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Bluff Spring Mountain Summit, AZ

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629 83 2
Guide 83 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions SW
4 of 5 by 27
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 8.45 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,400 feet
Elevation Gain 1,707 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,609 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 - 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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15  2019-04-13
Miners Needle Loop & Bluff Spring Mtn
5  2019-04-10
Ely-Anderson Trail
3  2019-01-26 chumley
4  2019-01-26 MtnBart01
6  2018-11-08 survivordude
9  2018-08-11
Weaver's Needle Summit
9  2018-08-11
Weaver's Needle Summit
12  2018-02-11 trekkin_gecko
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 7
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → 11 AM
Seasons   Early Winter to Early Spring
Sun  6:10am - 6:29pm
Official Route
5 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Joy - a bonus for the soul
by joebartels

Here is a moderate trip into the heart of the western Superstition Wilderness and tops Bluff Spring Mountain. Study the map and take a copy with you. Many of the high points in the wilderness offer great views, but there always seems to be this gentle giant obscuring part of the view. This trip is a cure for the obscured. Jeans aren't necessary though I do suggest a step up from teva sandals. Be sure to go November through February or the snakes will be out.

Bluff Spring Trail #235, off-trail up south slope of Bluff Spring Mountain, off-trail down west slope, Terrapin Trail #234 and back on #235.

From the Peralta Trailhead: Take off to the immediate first junction and head up the Bluff Spring Trail. Pass up the Terrapin Junction and keep on truckin. A little over a half mile after the junction you will notice a wide ridge coming down from your left. When the ridge comes all the way down to the creek beside you it's time to head on up.

I've accessed Bluff Spring Mountain from numerous points over the years. This is among the easiest and shortest routes up or down. I do recommend using the map below and going counterclockwise using this as your up route. Keep looking forward for a good route and you'll be fine. Midway up the eye of Miners Needle comes into view. There are two small ten-foot walls to conquer. Both can be bypassed for the most part. Or just go over. It's fun and neither presents much trouble.

When you top out you're on a lower deck. The peak is three quarters of a mile northwest and it's another 300 feet up. You might consider working topo point 4041 into your loop. Which is the best view of Bluff Spring Mountain Canyon. The stroll over to the peak is on my list of all time favorites. The peak itself offers great views.

The shortest option would be to return the way you came. However the loop shown in the map is fun and barely further in distance. Head down to the Terrapin Trail as shown in the map. Hike back to the Bluff/Terrapin junction and backtrack on the Bluff Springs Trail to the trailhead.

You might consider putting a little more meat on the bone. If you are familiar with Weavers Cross Cut this is a better loop. Better yet if you're familiar with Dacite Mesa and the reverse jag down to Peralta Trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2004-02-19 joebartels
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    guide related
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 31 deeper Triplog Reviews
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Kelly and I were initially going to do a Sedona trek but since the temps looked a little cooler than we would prefer, we went to a Plan B. I texted Kathy, now that she passed her Series III, to see if she was up for a hike on a Sunday (now that there isn't any football) and she was game. When I took Kathy on the Miners Needle Loop in December and we passed by the Ely Anderson TH, I had mentioned to her about the Bluff Spring Mountain hike once I was in better shape. So with all of that, we three girls decided to do this hike since Kelly was fine with hiking the mountain again as well.

We got started around 9ish I think. It was a bit windy, and a chilly wind at that, as we started up Cardiac Hill. That one always is a doozie especially since you still have to go up for another 3/4 mile or so before you finally top out. At Lower Bark's Saddle we enjoyed our first view of Weaver's Needle and I reminisced about when johnr1 and I had done this hike in 2011 and I filmed the sun slowly lighting up the Needle.

We hiked our way over to the Ely Anderson TH meeting up with around 9 hikers including 2 that were sitting up a ways as we made our way to Upper Barks saddle. After a fuel break, it was time to go UP the trail. We lost the original trail for a bit but then joined up with the cairned path for our up and up with a couple easier sections in-between before more up and up. Finally I saw the stone wall and pointed it out to Kathy. It's nice to have goals to shoot for when you're going up and up. That view when you first peek over the rock outcropping is astonishing as Weavers Needle about hits you in the face :y: . Just WOW! so we stood there for a moment or two and took pictures.

