HAZ Super Loop!
No trail in sections, scrambling and route finding skills necessary. Written from a wide eyed semi greenhorn perspective.
Here it is, the Dacite Super Loop! My oh my this is a killer loop. With the emphasis on killer! This hike is for experienced hikers only. Route finding is not only necessary but very difficult in sections. I can't imagine just hitting the trail hoping for a good day, the results could be horrifying. First I recommend hiking several other Superstition trails in various seasons. Then you'll have a better feel for what you're getting into. I'm talking about trails in the west section like Peralta, Cave Trail, Dutchman, Bluff Springs, Flatiron, Terrapin etc. The Cave Trail is a must or you will have to take a variation on the Peralta.
You can start this hike from Carney, Lost Goldmine or the Peralta Trailhead. I suggest the Lost Goldmine Trailhead. So... From the Lost Goldmine Trailhead head west to Carney Springs Trailhead, which by-the-way isn't marked. You should notice some parking spaces followed by a pass-through in the fence. Pass through the fence and head on up the good but non-maintained trail. First you are heading up to a saddle that overlooks West Boulder Canyon. Very soon into the trail you will pass an old campground according to the topo map. All that's left over is a water pipe and cement pieces scattered about. The trail used to go through the old campground. Now it's something like ten yards east. I'm not sure but suppose the campground was the end of the road before becoming a wilderness in 1940. The trail goes up to the mountains. It's fairly impossible to venture off the trail in this section, due to heavy vegetation. The trail starts going up the canyon. You'll pass "T" rock as the trail starts going up. Keep an eye out for Cairns and white spray paint spots leading the way. It's a steep trek to West Boulder Saddle, your first destination. Be forewarned there is a false saddle, don't get excited too soon. From first saddle the trail dips a tad for a short distance. Then it forges straight up to West Boulder Saddle.
Upon reaching the saddle check out the view! You are looking into West Boulder Canyon. In fact the trail goes down through the canyon. You could follow it all the way to Parker Pass and then onto the First Water Trailhead for a shuttle hike. Of even more interest, to the west is Superstition Peak and the ridgeline fanning out to the northwest. This takes you over to Superstition Mountain and on to the Flatiron. I'm told and have read the ridgeline is extremely difficult. You may have seen stories on the news over the years about lost hikers in the Superstitions, this is usually it. The Ridgeline Trail takes off to left past the room size boulder on the saddle. On one of my several trips up here, I checked it out a little ways. Within fifteen minutes of hiking, you can see much further north. I also spotted a general land section-marker, according to "Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness". If you're really interested in the Ridgeline Trail, keep in mind it's extremely tough.
Okay, so you're at West Boulder Saddle. This is where it begins to get tough. Check out the rock spires which are referred to as Hoodoos on top of Dacite Mesa. First you need to get around the yellow streaked spire ledge on the north (left). A decent cairned trail takes you there with one dip through a small drainage. Which is only brushy in bottom of the drainage for maybe 5 to 10 feet. Continue following the cairns up to the north/left of the yellow streak. There's a couple of pinon pines just before rounding the corner. Once on the other side GO SOUTH, cairns should take you across the backside. What looks like a bigger drainage isn't much to cross if you follow the cairns far enough south. Cairns again take you up but peter out. The mind tells you to go north around the next set of spires. Don't do that, GO SOUTH =) I've lost count on the number of times I've done this hike. To date, I'm sad to admit I've gone to far north on countless occasions. Once I came out nearly PAST Weavers Needle...lol, but true!
Finally on down to Fremont Saddle. As stated above, you need to be familiar with the Fremont Saddle area or this trip isn't happening. Okay, this is your task. You need to get down to the popular Fremont Saddle. There is a cairned trail if your lucky enough to find it. Otherwise just do your best as I have on many occasions. Be careful though as you can cliff out and get into trouble. If you've ever been lost going down on the Flatiron trail you'll know the feeling. Don't go down into something you can't get back up. An air rescue starts out at about one grand and goes up to three from what I've heard.
From Fremont Saddle go over to the Cave Trail. This is somewhat difficult to find too. Check out the Cave Trail trip for more info on this. You could take the Peralta down. I guess that would make it "just" the Dacite Loop. Who can resist the feeling of completing the Dacite Super Loop. So check out the Cave Trail ahead of time and get that section familiarized. Okay from the Peralta Trailhead parking area you have a couple options. The quickest way back to your car is by bicycle if you set up that option in advance. The recommend option is to download the Official Route and follow it. Otherwise just follow the SR77 to the Lost Goldmine Trailhead.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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.