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Yellow Peak Hackberry Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-05-22
38 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Yellow Peak Hackberry Loop, AZ 
Yellow Peak Hackberry Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar May 22 2021
Hiking12.53 Miles 2,009 AEG
Hiking12.53 Miles   9 Hrs   42 Mns   2.04 mph
2,009 ft AEG   3 Hrs   34 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We'd planned to hike up north this weekend, but with the rare gift of a late-May day with highs in the low/mid-80s around Phoenix, we changed plans and headed for the Superstitions. First Water Trailhead was surprisingly empty when we arrived...maybe a lot of people have already given up on hiking in the Superstitions until the fall. While we were getting ready to start, someone flew overhead on a powered paraglider, which I didn't expect. Our first destination was Yellow Peak, and we took Second Water to Black Mesa Trail, pausing briefly to look at the pot sherds along the way. It was sad to see all the fire damage along the route, but the saguaro blooms were incredible--flowers everywhere, and just about every saguaro arm we passed looked like it was wearing a crown of yellow and white.

We exited Black Mesa Trail and started up the southwest side of Yellow Peak. I didn't do enough reading to know if that was the best route...I'm assuming we could have found something easier if we'd spent more time looking, but it wasn't a bad climb despite a lot of talus near the summit, and the brush wasn't too thick. I came up over the ridge right next to the large cairn marking the summit. Based on recent trip logs, I wasn't sure if there would be a register up there, but someone named D.W. Cameron had placed a new ammo box and register on April 26 and increased the size of the summit cairn.

He'd done a nice job--he left a note with the old summit register, which he'd found and recovered earlier in April in a plastic jar with a hole in the lid. The old register had a lot of water damage but was still readable--lot's of familiar HAZ names in there from the past nine years. We had the honor of being the first to sign the new register after D.W. The 360° views from the top of Yellow Peak were fantastic--Battleship, La Barge, Geronimo Head, Four Peaks, Malapais, Weaver's Needle, 5057, Black Mesa, and much's a great vantagepoint.

[ youtube video ]

We wanted to do some exploring on the north side of Yellow Peak, so we headed in that direction as we left the summit but ended up dropping down to the wash more on the northwest side of the peak to avoid crossing more talus. We spent some time exploring at the north side but didn't turn up anything particularly noteworthy, so we followed the wash back along the west side of Yellow Peak and reconnected with Black Mesa Trail, then hiked back to the Second Water intersection and continued on Hackberry Spring Trail.

We detoured off the trail to visit the arch and did a little more exploring in that area before circling back to the main trail. I hadn't hiked along Hackberry before and was pleasantly surprised--the area around the spring with the towering canyon walls and the greenery is beautiful. Hackberry Spring was barely dripping, and the pool at the base of the wall was full of algae, the pipe just seeping a hint of moisture.

We continued through the canyon and passed an old corral as we looped back onto the road to First Water Trailhead. There were still very few vehicles in the lot for such a nice day. We felt very lucky to have weather like this in late May, and it was an especially nice time to be out there with the blooming flowers. It could be a while before we have another day like this in the Superstitions...
Natural Arch

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hackberry Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Lots of algae in the pool; just barely a trickle coming out of the pipe

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