Amazing views & Waterfalls
Overview: 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.
Hike: 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 mile 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 (about3/4 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.
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.