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La Barge Lowest Loop, AZ

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Guide 28 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
3.8 of 5 by 15
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,680 feet
Elevation Gain 925 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4
Kokopelli Seeds 10.63
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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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 66 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  6:13am - 6:24pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Do it to say you did it
by Fritzski

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 the Canyon Lake trailhead set out south on the Boulder Canyon Trail #103. At about the .7 mi point look for a fairly well-defined spur trail heading straight toward the canyon, while trail #103 hooks back to the left. It may be marked by a large cairn. Follow this short trail down to the La Barge Creek bed. Take careful note of the land marks here so you'll recognize your exit point on the way back out. There were several pools of stagnant water here, but it is said the area can be easily under water during non-drought years.

Continue south following the rocky creek bed through the occasional areas trees, brush, and smooth rock. Route finding is really quite 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 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 prior to this intersection you will encounter a section of the Boulder Canyon Trail, but not before having to thrash though the thickest section of bush on this hike just about 500 yards prior to 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. At the point where 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 .3mi where it once again merges with Boulder Canyon and where we recall passing the "narrow, obscured canyon".

This section is rather 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 amount of foot prints and trail wear, I would say this is a fairly popular area. I'd say it was okay, but compared to other offerings in the same area, I didn't think it was all that great. It was somewhat of a hurdle for me personally, 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 fairly 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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
La Barge Lowest Loop
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My daughter, Amy, and I completed a 7.5 mi loop, starting at the Canyon Lake trailhead. We followed the La Barge Creek through Boulder Canyon to the Boulder Canyon Trail. The La Barge Creek Route is a lot of boulder hopping and therefore much slower than an established trail. There was only one spot where we had to squeeze through a slot between the canyon wall and large boulders to get around a large pool of water. We stopped for lunch at the Indian Paint Mine, before returning to the Canyon Lake trailhead via the Boulder Canyon trail. As usual, there were spectacular views of Battleship Mountain, Weavers Needle and Canyon Lake from the higher elevations on the Boulder Canyon Trail.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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Decided to follow bensondk's description from Jan 2013. Trail was easy enough to follow up until the trail split over to Boulder Canyon. Rock hopped up La Barge Canyon up to the box with some moderate route finding. The box section is spectacular! The trail up to the saddle from the campsite was easy to find and follow. Dropped down off the saddle to Boulder Creek, trail was easy to follow up to the La Barge split. We rock hopped and bushwacked for a half mile further down Boulder Creek until we found the route impassable with overgrowth and deep, dark, murky water. The sound of a rattlesnake in the tall, thick grass sealed the deal and we returned to the La Barge split and followed that trail past the old mine and returned the rest of the way we came. This choice added many additional miles and AEG! We were beat! Cold drinks and some grub at the marina were the perfect finish to a long hard hot hike!

Plenty of cactus blooms.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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Boulder Canyon Labarge Creek Loop
Another ridiculously cool day in May, so another hike in the Supes. Yay!

With temps projected to top out in the low 70's, there was no reason to rush. Went for a 2+ mile walk around the neighborhood with Rhonda, had breakfast, then headed out to Canyon Lake. Started the hike a few minutes after 11am. Wow, that's really late, but temps were still in the 60's.

With the exception of the initial 3 miles on the Boulder Canyon trail, most of this hike is in creek beds, fun stuff if you like boulder hopping. First time hiking in La Barge Creek. I lost the trail just before La Barge Box and had to climb over some rather large boulders before landing back on the trail. Or maybe that was the trail. Route finding skills are needed along La Barge Creek during the return to Canyon Lake. The scenery through this area is awesome. I was very happy I took this route back.

A mostly cloudy morning gave way to beautiful afternoon sunshine. Saw (and heard) one person standing on the stern of Battleship, just above the alcove, as I was crossing the saddle. He was commenting to an unseen person how nice it was "...up here." I passed a group of backpackers at Boulder/2nd Water junction, resting before heading up the hill to Garden Valley. I was mildly surprised I didn't see more people out.

Good workout hike on what turned out to be a gorgeous day after the skies cleared. Very enjoyable hike.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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Another wonderful day in the Supes. Have never hiked from the Canyon Lake trailhead, so figured this loop involving the off-trail La Barge Canyon and Boulder Canyon trail would be perfect. This is very close to trip 35 of Carlson's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness- it is the longer alternate to Paint Mine direct through the canyon.

A warm day and beautiful magical moments in the creek- plenty of water and glimpses of incredible remote Superstition wilderness. There were times when the water appeared to be non-existent, but around the corner we would find large pools and small streams. Some very deep areas, but nothing was continuously connected top to bottom. Just when you think you have a path figured out to one side, it would become overgrown and blocked by water. So, very slow going through the canyon, but once we reached Boulder Canyon Trail things were much easier.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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:D Thanksgiving Day 2012 !! :D

On this unseasonably warm Turkey Day 2012, Trish and I picked this first time Western Superstition loop hike for some needed exercise to later justify consuming her planned evening dinner feast for four.

Our planned hike for this loop was per the hike description writeup with the exception of a planned return back to the Canyon Lake TH on TR#103.