And now to finish off the somewhat trail of the Ely Anderson. From there we veer slightly left and then stay slightly to the low side as you try to pick your way across the wide open prairie of Bluff Spring Mountain that's dotted with rocks and cactus and brush. I did spot a few cairns on my upper route which we also found for the way back as there are basically no trails through here. Kelly and Kathy decided to stay to the far left for their 175 foot in .2 mile climb up Bluff but that looked way too intimidating for me so I swung a little more to the center for my ascent. I spotted a few cairns on the ascent too. I was finally getting closer to the rocks of the summit when I saw the tip of Kathy's hat which meant it wasn't too much further.

Whoo hoo, I'm back here again; such a worthy summit with two of my favorite hiking companions. They both are so supportive of my eventually get 'er done pace. After a few quick pictures it was time for lunch. I also brot a couple pictures of johnr1 as the picture I took up here is the one they used on the Memorial program so I thot it fitting to add it to the summit box. johnr1 and I had the most beautiful hike to this summit in November 2011.

We found it hard to leave as the weather and the views couldn't have been more perfect. Canyon Lake was the deep blue of an ocean and we could see all the noticeable landmarks from our vista... such a wonderful feeling. But alas, we had to get down from this summit and go back across the grassy, rocky tundra of Bluff Spring Mountain. We managed to find the route I came across on and then from there a real nice flat and even, though slightly grassy, route almost all the way to the end/beginning of the Ely Anderson Trail.

This time I made sure the girls saw the stone fence as they kind of missed it on the way up even though they both crossed through it :lol: . And now it was time for the down and more down. It was a little warmer now. Glad it was sticky rock for most of this. Took a couple pics, Kelly stopped to talk to another hiker who had begun his ascent and then just before the bottom I landed on my tush. Once on level ground, I was a little tired so it took me a bit longer as the girls proceeded ahead. We took a break on Upper Barks saddle and then had shade for the hill climb up to Lower Barks saddle. It is a nice grade though as is the next hill that looks like it is steeper than it is. By now I'm in "hiking for beer" mode anyway so it's all good :) .

We hung at the TH for a bit watching all the activity; about as good as hangin' at the airport. A nice day, a great hike and even better, time with Kelly and Kathy.

Part 1 to top of Ely-Anderson TH from Peralta TH - [ youtube video ]
Part 2 to the Summit from Ely-Anderson Trail - [ youtube video ]
Part 3 Summit back to Peralta TH [ youtube video ]
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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rescheduled a hike with tibber
weather seemed to favor the superstitions over sedona this weekend
kathy hadn't been up on bluff spring mountain, so that was angela's plan for today
got a parking spot at peralta and set out on bluff spring trail a little after 8:30
pretty good breeze from the east
a lot of people out on bluff spring trail - more than i've seen before
took a short snack break at the ely-anderson turnoff
headed up on this nicely cairned use trail
steep at times, but with good footing, much of it on bedrock
i've upgraded my rating
easy off trail and a final push to the summit
some of the best views in the superstitions of weaver's needle, the ridgeline, battleship, canyon lake, palomino
in the other direction, miner's needle, buzzard's roost and picketpost
had some lunch and took some pics for awhile
quite a few haz members in the summit log
took a peek into hidden valley on the way back
warmed up nicely on the return
just a perfect day to be out there
my second time on this hike
next time would like to drop back to terrapin
very nice day out with the girls :)
kinda fun to revisit some old favorites lately

Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Another Bluff Mountain summit today. However, this time I was able to cross the route down to Terrapin off my list after hitting the summit. I hit the trails with Carrie, John and a couple of other friends from the dreaded social media site Instagram. Kyle accompanied us to the turn off for Ely-Anderson and then headed back with his pup, who was already beat from a big hike the day before. Five total dogs took part in this hike: Blanco, Chief, Bella, Lilly and Chloe.

