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Dutchman Trail #104, AZ

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Guide 719 Triplogs  8 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
3.6 of 5 by 77
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 18.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,258 feet
Elevation Gain 850 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,810 feet
Avg Time One Way 7-9 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 27.61
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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7  2019-09-12
Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
15  2019-04-13
Miners Needle Loop & Bluff Spring Mtn
7  2019-03-29
Miners Needle Loop
7  2019-03-08
Miners Needle Loop
25  2019-03-03
Marsh Valley Loop
8  2019-03-03
Barks Lower Canyon Loop
25  2019-02-23
Miners Needle Loop
17  2019-02-23
Miners Needle Loop
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 54
Author mttgilbert
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 47
Trips 240 map ( 1,752 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Denver, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:13am - 6:22pm
Official Route
160 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Tracks of Gold
by mttgilbert

The Dutchman Trail connects the Peralta and First Water trailheads. The trail can be done in either direction, however this description will be from Peralta to Firstwater. This trail has many intersecting trails for possible side trips or variable routes. Since the trail is so long I will break it into smaller segments. If you are looking at a map of this trail be careful, the USGS map incorretly labels the Bluff Spring trail as the Dutchman Trail and the trail that should be the Dutchman's is labeled as Miners Trail. The Beartooth Superstition Wilderness map has the trails correctly labled. There is also a bit of confusion in the USGS maps regarding the trail's course around the Black Top Mesa Area, again, defer to the Beartooth Map.

Peralta TH to Miners Summit
The trail heads out east from the TH. It immediatley gains a little little elevation, but then evens out, before starting the ascent up to Miners Summit. The asscent starts at the intersection with Coffee Flat Trail (108). The trail gains about 1200 ft in a mile and a half. This is the highest point of elevation in the trip, so enjoy it.

Miners Summit to Marsh Valley
This part of the trail is all downhill or relatively level. Right on the summit is the intersection to the Whiskey Spring Trail (238). Shortly after the summit is the Bluff Spring Trail (235). This will take you back to Peralta in about 3 miles. Bluff Spring is know to sporadically have water, ask the local rangers. The next trail is the Red Tanks Trail (107) which will lead back to Whiskey Spring. This is also the approximate location of LaBarge Spring, which usually has filterable water. A mile or so up the trail you will find the intersection of Peters Trail (105) and also Charlebois Spring (also usually has water available). The remainder of this section is about 1.5 miles and ends at the intersection of the cavalry trail (239).

Marsh Valley to Aylors Caballo Camp: The trails through this area were a bit rougher than the rest of the trail and seemed a bit less traveled but the trails are usually easy to find. Right after Marsh Valley the trail takes a sharp curve to the south and loop around the bottom of Black Top Mesa. This section can be eliminated by taking the Bull Pass Trail (129). The Bull Pass trail saves about a mile and half of distance but has much more elevation change. Underneath Black Top Mesa there are two options for returning to Peralta Trailhead. The first is the Terrapin Trail (234) and the second is the Peralta trail itself (102). This section contains another uphill section, this one is less steep though it only climbs about 500 feet in a mile. After the intersection with the Peralta Trail the Dutchmant Trail heads north again and in a little less than a mile comes to Aylors Caballo Camp (this is not shown on the Beartooth map but is shown on the USGS map).

Aylors Caballo Camp to Parker Pass
Aylors Caballo Camp is the intersection of three trails with the Dutchman trail. This is where the Bull Pass trail again connects to the Dutchman Trail. Boulder Canyon Trail (103) and the Black Mesa Trail (241) also intersect here. After this is the last small climb up to Parker pass, the trail gains about 400 feet in a mile.

Parker Pass to Firstwater Trailhead
This was by far the easiest section of trail. The trail is well maintained, wide, and smooth. After Parker Pass its almost all downhill, with the exception of the last 100 yards before the parking lot. Right before you get to the Trailhead the trail is intersected by Second Water Trail (236). From here to the Trailhead is less than a half a mile.

Always remember that water is never a sure thing in the Superstitions and you should check with the Rangers about local conditions.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2003-11-30 mttgilbert
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007

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.

