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First Water TH to Peralta TH, AZ

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352 41 1
Guide 41 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
4.2 of 5 by 13
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Shuttle 11.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,286 feet
Elevation Gain 1,485 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,227 feet
Avg Time Hiking 6-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.22
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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9  2018-03-19 Steph_and_Blake
10  2017-03-22 mazatzal
5  2016-05-25 gummo
59  2016-02-28 Travis
3  2016-02-20 DennisWilliams
12  2016-01-21 jameslcox44
15  2015-01-15 jameslcox44
48  2014-01-04
Peralta TH to First Water TH
Page 1,  2,  3
Author OhOh7
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 2
Photos 1,591
Trips 81 map ( 435 miles )
Age 83 Male Gender
Location Gold Canyon, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Dec, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:31pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Diversified & beautiful
by OhOh7

I am quite new to hiking and really have no idea what I am doing. I have the proper equipment and am 68 years old. I wanted to do the Peralta to First Water but from Peralta to fremont Saddle is the steepest so we started at First Water at 6 AM.

The first half is quite easy up over Parker Pass with fabulous views of Weavers's needle and all the area. The green desert growth this year is stunning and lush! We went May 9, 2003 and the weather was perfect. After passing the trails for Black Mesa, Boulder and Bull Pass we kept on Dutchman heading toward Weaver's Needle until the junction with Peralta.It is interesting to note that the USGS topo map for this area does not accurately show the trails. of course the topo was done in 1956 with a photo revision in 1981. Just understand that the signs are correct and if one just stays on the Dutchman trail until the sign post points the Peralta to the right, all will be fine. One key to this is when you turn quite South on the Dutchman's trail on your left is Black Mesa and the trail follows a creek until it joins with Peralta.

Once you reach the Dutchman-peralta junction right turn up switchbacks and it starts the very long steady climb to Fremont Saddle. Great views of all this wilderness area. I know the mileage is listed at 11.2 but I use a waist accurate monitor and we went 13.44 miles based on my minimum step. I don't think the "trail plotters" really count all the switchbacks. Several great places with shade for lunch.Take plenty of water and rest often. If I can do this anyone can but allow 7 hours. It is really a good accomplishment to "cross" the Superstition range from the North side to the South this way. of course one can go from Peralta to First water but I would rather be going downhill the last 2 plus miles.

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2003-05-19 OhOh7
    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 Triplog Reviews
    First Water TH to Peralta TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    It looks like the county has decided to stop trying to fix the road to First Water. The sign at the beginning used to say that they graded it only every so often now it says that it's not maintained for domestic vehicles. I guess a sign is a less expensive alternative to grading. Since the big rains this summer the washes crossing the road are getting to have quite a drop and rise. Lots of exposed rocks. Anyone driving a car needs to beware.

    Peralta road is a bit better than First Water road, less large washes crossing the road. But still it is pretty rough the last couple miles.

    We decided to do this from Peralta to First Water instead of the way the description is written. Upon arrival at the Peralta parking lot we were surprised to find that our's was the only vehicle in the lot. Merlin and I got the shuttle set up by 7:30 and hit the trail. The first 45 minutes were cool going up Peralta Canyon, a chilly breeze was coming down the canyon. Then we got high enough for the sun to reach us. That was the end of the coolness.

    Upon getting to Fremont Saddle we made a small side trip out to the lone pine. It's always nice out there on the point. It was hard not to linger too long.

    As usual for this time of the year the trail along East Bolder Canyon is fairly overgrown. Lots of cactus and brush invading the trail. In the lower portion we found cat claw prominent.

    The views of the needle were impressive as usual. The sight never really gets old. It's always amazing how the views and personality of the peak change as you pass along the trail. The first people we saw on the trail were a family of 4 heading south up on the hill to the south of Palomino Mtn. This was their first trip into the Supes. We were surprised that they would venture so far in on their first trip. I think a couple people in the party had the same idea. I hope they made it out all right. Even if they turned around when we saw them it would have been a 14 mile hike.

    Aylor's arch watched us pass by. We saw about 10 other people on the Dutchman's between Palomino Mtn and the FW TH in three groups. Surprising how few people were out. Turned out to be a great day for a hike. The sun was out for a short while when it felt good to get the morning chill out of the air but then went behind clouds to keep it from getting too warm.

    Great hike, great weather, great company. What more could you ask for.
    First Water TH to Peralta TH
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Peralta TH to First Water TH
    Plan B: Peralta to First Water Shuttle. Verdict: AWESOME Plan B :DANCE: Thx to Snakemarks and AZLOT69 for advice on Plan A.

