I'd been wanting to go back to Reavis Falls for some time but a lack of opportunities, combined with a dearth of water in the Superstitions, always seemed to put the kibosh on my plans. This time everything fell into place.
Most people would not believe you if you told them there is a 196-foot-tall waterfall (taller than Niagara) in the heart of the Superstition Mountains. The joke's on them, but here's the catch: the water volume of Reavis Creek, which supplies the falls, varies greatly depending on recent local rain or snow fall. Sometimes it's just a trickle. This time it was spectacular.
To get there, take FS trail #109, the Reavis Ranch Trail, about 3.5 miles to the trail to the falls. The 'peel-off' to the falls is sometimes marked with a cairn and sometimes not. This time it was not but I knew where to look for it. The un-numbered and unmaintained trail takes off to the east up to a saddle. The trail at this point, although substantially steeper than the freeway-like Reavis Trail, is fairly easily seen and followed. Once at the saddle, you can see the drainage of Reavis Creek as well as some of the more famous Superstition landmarks such as Castle Dome and Mound Mountain. Both Castle and Mound had a light dusting of snow on this trip.
The trail starts down, then goes down again and continues down some more. You can't help but think about the trip up later. About 1/2 mile down the trail, you pass a Sinagua ruin. There are plenty of potsherds but remember to leave 'em where you found 'em.
Continue down and you will reach Lime Mountain Spring which runs right across the trail. Continue farther (down again) and you reach Reavis Creek. There are some cherry camping spots right along the creek but be aware that local wildlife needs access to the creek too. I saw plenty of deer tracks and sign at creek side.
The plan now is to follow Reavis Creek up about a half-mile, to the falls. The trail starts and stops and any way you find over boulders and under fallen trees and is semi-dry, is fair. I've done this hike seven times now and I don't think I've used the same way twice.
Eventually, during one of your mandatory rest stops, you'll hear the muffled roar of the falls ahead and know that this isn't some cruel trick. There really is a waterfall down there. The falls are spectacular. They plummet over an escarpment and drop, pretty much unbroken, into a pool at your feet. There are ferns and mosses on the rock surrounding the pool and if it had been warmer, I might have gone for a swim. Spend as much time as you like at the falls but don't forget about the long hike up, It will take longer. Retrace your path back down the creek, up the trail to the saddle, which can be a little loose with scree in spots, then back down on the #109 to the trailhead. Leave your worries and sore feet behind but keep the memories.
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.
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry
To Reavis Trailhead From Phoenix take US 60 east. Exit at Apache Junction (Idaho Rd, exit 196) and drive northeast on State Highway 88. Follow 88 past Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flats to the end of the pavement. Continue on the dirt road until you see the sign for Reavis Ranch Trail between mile marker 227 and 228. Turn right and follow this dirt road to its end (2.8 mile). The trailhead is at the north end of the parking lot. The smooth, well-graded dirt roads are easily passable in a passenger car during dry weather. Because of numerous hair pin curves, plan on the 28 miles from US 60 to the trailhead taking an hour.
From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 67.0 mi, 1 hour 49 mins From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 129 mi, 3 hours 15 mins From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 211 mi, 4 hours 8 mins