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Boulder Canyon Backpacking - Superstition Mtns, AZ
mini location map2020-03-07
7 by photographer avatarkyleGChiker
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Boulder Canyon Backpacking - Superstition Mtns, AZ 
Boulder Canyon Backpacking - Superstition Mtns, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 07 2020
Backpack30.11 Miles 5,625 AEG
Backpack30.11 Miles   23 Hrs   56 Mns   1.71 mph
5,625 ft AEG   6 Hrs   21 Mns Break40 LBS Pack
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hey everyone!
Hope you guys are enjoying your spring season. I sure am. My schedule being dictated by school, I went out backpacking in the Superstitions March 7-9. Unfortunately, Dad was sick and my sister was "too busy" so it was just Mom and I. We had an epic trip. Just now got the triplog written. Have fun reading!

Day 1: We got a late start because I had to finish some homework before we left, so we arrived at the TH around noon. It was our first time, so we saw the sign about the Tonto Day Pass, and figured we should get three of them for our three-day backpacking trip. Later, we found out we could just park at the marina for free at Canyon Lake. Woo-hoo! Free parking is always appreciated. :y: Got on the trail just before 1:00 PM. The hike started out with a gradual climb up the ridgeline on the left side of Boulder Canyon. It's my understanding there is also a trail down in the canyon, but we opted not to do that one--we weren't up for swimming! It seriously looked like a river down in Boulder Canyon. Met one group of horseback riders just before the descent into Boulder Canyon. The abundant creeks were beautiful, and something I had never seen in the Superstitions (I had previously only visited the Supes in May). We quickly made it to Second Water canyon, which also had an abundance of water. Didn't have time to go up to the spring. As the evening progressed, we kept making our way up Boulder canyon, keeping an eye out for potential campsites along the way. One beach-style campsite caught our attention, being right next to the water and camping on sand. But they say you're supposed to camp 300+ feet from water, so we kept trekking. Plus, we wanted to get as far up the canyon as possible for our planned hike up Battleship Mountain later in the trip.

Day 2: Left camp in Boulder Canyon and did a lengthy day hike. The route was as follows:
Boulder Canyon Trail :next: Bull Pass Trail :next: Charlebois Spring :next: Cavalry Trail :next: Back to camp
We were camped about 0.25 miles south of the Cavalry Trail junction in a beautiful site on the west side of the creek. Total distance for the day was just short of 15 miles, if I recall (although it seems the RouteScout app overestimates distance by just a hair). We had been to Charlebois spring last May when we did a trip from Peralta to Charlebois, so now we've done the whole region from north to south. :app: The entire day hike was beautiful...I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite spot. However, the descent from Bull Pass and the 2-3 miles that followed, as well as the Cavalry Trail (through La Barge Canyon) stood out as places I took the most photos. :)

Day 3: Started the morning early with a trip up Battleship mountain. Mom got scared at the first little cliff, so I had to go on alone from there. She's quite afraid of heights (acrophobia :scared: ) so it was just as well she didn't go. The views were superb from the top, and after signing the registry, I enjoyed taking photos and taking in the scenery. I was surprised to see the McDowell mountains off in the distance. Next time I hike there, I'll have to take my binoculars and look for Battleship Mountain! :D The hike out was easier than the way in, because my backpack had decreased in weight substantially. Mom doesn't carry much weight except her personal sleeping bag and mattress, pillow, and clothes, so I typically haul the gear and the food for the trip. By the end, having eaten the food, my backpack was down to 36 lbs--still some heft, but very manageable.

Here were a few spots I noted water, in addition to all the main creeks which were flowing:

Day 1, 2.21 miles - 2:15 pm
Pool of water - 30 gallons

Day 2, 4.18 miles - 12:15 pm
Small pools of water throughout the canyon.

In conclusion, we had an amazing time out in the Superstitions! I'll pull together a photoset soon, although I took so many photos, I'm not sure this website could handle them all. I'll have to pick just the best to share here. Maybe I could link to my Flickr page for the rest of the photos...would that be allowed?

I took a couple 100+ MP panorama shots. Can't wait to get those printed and framed on my walls in their full glory!

[Updated to include trail linking at the top]
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
A few species of flowers in isolated places. Most notable in my opinion were the paintbrush along the descent from Bull Pass.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Boulder Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow
Boulder Canyon was like a river!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Boulder Creek - Superstition WA Heavy flow Heavy flow
Camped just south of here. All of Boulder Canyon is flowing like a river.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Heavy flow Heavy flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Creek was at least 10 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Charlebois Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
All of Marsh Valley had a creek 15+ feet wide and 4 inches deep. Charlebois Canyon also had water flowing through it from the spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Charlebois Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
More water than I've ever seen at the spring. There's a large pool at the base of the trees, which was completely full. In addition to that pool, there was a creek flowing above and below that pool.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max East Boulder Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
A little bit less than downstream, but still flowin' good up here!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max La Barge Creek - E of Battleship Mtn Medium flow Medium flow
From the top of Battleship Mountain, I could see a creek down there, maybe 6-8 feet wide.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Little Boulder Canyon Light flow Light flow
I don't remember the water flow for this exact point. But there was water everywhere in the area--difficult to walk 10 minutes without seeing some pools or creeks, not even counting the main Boulder creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Needle Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Medium flow coming from Needle Canyon--not quite enough to kayak, but you get the idea.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Needle Canyon Crossing @ Bull Pass Trail Light flow Light flow
Not really sure what qualifies as "light flow" vs. "medium flow" but there was a good creek flowing here. Maybe 5-6 feet wide and 2 inches deep.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Squaw Canyon Light flow Light flow
I didn't particularly observe Squaw canyon, but the whole La Barge Canyon had a good-sized creek flowing through it along the Cavalry trail. One spot the water was so deep, it was a challenge to find a spot to hop across the rocks without walking through the water!
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