    We met Jack at First Water and took the Explorer over to Peralta (45 minutes) and then we were off and headin' up the trail. I am always glad when my legs will tell me fairly quickly that they're feeling good; even my calves didn't seem to need the usual warm-up period. We stopped at the photo booth to do some star shooting and then continued up and up encountering a few hikers now and again. We did find a bird that didn't flitter off because apparently he was after a pretzel :lol: .

    Jack is quite familiar with the mileage on this trail so could tell us exactly how much we had to go by various landmarks. He had also done some trimming in the area too. Little did Volunteer Ranger Jack know that it was really the other side of the saddle that could use quite a bit of trimming.

    While we caught our breath at the saddle, a newbie came over the top and got his first look at Weavers Needle. He had a great reaction. Guess it might be fun to hang around over on the west side of the saddle just to watch as people feast their eyes on the Needle for the first time.

    We didn't linger long and headed on down the trail. It was a little nippy in the shade. Once down toward the drainage we spotted water so headed off to what I call the Upper Peralta Trail pools. It was in one of the pools that Ambika spotted Weavers Needle's reflections so that kept our cameras busy for a bit. There is one more set of pools that we had stopped at for lunch during our Weavers Cross Cut hike a couple years ago so we wandered over there too.

    We eventually stopped for a lunch but with Jack in the lead, getting over to the site was thru catclaw. What is it between the cholla and catclaw he just aims straight for it :lol: ... and what's worse this time is that the major camp site was just 2 minutes further down the trail which we discovered when we started hiking after lunch. SHEESH! Well at least our site was bound to stay private.

    The trail continues north for a long time. I was curious as to when it would swing east but it really doesn't as it gradually veers in that direction. I looked ahead and slightly east and it looks like the drainage dropped rather steeply. We were surprised at how high above the valley we were. Once you hike that gradual rise in the trail the view opens up :y: and you can see all sorts of mountains and landmarks. It really is spectacular. There is this one rocky crag mountain (3113 I believe) that you hike towards and once you get past that, there is Yellow Peak, the Palominos, Battleship, Geronimo Head, the top of Malapais, Black Top Mesa, Bluff Spring Mountain and of course, Weavers Needle keeps you company almost the entire hike from the Saddle. It was simply breathtaking.

    Finally you head east for a short time before you start hiking down the side of a rock mountain with really nice trail. We looked over to the west and admired the layering of the rock like terraces and the intense greenery thruout. It is surprising how high above it you are. You hike a bit of a zig zag as you slowly head down in the direction of Palomino Mountain almost straight ahead of you and then you do a u-turn heading south for a bit before veering east again to Peralta Creek and the intersection with the Dutchman.

    Like many of you this little section of trail between Palomino and Black Top is one of my favorite places in the western part of the Supes. And it delivered as usual as one of the first pools was providing a very cool reflection of Black Top Mesa. Needless to say, we spent a few minutes here trying to get that ideal shot. As we continued our hike, somewhere along here I put my hand down but it landed in the way of this tall and sturdy prickly pear cactus. Ouch! :stretch: For the next couple days it's been hard to bend my second and third fingers so I must have jammed them good but at least I didn't get thorned.

    I got to see my golden water (reflections of Black Top), Jack spotted Aylors Arch which you can only see for a short time and he spotted the crested saguaro I told him to keep an eye out for. We rested at the end of this part of the trail and ate our final snack for our final 4 mile push (which was actually 4.75) home.

    We put the after burners : rambo : on to try and make up for our lolly-gagging during the previous seven miles. The sun was back-lighting some of the flora so that was kind of nice. There are those 4 rocky parts of this trail that are always an annoyance but other than that, this part is pretty smooth sailing even as you make your way toward Parker Pass.

    It was interesting to see how the fall rain had changed the layout of First Water creek a bit. And there were still plenty of pools of water for this time of year. We kept trudging along this part anxiously awaiting getting out in the sunshine and that last bit to the TH. You know what they say about that last mile.

    Once at Tonto I had crantinis for Ambika and me and a pumpkin spice beer for Jack. We followed Jack to his house, finally got to meet Pat and then headed off to Los Gringos. Pat and Jack went to get the Explorer and then Jack brot me my hiking bag just as we finished dinner. I haven't had the Camerones Verde there in so long. It's seems a little spicier than I remember it but YUM!!!

    I've got a hankering to do the Weavers Needle Loop but I would have done it from the other direction. However, I think I may want to do it counterclockwise as I think the view will be so much better and I think it might be easier so as to avoid that 4 mile uphill to the Saddle.

