difficult. However, it can be a route-finding challenge. Generally, the most traveled route gets you to the falls. It would be advisable to study the map to understand the route. Two or three cairned routes get you to the falls and one takes you far away to West Boulder Canyon.

At this point, you can see pleasant views of rolling hills, unique rock formations, and the rugged beauty of Superstition Mountain. Upon reaching the falls, intermittent cascades tumble over a wide cliff face after heavy rains.

After an enjoyable break at the base of the falls, follow the Massacre Trail back to the old Massacre Trailhead (it's the fence line) that is now closed. When in season, wildflowers dominate the foothills at the trail's end. There is an old road along the fence line to your right that will return to FR-78 after some traversing across easy lower desert terrain. You can see the overflow parking lot for First Water TH in the distance (about 3/4 mile). There is a restroom with no water. From there you can pick up the Dutchman's Trail# 104 on the north side of the road and follow it to the First Water Trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-02-07 azhunt2012
    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 / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    page created by azhunt2012 on Feb 06 2010 6:10 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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