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Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot, AZ

no permit
886 145 2
Guide 145 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.2 of 5 by 32
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.55 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,232 feet
Elevation Gain -172 feet
Accumulated Gain 344 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5-2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.27
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
1  2019-08-12 gummo
7  2019-04-20
Garden Valley Loop
11  2019-03-31 DbleDutch
10  2019-02-12 rayhuston
25  2018-10-13
Hackberry Figure-Eight In the Rain
4  2018-10-08 jacobemerick
47  2018-03-17
Second Water Canyon
13  2018-01-11
Garden Valley Hackberry Spring
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 10
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   Oct, Nov, Dec, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Short day hike
by mttgilbert

Two other loop options

This trip starts from the horse-trailer parking lot where the fee boxes are located off FS78.

Start walking east along the road to the trailhead. About 0.1 miles down the road there's a pull off with a closed gate. Crawl through the fence and follow the road about 0.3 miles to an old corral and windmill. There are lots of trails crisscrossing firstwater creek in this area, pick one and find the creek bed. Once in the creek start going north into the slick rock canyon. Once you're in the canyon follow it for about 0.25 miles. At this point the canyon will split; follow the canyon east, not north. Shortly after the split, the canyon feeds into another canyon. To the north the canyon continues, to the south it kind of peters out and gives a great view of the east side of Superstition Mountain. You want to go north. About halfway down this stretch of canyon, right before it starts bearing east, there is a nice copse of trees with a few campsites and a well used cave. There's a big rock in the middle of the creek with a giant arrow pointing to the east, I think this is someone's marker for the campsite, at least I couldn't find anything else that it might be marking. The area would make a nice camping spot, especially with all the insects and other animals that frequent the spring. Just a short way further there's another stand of trees, larger and greener than the previous one. This is when you'll know you're near the spring. The canyon runs east and west with the spring on the south side of the canyon. On the north is a nice shady spot that's been well cleared by past campers. The spring is not visible from the creek bed but it's not difficult to find, just look for a path out of the creek on the south side of the canyon. There is a pipe that comes out of the cliff wall and a defunct collector just below it.

There is no water at the trailhead and usually none in the creek however there are sometimes stagnant pools in the canyon rock, and there is the spring, which is said to have water year round, but I wouldn't count on it. Pack in all the water you need. Remember if you camp here that the desert animals rely on the spring for their water. Please don't camp near it if at all possible. Even camping near the spring disrupts the animal's natural habits and can be extremely detrimental to their health. Besides with all the mosquitoes and bees flying around who would want to camp near it anyway?

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2003-09-04 mttgilbert
    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 41 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Headed to Hackberry Spring and pleasantly surprised with good water flow in First Water. Returned by following First Water to the ranch corals and back to Horselot for a reverse lasso loop. Mixed flowers and other fauna with light breezes made for a great afternoon. Frequent stops for photos and just to sit and hear the water flowing/falling over the rocks. Water flowing in the desert is such a treat.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    A trip log by johnmc22 a few weeks back got me interested in heading out to Second Water Canyon for a look around. Like all of the other canyons nearby, a little more water would have been better, but it was nice as it was.

    A very late start for me (10:30am) put me in the Horse Lot as the First Water lot was full. I decided to take in Hackberry Spring and Garden Valley along the way. Knowing how much my friend AZLumberjack likes the areas along this route, I decided to take a few extra pictures for him to peruse while he's working that brand new knee into shape.

    While the lots were near capacity, I didn't see too many hikers on the route I took. I took a back door into Hackberry Spring because I thought the normal route would be busy. Most of the hikers I crossed paths with were coming down the hill from Garden Valley on the way to Hackberry Spring. There was a large boy scout contingent set up at the windmill/corral down the hill from the horse lot. The boys didn't hike far and had way too much energy (IMO) as I passed through the corral area.