We ran into a bunch of Boy Scouts on the way in, but did not see anyone else until we neared the trailhead again, but the parking lot was near its usual winter form and nearly packed when we got back. It is so dry out there right now, as one would expect, not a drop of water anywhere the entire day and all the grasses brittle and brown. However, the summit was still a worthy destination and offered its usual nice views and different perspective on the Needle. The route down to Terrapin is a little more rugged than Ely, but it went by pretty nicely and we all escaped unscathed. It got a little warm towards the end of the day, but we kept the dogs well watered and were enjoying the air condition of our vehicles by one.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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My 4th hike with Kevin from the Boston area. A chance meeting at the Pinon Pine overlook across from Weaver's Needle on his first hike in the Supes has led to some fun hikes together.

We took the Ely-Anderson route up. Once on top we worked our way over to peak 4041 for some views of the valley. Thunder crackled to the east as we savored the views from 4041. We then headed west to the summit where we took a break, snapped a few pics and signed the register.

We descended to the west because we wanted to add the Weaver's Needle Crosscut trail. Storms were supposed to hit around 2pm and it was about noon when we reached the Terrapin trail. The smart thing to do would have been to follow Terrapin back to Bluff Springs and return to the trailhead but we both brought rain gear so we stuck to the plan.

We stopped for lunch at the first rise on the crosscut trail. The weather was still on our side, but it was a short lunch; we needed to get to the Peralta trail before the rain hit. Timing is everything. About five minutes after we linked up with Peralta, a light rain started. We passed a trail maintenance crew, high fiving and thanking them as we walked by. Thunder crackled to the east, but much closer now. The rain picked up. We need to find shelter. Lightning, then a bang about three seconds later. The thunder crackled down through the canyon. Awesome, but way too close! We finally found a decent overhang and ducked in to wait out the storm.

The storm passed quickly and we continued our way to Fremont Saddle. By the time we arrived, the darkness from the storm had given way to partly cloudy. Sunshine and shadows from the clouds made for quite a show as we headed down Peralta to the trail head.

A great weather day in the Supes and another fun hike with Kevin.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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I could not get on the trails until early afternoon today, so this enjoyable peak in the western Supes popped up on my radar.

Jackie, myself and the pups started on Bluff Springs a little after one to a parking lot and surrounding area that resembled black Friday somewhere in the city, but as is usually the case most of the foot traffic was on Peralta Trail and not Bluff. There is not much water left out there, however, there was still enough for the dogs. We spent a lot of time on the summit, which Jackie was a fan of and then headed back the same way we came. As we were heading back, this pretty standard hike, became very memorable for me when we came upon a large group of bighorns feeding on the grassy slopes of Bluff. Blanco shortened the memorable moment considerably, but we both still relished in the cool viewing experience. Jackie's first bighorn sighting since moving to Arizona and my first sighting in the Supes, finally!

