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Garden Valley Hackberry Spring, AZ
mini location map2018-01-11
13 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Garden Valley Hackberry Spring, AZ 
Garden Valley Hackberry Spring, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2018
Hiking11.80 Miles 1,586 AEG
Hiking11.80 Miles   6 Hrs   4 Mns   2.65 mph
1,586 ft AEG   1 Hour   37 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Decided to spend a couple of days in Phoenix hiking in the Superstitions. I opted for the shorter of the two days on the first day. Wanted to do the trails around Hackberry Spring from the First Water Trail Head. I threw Cholla Tank in also because it is a trail and doesn't fit into any other planned hikes. Started at 0730 with a mild 47 degree temperature, perfect hiking weather expecting a high near 70. From the second water Trail took the trail down First Water Canyon that leads to the windmill and eventually to Hackberry spring. The trail isn't hard to follow but you have to watch for cairns if you want to stay on the trail. In places the trail is faint or there are multiple trails, Could just follow the wash down but it is a little easier if you kind of stick to the trail. Once near the windmill pick any trail that leads in that direction if going to the windmill. The trail that continues down First Water is on the West side of the wash just east of the windmill but if you miss it don't worry because very shortly it just follows along in the wash. This part of the hike is pretty interesting because the canyon gets very narrow and the issue isn't finding a trail, it's picking the best route among the boulders and rocks. I had to remind myself after a few minor trips that if I'm going to site see I have to stop walking (you would think after all the hiking I do that this little lesson wouldn't need to be learned still). Hackberry spring was running at a trickle and the water was clear. From the Spring I took the Trail north down First Water and took the first Canyon to the east that leads to the Garden Valley Trail. This is a well defined trail that appears to get a lot of use. Once on the Garden Valley Trail I headed east to the Second Water Trail and down to Cholla Tank. Passed Dirt tank along the Second Water Trail and it is holding up to its name, just dirt not even mud. The Second Water Trail was easy walking and the mud that was along this trail a couple of days earlier is all but dry but didn't stick to the boots adding unwanted weight. Cholla Tank trail is faint but easy to follow if you keep a watch for the trail, cairns every so often. Once at Cholla Tank I had to ask why this is a destination, the tank is dry and looked just like any other dry tank. There weren't any Cholla either, (false advertisement), not that I'm complaining. The only good cholla is an absent Cholla. Ate my subway sandwich at the tank and headed back the way I came. I took the Garden Valley trail back with one slight change, I noticed a spur trail just west of Dirt Tank that cut over to the Garden valley Trail and I took that. This is a well defined route and looks like it gets a lot of use by horses. The Garden Valley Trail is a well maintained and easy to follow trail. I took this all the way to the First Water Canyon and then back tracked about .2 miles to a wash that crosses the Garden Valley trail. There is a trail that follows this wash down to the First water Canyon Trail (about .2 miles). From here I followed First Water Canyon again through the narrows and took the horse trail that starts just after the narrows and before the spring that will take me to the First Water Horse Trailer Trail Head. From here I took the Dutchman trail back to the First Water Trail Head.
This was a great little hike that allows for a little exploring and still make it back with plenty of daylight left.
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