Most recent of 204 deeper Triplog Reviews
Dutchman Trail #104
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Yet another magnificent day in the Supes and a couple of 80–year olds in our hiking group of six thought they might be able to make it around Miner’s Needle one more time. With apologies to Tennyson, “We are not now the strength which in the old days” sped around Miner’s Needle but we can still creep around it, and creep we did, interrupted at Whiskey Bottle by another Diamondback lying in the bushes, pretty hard to see them camouflaged like that. We took the opportunity, thanks to Tibber and others, to shoot 200 feet up Whiskey Bottle and get a preview of Weaver’s Needle and what I’m guessing was Bluff Springs Mountain. A couple of backpackers we bumped into there sprinted over and ran up Miner’s Summit. Impressive, but that was not on the octogenarian’s agenda today. I had intended to retighten my laces before leaving that pass and the trip down Bluff Springs reminded me that I had forgotten to do that. Black toes tomorrow. Plenty of hikers, plenty of flowers today, although not quite the diversity I was hoping for. We met some youngsters coming off Cave Trail. Very nice to see people making it down that trail on their own power and to see so many others taking advantage of one of the great treasures of our state.

Plentiful, not a lot of diversity, however.
Dutchman Trail #104
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What a great weekend of backpacking! I don't think I've ever seen so much water in the Superstitions. My group of 4 started from Peralta Trailhead onto Bluff Springs on Saturday morning, making it up Cardiac Hill in pretty good time. We saw water flowing down the trail in a few spots and knew we were in for a lovely trip. Tons of water at the bottom of Barks Canyon. Then we headed up Terrapin, which we wanted to revisit because our first experience of it was on our first ever backpacking trip — a hot and cloudless day in which that trail felt endless. I highly recommend coming down, not up, this one! Views were awesome with lots of big clouds, some of them looking a little stormy but never quite intersecting our path. We then headed onto Dutchman #104, a stretch that was new to us. We intended to scope out Charlebois and then camp farther on but in the end we peeked around and then missed the turnoff for it. :lol: Oh well, we'll see it next time.

So far, none of the creek crossings were anything to sweat. Not so on the next 7. The first, just past Charlebois was the widest bit of water I've ever seen in the Superstitions. We all had opted to leave our camp shoes behind to allow for warmer layers (we reasoned we would be too cold to wear our sandals at camp) which we realized was a big mistake. We ended up crossing this creek, and the next few, barefoot. :scared: It was cold but the sharp rocks were worse. Some of the crossings were deeper than you could see bottom of, others had strong currents. And all of them had some stepping stones, but nothing anywhere near resembling a path you could hop across. Sometimes looking across to where the cairn showed the trail picked back up was just hilarious. :) Lesson learned. We found a great campsite on this stretch and warmed up with hot food and some strong cocktails after over 9 miles of hiking and negotiating cold creek crossings. We were beat.