Finished with headlamps just after seven to an empty parking lot. I am glad I braved the black Friday crowds of Peralta trailhead to complete this afternoon summit.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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This was an early hair of the dog hike to relieve the Lemmon hangover. ;) I'm not sure why but it works. A trip back to the cave on the mountain side was first up. After climbing some not so stable rock up to the was a dud. The down climb wasn't going to happen so on to the summit. There was fire up on Bluff Spring Mountain since I was last up there and a lot of the brush/century plants burned but the Ocotillo and cactus were better off. The hike across the way to the Ely-Anderson trail was easy going. A quick stop at the pharaoh I saw one whited-tailed deer on top but no other fuana on the trip. It was warm by 10:30a at the finish but overall a nice hike.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Really great hike with Lily and my friend Sarah. Temps cooled down so I figured I gotta spend some time in the Supes while its still enjoyable. Good breezes kept the temps nice and Lily had a few pools of water to cool off in. Lots of cars at Carney and Peralta TH's this morning-- we had to park at the overflow lot. Bluff Spring Mtn is always a nice spot for lunch.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Ah, first dodgy moment of 2016 hiking. I finished up my work day in Tucson and headed home the back way by the Pioneer Parkway to get me to the Supes. I had planned on doing the Flatiron, but this one has been on the wish list for a while and won out. Peralta road is definitely worse for wear than when I was out here last month, the rain has put some good ruts and washout spots. Still nothing crazy, I managed to get the trusty Quest van back there but I actually had to use my brakes quite a few times... I pulled in to the Peralta lot a bit after 3 to the greeting of about 30 cars. Carney was full too, everybody must be out with the weather so nice. I had downloaded the official track on Route Scout (still working great on my Motorola Droid) and off I went. The wash right by the trailhead was running as full as I have seen it out here, certainly no surprise after last week. I think it is safe to say if there are any water availability questions in the western Superstitions, the answer is yes. All of the drainages were flowing along the way, and there were numerous wet creek crossings the whole way. By the time I got to the intersection with the Terrapin trail I was starting to have my doubts about the 5.5 miles roundtrip reported by the official track, it was at this point I realized the discrepancy. The official track has the lasso and the loop, but not the return I actually had an extra 3 miles to hike that I had not accounted for. We should probably make sure that the official track gets updated, this could lead to some real mayhem for some hikers if they are unprepared for contingencies. Not to be deterred, I continued on the Bluff Springs trail to the takeoff point for bushwhacking. The trip up was not too bad at all, I only had a few minor blood donations thanks to a Mammilaria and a Catclaw. The rock wall section was fun, a couple of good climb/ scrambles but no real exposure. Once up on the shelf I headed to the northern high spot, and then I headed west for the summit. I signed in to the register, not too many folks climbing this one for sure. I think I counted a total of 9 entries from last year, but I was the second already from this year. Very brief stop up top since I was now under the gun for time. About 200 feet down from the peak the sun went behind the ridge and that was the last I saw of it. I was trying like hell to make it down the western downclimb while light was still good since I had never been down this way before, but things went pretty well. I picked a drainage and worked my way down, surprised to see a good bit of ice on the northern slope where some of the water had frozen. I made it down to the Terrapin trail and tried to make tracks back to the van. I held out until about 6:30 before I got the headlamp out, by this point it was just about pitch black with only a sliver of the moon out. Few things say fun quite like night time wet creek crossings, but I managed to find my way back while only getting my boots a little damp. The Terrapin trail has running water on a very good portion of it, only a few inches here and there but enough to make things sloppy. Made it back to the TH about 7:15 to see my van and only one other car still here. Long drive home but well worth it, another fun adventure in the Supes.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Central Supes Loop
This was just a nice relaxing three day back pack to kick off my holiday break. I went in Bluff Springs at Peralta to the Dutchman, Peter's Trail and Tortilla TH, back JF to Woodbury, and Coffee Flats across to Dutchman and completion of loop at Peralta.

On day one I hiked in with Jim but detoured to summit Bluff Mountain with Chumley and some of his most loyal followers. The trails were littered with HAZers, met one in parking lot who was very happy to finally meet Blanco and Cup. Then I ran into hikerdw and his son as is custom with most of my Supes hikes. It was nice to finally summit Bluff Mountain. The views were great and the weather proved nearly perfect. I said my good bye to the slackpackers and headed for my first nights camp, near Charlebois. I generally just relaxed most of the day, caught up with Jim, read a bunch and went to bed pretty early.

I left camp a little later then I should of but I was in no real rush Saturday, nor had any concrete plans. Peter's Trail has certainly seen better days. JF seemed like a highway after Peters, camped near Mullin Spring with some minor exploring in the area planned for day three before heading back to TH. It got real cold on the second night. The water in dog's dishes froze all my gear had a heavy frost/ice coating in morning and my leaky air mattress were no match for myself, Cupcake and half of Blanco; the ground got very cold very fast.

I had more ambitious plans for the final day, but they would have been pretty rough on Cup and I need her ready to go back out by Wed. So I opted for the leisurely exit via Coffee Flats Trail and the very scenic Fraser and Randolph Canyons. One can't go wrong with Randolph and Fraser Canyons this time of year, very scenic. I did do some early morning exploring of the headwaters of Tortilla Creek and Mullin Spring. Very tough going in spots, no big finds, but intrigued by area.
Bluff Spring Mountain Summit
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Bluff Spring Mtn Miners Loop
Nice hike in the Supes! The four of us started from Peralta and caught up with Lee & Jim about an hour into the hike. All of us, excluding Jim, made our way to Bluff Spring Summit. Once up top we met Hikerdw and his son. Good to meet you!

After our crew returned to the camp on the Bluff Spring Trail. We said goodbye to Lee and the dogs and then the four of us returned via the Miners Needle Loop. We made great time and then headed to AZW for beers afterward. Fun day with a fun group. Thanks Chumley for driving!

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
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
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