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La Barge Lowest Loop, AZ

Guide 28 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.8 of 5 
no permit
287 28 1
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 6.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,680 feet
Elevation Gain 290 feet
Accumulated Gain 900 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.8
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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22  2016-04-16
La Barge - Battleship Saddle Loop
26  2015-05-16
Boulder Canyon Labarge Creek Loop
22  2014-11-29 bballard
17  2012-11-22 Grasshopper
13  2011-12-31 DanaLee67
13  2011-12-10 NatureKopelli
17  2011-11-21 TheNaviG8R
24  2011-11-20 trailzrus
Page 1,  2,  3
Author Fritzski
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 0
Photos 597
Trips 59 map ( 132 miles )
Age 68 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Feb, Mar → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:39am - 7:25pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Do it to say you did it
by Fritzski

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This is a moderate off-trail loop hike originating at the Canyon Lake trailhead in the northwestern section of the Superstition Wilderness. It is a variation of the Lower LaBarge Creek Loop hike described in The Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness by Carlson & Stewart.

From Canyon Lake Trailhead set out south on the Boulder Canyon Trail #103. At about the 0.7 mi point, look for a fairly well-defined spur trail heading straight toward the canyon, while trail #103 hooks back to the left. A large cairn may mark it. Follow this short trail down to the La Barge Creek bed. Take careful note of the landmarks here so you'll recognize your exit point on the way back out. There were several pools of stagnant water here, but the area can be easily underwater during non-drought years.

Continue south, following the rocky creek bed through the occasional area's trees, brush, and smooth rock. Route finding is relatively straight forward with basic map reading skills allowing you to anticipate key landmarks.

The first key landmark is the intersection of La Barge Creek and Boulder Canyon at about the 1.75 mi mark. Look for a prominent narrow canyon heading left that is somewhat obscured by heavy brush and trees. Although this is the continuation of La Barge creek upstream, Boulder Canyon continues straight ahead and seems more like the main channel. Continue straight south into Boulder Canyon.

The next landmark will be an abrupt turn to the right, then quickly back around the left at about the 2.2mi point, as shown prominently on the topo map. You will now begin to see Battleship Mountain and Geronimo Head looming in the near distance. Continue southeast in the creek bed toward the intersection where Boulder Canyon rejoins La Barge Creek. Just before this intersection, you will encounter a section of the Boulder Canyon Trail, but not before having to thrash through the thickest section of bush on this hike just about 500 yards before the intersection. Watch carefully here for the unsigned trail as it crosses the creek bed.

Continue east on the trail up and out of the creek bed as it climbs over the short saddle past the Indian Paint mine ruins (@3mi) and back down into La Barge Creek. Cross the creek, and to minimize the rock-hopping, stay on the Boulder Canyon trail as it heads back north, paralleling the creek bed to your left. When the trail begins to head uphill away from the creek, pick a clear route back down into the creek. At roughly the 4mi point, the creek bed abruptly narrows for about the next 0.3mi, where it once again merges with Boulder Canyon and where we recall passing the "narrow, obscured canyon".

This section is relatively thick in spots but fairly short-lived. Once past the intersection, it is just a matter of retracing your steps northward back to the exit point and up and out of the canyon.

Judging by the number of footprints and trail wear, I would say this is a fairly popular area. I'd say it was okay, but I didn't think it was all that great compared to other offerings in the same area. It was somewhat of a hurdle for me as I did this with a new second total hip replacement and a broken wrist still in a cast from a recent fall. It was probably a reasonably good choice for my first off-trail foray in quite a while and left me looking forward to more fun adventures in the beautiful Superstitions.

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2004-10-24 Fritzski
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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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
15 miles Northeast of Apache Junction on SR 88 just after mile marker 210. Turn left into the Canyon Lake Marina parking lot. The area closest to the SR 88 or furthest away from the Marina is the actual trailhead parking. The area allowed is marked in front of each space.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
prehydrate & stay hydrated
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