Sunday morning hike out was beautiful. We were worried we would see rain but it was a really nice day. We finished Dutchman back over to Bluff Springs. In the crook of Barks Canyon, on the way out, there is a little cairn and trail leading up...anyone know where that goes? Anyway, we continued up out and in good time, still enjoying all the water along the way and the views up on the bluffs. I added a couple water reports. Unfortunately we had to switch between devices on the way and some data got lost. But basically, it's all flowing. Almost all the creek beds we walked through had flow. :lol: Really great trip overall.
Dutchman Trail #104
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Bluff Springs, Dutchman, Terrapin Loop
Bluff Springs and Dutchman to Charlebois Spring, then Dutchman to Terrapin to Bluff Springs out (~15 miles). It was a nice, cool hike in on Saturday. No hurry, no worry, just a nice stroll in with great views of the mountains. It was pretty easy on the feet, and once we hit the Dutchman Trail at Crystal Spring (very low) we left other hikers behind on the shorter loop trails. There was a party camped at La Barge Canyon, but we ended up having Charlebois Spring (high output and deep pool, as usual) all to ourselves.
The rain started right on schedule about 2000 on Saturday and continued for 12 hours, until just after we broke camp and started out on the Dutchman. One of my hiking partners, who shall remain nameless, chose the route out. This was after I told him "please, as flat as possible." His skill for choosing the opposite of that, and a grueling hike out will not go unrewarded at some future date. :x
With all the rain the washes were flowing, waterfalls were flowing out of the walls, and the trails were flowing. It was an incredible hike to the tailhead (except for the straight uphill that never ended). :lol: I can definitely see why you would want to do Terrapin from THE OTHER END. Weaver's Needle [ photo ] was enshrouded in an ever-changing robe of mist, dewdrops the size of marbles clung to grasses at the side of the trail, and the sound of rushing water accompanied much of my solitary trek up and over the Terrapin Trail. My treks are often solitary, even when hiking in a group, because my pace can be best described as glacier-like.
I arrived at the Terrapin/Bluff Springs junction about 1/2 hour after the rest of the group had continued down Bluff Springs. All was good until coming out at the Peralta trailhead at around 1445. Shep met me at the trailhead and asked if I had seen Mark (name changed to protect the possibly embarrassed). Being the last one out, I SHOULD have seen Mark. Shep had last seen him on the downhill after the Terrapin junction. We decided that Shep should hike back in to see if he could find Mark, while I held down the fort at the trailhead. As hikers returned from the Bluff Springs trail they stopped to talk to me, letting me know that Shep was on the trail asking after our missing hiker. No one had seen Mark. When Shep returned around 1730 we decided to call for help. We hadn't been on this trail before, Mark had not responded to Shep calling for him, the washes were running pretty good, and we didn't want to leave Mark out all night when we didn't know if he had gotten turned around or could be hurt. We left a note on Mark’s car, then drove out a ways to get a signal, and Shep called 911. The dirt portion of Peralta Road was horrendous, and we conducted some of the drive sideways in my Outback. After talking to 911 we decided to head out to the first warm looking location we could find to await a call back from the Sheriff.
The Sheriff did a lot to ease our minds about the fate of Mark. When hearing that we had not hiked Bluff Springs before, the Sheriff was confident that Mark had taken a wrong turn down Barks Canyon. This did a lot to ease my mind, as I tend to imagine the worst.
Shep and I did a lot of waiting, eating, drinking of coffee, and worrying as the search was organized. At around 2000, we called the Sheriff to get a status report. He told us that a helicopter was being deployed and the searchers were starting up the trail. At around 2200, the Sheriff called to report Mark found, and back at the trailhead. It would be the next day before I heard the rest of the story.
Mark reported that he had indeed gotten off trail, due to some cairns that mislead a hiker into Barks Canyon. Since there is no trail there, I’d like to know WTF people are doing placing cairns at this critical juncture. Not having seen them, this is all I’m going to say.
Mark did realize that he was off trail and set up camp as darkness fell. He was warm, cozy, and asleep when the helicopter woke him, and was not able to get outside his tent soon enough to get their attention on the first pass. The second pass saw Mark found and brought out, but the story gets a bit more interesting.
Mark reports that the rescuers told him that sometime during their search for him they found a day hiker who had also gotten off trail, was not equipped to spend the night out, and had not reported that he was going to be out on the trail to anyone. This hiker was cold and wet, and was rescued by the helicopter that was deployed to find Mark. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to what might have been the day hiker’s fate if Mark had not also gotten off trail that day.
Lessons learned: 1. Don’t let “X” plan your hike out if you have decided to change plans mid-backpack.
2. Hike with a buddy (DUH!)
3. You never know if your rescue might save someone else’s life.

There were sparse wildflowers, believe it or not! I definitely saw Globemallow, and one California Poppy.
Dutchman Trail #104
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Dutchman's Middle Trail Loop
A favorite hike of mine is the Middle Trail, which begins by paralleling the Dutchman's Wash north, from Barkley Basin to Bluff Springs Canyon. I know, the Miner's Needle Loop accomplishes the same objective. But this hike is shorter in distance, less travelled, with more exploring opportunities, and offers varying return options.

When I first began hiking this route I spent much time meandering through the wash. Over time, I found parts of the "old" trail. Now it is possible for one to stay out of the wash and to hike "a" trail north all the way to the short, slick ravine in Middle Canyon.

The next section of the hike has been line of sight across Middle Canyon to the base of two hills separated by a nasty drainage. The ascension to the saddle had been a major drawback with calamitous cats claw, not so "brittle" brush and bruising boulders.

Unexpectedly (to me), someone(s) had cleared away much of the nastiness, thereby, removing a major impediment, making the hike up to the saddle less stressful, less blood-letting, and less time-consuming.

The last part of the hike north from the Hill 3559 saddle to the connection with the Bluff Springs Trail is a reward for making it through all of the aforementioned. :y: Line of site, and/or an on-again off-again trail, will connect with a winding ravine and to the east/west portion of the Bluff Springs Trail.

The description above is the north/south route. My hike was in the opposite direction. I stayed in the ravine too long and spent some time exploring the top of Hill 3559. I'll have to pay more attention when doing the clock-wise loop. After descending from the hill to the saddle I was surprised at the openness to the descent into Middle Canyon.
Dutchman Trail #104
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1st Waterhole 104 to 129
June 16, the weather gave us a one day hiking opportunity. I wanted to hike in the rain so I hit the trail at 2pm. However, the best I got was a little drizzle. I took 104 all the way to the Bull Springs (129) junction - I continued on for about another 10 minutes as I had always turned off at 241 to do the Black Mesa Loop. I had hiked peralta down to Weaver's Needle, but 104 and 241 were the closest I had gotten to the northern approach. Someday I'll have to finish the hike to Weaver's needle from 1st water hole.