We did not care at all for this lower off-trail hiking section of La Barge Creek nor this hikes lower off-trail hiking section of Boulder Canyon.. just too many large, never ending creek rocks to negotiate, too much overgrowth in some sections, and not enough scenic views. We did enjoy the views south heading north up the Boulder Canyon Trail but the very warm :sweat: afternoon uphill on this Trail #103 was a little too much for the two of us on this unseasonably warm Turkey Day 2012.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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Did Navig8tor's Lowest Labarge Loop with return on Boulder Canyon #103

As Fritski's title said, "Do it just to say you did it". This is my first time doing this hike in Lower Labarge. Headed out from Canyon Lake TH this Thanksgiving morning after telling my family we would be back by 3-3:30. Located the spur trail and headed down into the canyon. Let the bouldering begin! The canyon was rather pretty with some pools of water here and there....nothing much else to comment about here. At first it was fun but after the first mile I realized that bouldering is not high on my list of "fun things" to do. Some of the boulders were difficult to maneuver on/over due to my short legs and there was one particular section that was really tough for me to navigate. Thankfully Hank lent me a hand getting by this. :thanx: It was very slow moving for me through the boulders and I managed to torque my ankle numerous times, fell once and got pinned by a cholla. We finally got to the intersection of Boulder Canyon trail and I was already exhausted but elated that we were on a trail! I looked at hanks and said "WHO picked this hike?" Oh yeah, it was me. :--: Let me mention that it was unseasonably warm today with temps in the 80's. We took off up Boulder Canyon Trail and started hiking out. This was such an off day for me and I could barely hike a quarter mile and had to stop. I was sweating profusely, drinking tons of water but not feeling hydrated, had a racing heartbeat and felt weak and lightheaded. I knew I was experiencing signs of dehydration and the beginnings of heat exhaustion which kind of scared me. :--: We finally topped off and could see Canyon Lake knowing that it was all downhill and a short distance left. Hank was terrific as I was clearly having problems and told me "do what you need to do and go the speed you can go". We saw 4 people heading out in the AM and two people on the trail all day. We were over an hour late getting out. Probably bit off a bit more today than we should have.

Would I do this trail again? Probably not......bouldering is really not my forte. But I did it once!

As soon as we got to the parking lot I turned the AC on in the X and immediately started feeling better. We were a hour and a half later than expected so dinner was going to be late OH WELL! Drove back to AJ and enjoyed a sumptuous feast! Turkey, stuffing, mashies and all the good things that go with Thanksgiving.
La Barge Lowest Loop
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Did an out and back into the canyon with my friend. Would have done the 6 mile loop but someone kept mentioning that we had to make our way back out of the canyon and that she is older than me...out of shape...blah blah blah...not mentioning any names though! :)

Just in over a mile and a half and enjoyed it thoroughly! It is such a beautiful canyon! Used one of the GPS route downloads but don't know if it was really necessary. If you don't pass the spur trail that leads down into the canyon, then you have it made! Okay, I admit..I passed it and had to go back down to it! But I found it! I thought it was further up by where you hook it left on the main trail. My bad!

Not a soul in site....until we were about out of the canyon. Just the way I like it :)
La Barge Lowest Loop
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So I've always had my own version of Battleship by doing some variation of a figure 8 loop from the Boulder Canyon trail, hit Battleship, drop down and hit La Barge Box, and then back out via the trail or the canyon. Oddly enough today's loop came out to about 11+ mile also... :sweat:

The wet Supes is one of my fav wilderness smells and I definelty wan't going to miss out on that during another of our few winter storms (Thanksgiving, New Years, and now President's Day weekend) this season. :D I started from Boulder Canyon on that overcast morning with rain jacket in my pack and was braking it out a couple miles in when the first wave of rain hit. The rain broke and it was clear by the junction with second water trail, so I continued up Boulder Canyon and decided to make a run on Battleship. The rock was a little wet but not too bad and it also helps that exposure doesn't affect me much though the wind didn't help while balancing across those narrows saddles. I got to the summit of Battleship but wasn't able to stay long due to spotting another wall of rain over Canyon Lake and headed my way fast. :o I got about 2/3 back along the spine when it started to hail & heavy rain, so I sought shelter for a few minutes along a cliff face while I let the worse of it pass while putting on my rain jacket. Dropped off of the bow and headed for the saddle and then down the northside to the Box. La Barge wasn't flowing at all except at the Box, so I decided to forgo my usual running up the Calvary trail and dropping in up there and just dropped in right at the Box. ;) La Barge Box was as sweet as ever and definitely much calmer than when I visited it last winter during a huge flood... So I'm not the only one crazy enough to hike in the middle of a rainstorm with seeing two backpackers up on the Battleship and another two entering the Box while I was exiting. :) La Barge is much easier to travel when it's not flowing despite all the wet rocks, so I decided to follow the canyon downstream instead of taking the trail back since I hadn't done this variation last winter due to the crazy flow. The confluence of La Barge & Boulder Canyon is always a sweet one with big trees in the 'narrows', towering Rhyolite walls, and cool pools to bypass despite all the rain & wet rock hopping. :GB: Soon enough I reached the lake (too bad I didn't have my packraft ;)) and took the use trail back up to the main trail. Hmm, looks like the storm broke and it turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon with loads of puffy clouds. :DANCE:

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.
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