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Peralta Terrapin Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-02-26
15 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Peralta Terrapin Loop, AZ 
Peralta Terrapin Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2018
Hiking14.30 Miles 3,398 AEG
Hiking14.30 Miles   7 Hrs   38 Mns   2.31 mph
3,398 ft AEG   1 Hour   27 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
I finally made it back to the Superstitions after delaying this trip multiple times due to stuff coming up at home. My plan was to hike the Peralta to the Dutchman and then return on the Terrapin and upper Bluff Spring Trail to Barks Canyon lower trail with a side trip on the weavers Needle Crosscut Trail. Due to my late start (0830) I took the Bluff Spring Trail back to the trail head instead of doing the lower Barks Canyon Route. The past two months I have been viewing Weavers Needle from the north and mentioned how the sun at this time of year was not in an ideal position to photograph the Needle (although I have seen other peoples photos from this angle that proved me wrong). On this hike I was able to view it from the south and the west, north and east, made a complete trip around it.
The Peralta Trail makes a rather pleasant climb up to Freemont Saddle where Weavers Needle first comes into view and boy is it quite a spectacular entrance. Wish I had started this hike earlier to catch this at sunrise. The next approximately 4 miles is mostly downhill on a very well maintained trail to the Dutchman Trail just west of Black Top Mesa. The Peralta trail makes it very difficult to follow my rule of no site seeing while walking. There are so many bazaar rock formations that stopping to observe or photograph made for a slow rate so many times I was observing while walking knowing this was a bad idea. Luckily the Peralta at least on the downward slope to the Dutchman is well maintained and fairly smooth. Any way I probably used up all my good fortune on this trail and will have to go back to my general rule in the future. I ran into a couple of groups doing this hike from the other direction and after completing the loop I think it is probably the best way to go, although you will miss the grand entrance of Weavers Needle as you come up on Freemont Saddle. I also ran into an individual from the Tucson area that was hiking in the opposite direction along the Peralta trail, Turns out he was also on the Window Rock trail last Friday which is when I was on it, except he was on the Ventana Trail and I was on the Esperero Trail.
The Dutchman Trail to the Terrapin Trail was uneventful but this is where I passed the group going the other direction. Took my lunch break just a few hundred yards in on the Terrapin Trail. I was not expecting the Terrapin Trail to be as steep as it was, glad I took my break and ate something before the climb . Unlike the Esperero Trail I was on last Friday this steep climb only lasts about 20 minutes before becoming more civil. Good close up views of Weavers Needle from the East. Half way up the Terrapin Trail I took the Weavers Needle Crosscut Trail. Took this trail in to just where it starts to drop back down to the Peralta Trail and returned back to the Terrapin. This short little side trip is well worth it for the close up views of the Needle from the north. The small little valley this trail crosses over (I believe it is one of the the upper reaches of Needle Canyon) is also quite interesting and has lots of rock formations that make for interesting pictures. Once back on the Terrapin it is just a short jaunt to the Bluff Springs Trail.
The Bluff Springs Trail is mostly downhill with a few spots where it goes up a little to cross over ridges between canyons. Once aghain amazing rock formations all along this trail on the north side. At Barks Canyon I opted to head down the Bluff Springs Trail back to the Peralta instead of heading down the canyon. Was probably a wise decision since it was getting late in the day. Really nice hike if views of Weavers Needle from all directions is what you are looking for. I would recommend going CCW (That's Bluff Springs Trail first for the younger digital generation) on this hike though. Still no water in the canyons other than a few standing pools.
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