There were some small puddles along the trail occasionally, but nothing serious. I had my keen sandals just in case the rain started pouring down.

Is there some way to create a route based upon the exif info from one's photos? I didn't have route scout armed at the time, nor my Garmin.

Also, I'm not sure how to link these photos to a route or anything like that - help would be appreciated.

A few nice red Saguaro blossoms and one agave in full bloom.
Dutchman Trail #104
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Just me and the dog today. We started at about 7:30am and didn't see too many people on the trail until the afternoon. I wasn't expecting to see anyone on the Cavalry so of course this one was also talking to himself. Temps were a little warm in the sun and cool in the shade. We took the shortcut over Bull Pass which I think is my preferred route. I don't mind missing that section of the Dutchman. We were back at the TH at 1:30.
Dutchman Trail #104
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It was below freezing at the start of the hike, 7:00am. All puddles had ice on them. First time I've circumnavigated Black Top Mesa counterclockwise. It was like a completely different trail. Then from Bull Pass to the First Water trailhead I ran into 27 horses and 26 riders. One group was 11, another 8 and then some small groups. Made a few small side trips.
Dutchman Trail #104
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Beautiful weather for a hike. Sprinkled on me twice and misted a few times between 7 and 8 am, then nothing. Did this loop clockwise. When I got down to the Dutchman I decided to go up to Bull Pass to get a little more distance and elevation.

Every time I've done this hike I wonder how many creek crossings there are. I had 25 between Second Water trail and the Dutchman along the Boulder Creek. Another 3 on Second Water trail, if you don't count the little watersheds.. Two each direction going up to Bull Pass. And 9 back along the Dutchman. For a total of 41 crossings.
Dutchman Trail #104
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Including myself, there were 7 intrepid hikers from a meetup group that began hiking at the First Water TH, and we did an out-and-back hike to Aylor's Arch and Black Top Mesa. We went out on the Dutchman Trail #104, and after about 5 miles or so, just past the turnoff to the Boulder Canyon trail, the trail went through a wash. Instead of continuing on the Dutchman Trail, we took a right in the wash and hiked through the wash for a half mile or so, until Aylor's Arch came into view off to the left. Then we followed a social trail up to a saddle just to the right of Aylor's Arch. Then we went to just below Aylor's Arch, and said what the heck, let's go up on Aylor's Arch. It was cool being up there, and the views were awesome. However, if you have a fear of heights, you may not want to to up to the top of the Arch.

We then reversed our course until we got back to the wash. Then when we got to the Dutchman Trail, we took a right from out of the wash. We didn't go too far, until we took the Bull Pass trail to the left. We then began ascending, and when we got to the base of Black Top Mesa, we took a trail to the right up to the top of Black Top Mesa. There were some cool views on top of the mesa -- Weaver's Needle was right in front of us, and I was able to recognize Superstition Peak 5057, Black Mountain, Peter's Mesa, among other landmarks. While on the mesa, not too far from the Sunburst Petroglyph, we came across a geocache container, which was the first one of those that I had found.

Once we descended from Black Top Mesa, we took the Bullpass trail back to the Dutchman Trail, and from there went back to the trailhead. It was a warm afternoon, and one of the hikers commented that the 5 miles or so that we went back on the Dutchman trail seemed like a 100 mile death march. While that may have smacked of hyperbole, I certainly did not argue with her!
Dutchman Trail #104
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been wanting to get out in the supes lately, and this loop has been on my list for a repeat
denny, john and i set out just before 0700
went clockwise, to avoid later crowds on peralta and ascend the loose rock on terrapin
have only been on the northern part of peralta trail and terrapin once
most of peralta seemed familiar, but much of terrapin did not
cool to start with
took a break along the short segment of dutchman
very pleasant scenery and temps throughout the hike
started seeing a few people once on bluff springs trail
finished just before noon to a packed parking lot
very little water out there
nice to be out with the boys again :)
denny and john sprang for street tacos at mi casita in chandler - yum!
good times

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Peralta Trailhead
7.6 miles east of the junction Idaho Rd / US-60. Turn Left on to FS77 which is Peralta Road. Follow FS77 5.6 miles to a left and up turnoff. Continue 1.9 miles to Peralta Trailhead.

The trailhead has restrooms minus running water. The parking lot is huge. It does fill up in season on weekends. Since there are no lines the rangers ask that you park straight between the posts in the main lot. Please do your part with this simple request and make room for the next guy. 0.5 miles before reaching the trailhead is an overflow lot which is also suited for horse trailer parking.

From PHX (Jct I-10 & AZ-51) 45.2 mi - about 1 hour 8 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 97.0 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 192 mi - about 3 hours 15 mins
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