    The weather on this fine day was absolutely spectacular. I would have stayed out all day, but I had to be home in time for the St. Paddy's day festivities. That was pretty good, too.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Solo workout hike on a Saturday. Saw Wally near Hackberry Spring & chatted for a few. Continued the loop and topped out on Black Top Mesa where I talked to a fella from Alberta that is a snowbird. He wasn't familiar with the glyphs so I showed him them & told him about Jack Carlson's books. We had a nice chat and then I started my return. Nice day out.

    Hackberry Spring :next: Black Mesa :next: Bull Pass :next: Black Top Mesa :next: Bull Pass :next: Dutchman
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    First time for Cholla Tank. It was empty of water, but as was everything else full of mud. Most of my hike toady was done with shoes weighing a couple pounds more than usual due to the buildup of mud. Especially in the bog area of Garden Valley. Got misted, drizzled, sprinkled and even a bit of rain today. Most of it along First Water Creek Canyon. Along with a pretty stiff breeze. Didn't see any running water but lots of puddles.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Ben and I put together an early-morning hike through Hackberry and down First Water Canyon. I was happy to see so much water still flowing upstream (and downstream) of the spring. I had never hiked in this area before, but the geology along First Water Canyon was beautiful. I feel like I've driven much further to see stuff like this in other parts of the state. But the portions of the surface flows here probably won't last long.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Nice little hike with Rick and his Son's Family :) 6 yr old Dale had a blast tossing ( HAZ ) rocks into the pools along the way :y:

    As a side note I forgot to report on my trip log of Bull Basin Loop they are doing some serious grading on 287A :D
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Took my daughter on this trip. We enjoyed the flowing water of First Water Creek. Hiked into the heart of the Hackberry Spring area and continued on following the creek as our trail. Made our return upstream. Instead of taking the normal trail to Horse lot, we continued along the creek up towards the windmill and stables area. Up the hill and back to horse lot.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    First Water Creek Wandering
    We hoped for a wet hike in and around First Water Creek with plenty of running water but we were disappointed... we had a few sprinkles at Horse Staging Lot (muddy and very slick) and about 2 minutes of light sprinkles in the middle then dry the rest of our loop.

    We followed the trail in the narrow wash from Horse Staging out to First Water Creek, headed toward Hackberry for a ways, then turned around and followed the eastern part of the creek back to Second Water Trail then around past First Water TH and finally followed the horse trail back to Horse Staging. The last part of the horse trail has had some pretty heavy maintenance.

    While there was some running water in First Water Creek... it was barely enough to get my new Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof boots wet. But enough to make for slippery slick-rock.

    Just a few cell phone pics today...
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    I've been getting kinda fat and lazy following Turkey Day so gotta get out and walk some of it off. Parked at the Horse Lot along the freshly graded First Water Road to find a bunch of ladies setting up their easels to do some paintings of the Superstition Ridgeline (don't worry JJ, they're not paint rocks in Siphon Draw).

    There was a definite bite to the 40 degree air this morning and the breeze was kinda stiff at first but tapered off once I got down into the narrow canyons. A few isolated pools of water remain in some of the deeper holes but didn't find any water flowing so that last rain was just enough to settle the dust and dampen the ground. I made it all the way through the Hackberry Campgrounds before I came across my first hiking foursome, exchanged greetings and we kept going our separate ways. Met another pair on the saddle as I was shedding a layer and they seemed kind unsure of which way to go to get to the old corral along First Water Creek, so I pointed them in the right direction and led the way.

    It was a nice sunny morning once the breeze died off and it's nice to see some pools of water along the way 8)

    The Willows along the creek below the spring are still showing more green than yellow so the best is yet to come.
    Hackberry Spring from Horse Lot
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    Nice cool morning to help get my Honey back into Trail shape :D Did a nice little lasso and came out at the corral and old windmill. This is a great hike for out of town guests to show what it's like away from the highway and into the back country.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Horse Lot 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 2.1 miles to the huge parking area on the left surrounded by horse rails.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 42.6 mi - about 57 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 136 mi - about 2 hours 15 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 3 hours 1 min
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