    A friendly reminder to watch in HD as the plants don't blur that way.
    Video 1 to Fremont Saddle -
    Video 2 to pools by Peralta Trail -
    Video 3 continuing on Peralta Trail -
    Video 4 still heading mostly north on Peralta Trail -
    Video 5 heading east on Peralta toward Dutchman Junction -
    Video 6 on the Dutchman between Palomino and Black Top Mesa:
    Video 7 on the Dutchman to First Water
    First Water TH to Peralta TH
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I couldn't decide what to hike today but my plan was to break in my new boots. Well, I think I ended up beating them in and making them wish someone else had bought them. I was gonna start at Peralta but as I drove east, I didn't feel like making that extra long drive. I decided that I could just drive to First Water and then hike to Peralta :)

    As I neared First Water, I realized that I had only packed 3 liters of water and with the highs being in the upper 80's that just might not be enough to make it to Peralta and back. Luckily, I had packed my Steripen! So if I go all the way to Peralta then I'm gonna have to take the long way back and pass by LaBarge or Charlebois Springs just to be safe and make sure I can get water that's not to murky or green to purify with UV. Alright-- today is gonna be a long day. I'd never done the First Water to Peralta and back thing so it must be time to put this one under my belt. I didn't know exactly how long this route would be but I knew it would be at least 25 miles and not over 30 (hopefully :o )

    I didn't see a single hiker from First Water until I hit Fremont Saddle. I stopped and ate a sandwich on the saddle and enjoyed the view. Its nice when there aren't 40 people up there. I headed down and passed probably ten on their way up and a group riding mules to the saddle.

    I made it to the parking lot and talked to the usually cranky volunteer at the TH and he was pretty pleasant today. He even offered me an extra bottle of water when I told him what I was doing. I turned down his offer since I'd be able to easily make it to LaBarge no problem.

    I started the march up Cardiac Hill which is much easier when you haven't already hiked 11 miles. It discouraged me a bit and I was beginning to get a little apprehensive about my plan but kept going. I saw a huge gila monster which lifted my spirits. I kept on moving and hit the Dutchman again and then saw a backpacker refilling water out of some still pools before the intersection with Red Tanks. I waved at him and shouted that there was a really nice spring just around the corner to pull from. I needed water, too, so I went ahead and filled up at LaBarge Spring. He made his way over and I showed him the overflowing spring box and we talked for a bit as we both refilled our water. The longer break really helped me regain some strength. 9L would have put Red Tanks on the "linked trails" list but not me :sl:

    I headed off on my way and went past Charlebois and a couple camped there. I had water and was in a hurry so I didn't check out the spring. I knew almost all of my elevation gain was over for the day except for Bull Pass. I just had to make it to the saddle under Black Top Mesa and it would be mostly easy hiking for the remainder of the day. I stopped and ate another sandwich on the saddle. I'm glad I packed enough food for a big day :)

    I made it back to the Dutchman and headed to the TH which seemed like it took forever. I thought I was closer and then realized that the starting point on my GPS track for the day was not really my start point. I had hiked far enough today so that my track was writing over itself and I had a couple more miles than it looked like :(

    Then I saw my second gila monster for the day. He wasn't very big but wouldn't move off the trail. We had a bit of a stand-off and finally he went his own way. Then I was finally done and made it back just before sunset as the orange light started hitting the trail.

    Today was a few miles too long but I'm glad I did it. The temperature ended up being perfect all day and I imagine this is the last long loop I'll do in the Supes this season.

    And as for taking a brand new pair of boots on a 27 mile hike-- they were amazing straight out of the box. I love Vasque boots :)
    First Water TH to Peralta TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My friend, Mike, and I decided today was a good day for a hike across the Supes. We met at 6:00 and got the shuttle set up to hit the trail at 7:30. We actually did it South to North, to get the big hill out of the way at the beginning. We didn't see anyone else after the TH until about West Boulder Creek when we ran into a guy finishing the Boulder Creek loop. After that point we started running into several groups.

    The sun stayed under high clouds making for great hiking conditions.
    First Water TH to Peralta TH
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Took some friends from Peralta TH to First Water TH. Beautiful day for this hike, not very crowded, and I got to meet Snakemarks at Peralta. Always nice to run into fellow HAZers.

    The day started out under bright blue skies then some very nice wispy clouds moved in. I took tons of shots of Weaver's needle and our hiking group. All 120 photos can be seen on my website,

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To First Water Trailhead
    From Mesa follow Highway 60 East to Idaho Road. Turn North onto Idaho Road which is SR88 and follow North 2.2 miles. SR88 bends right just past Scenic St. and Idaho continues North. Be sure to go right and stay on SR88. Follow SR88 5.2 miles to the signed turnoff for First Water Trailhead, this is FR-78. Turn right on to FR-78 and follow 2.6 miles to the end.

    This trailhead feature restrooms without running water. The large parking area fills up in season. When full utilize the Horse Lot 0.5 miles back.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 43.1 mi - about 59 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 136 mi - about 2 hours 16 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 3 hours 3 mins
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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