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Second Water Canyon - 3 members in 7 triplogs have rated this an average 3.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
7 triplogs
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Mar 17 2018
rayhuston
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 84
 Photos 3,931
 Triplogs 678

63 male
 Joined Mar 09 2012
 Gilbert, AZ
Second Water CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 17 2018
rayhuston
Hiking9.56 Miles 1,537 AEG
Hiking9.56 Miles   4 Hrs   34 Mns   2.21 mph
1,537 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
A trip log by johnmc22 a few weeks back got me interested in heading out to Second Water Canyon for a look around. Like all of the other canyons nearby, a little more water would have been better, but it was nice as it was.

A very late start for me (10:30am) put me in the Horse Lot as the First Water lot was full. I decided to take in Hackberry Spring and Garden Valley along the way. Knowing how much my friend AZLumberjack likes the areas along this route, I decided to take a few extra pictures for him to peruse while he's working that brand new knee into shape.

While the lots were near capacity, I didn't see too many hikers on the route I took. I took a back door into Hackberry Spring because I thought the normal route would be busy. Most of the hikers I crossed paths with were coming down the hill from Garden Valley on the way to Hackberry Spring. There was a large boy scout contingent set up at the windmill/corral down the hill from the horse lot. The boys didn't hike far and had way too much energy (IMO) as I passed through the corral area.

The weather on this fine day was absolutely spectacular. I would have stayed out all day, but I had to be home in time for the St. Paddy's day festivities. That was pretty good, too.
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Feb 10 2018
johnmc22
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 3
 Photos 115
 Triplogs 5

60 male
 Joined Sep 02 2003
 Phoenix, AZ
Canyon Lake to Second Water Canyon Backpack, AZ 
Canyon Lake to Second Water Canyon Backpack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 10 2018
johnmc22
Backpack7.30 Miles 1,500 AEG
Backpack7.30 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
A few of us did an overnight backpack trip in the Supes in early February 2018. Our route took us from the Canyon Lake Trailhead, south on Boulder Canyon Trail to Second Water Trail (about 4 miles). We then headed west of Second Water Trail, camping near the spot where the pools of water cross the Second Water Trail.

Since the Arizona winter had been quite dry up until this point, we weren't certain of water sources. A brief Water Report review on Hike AZ just before the hike noted that Second Water Canyon had just a trickle of algae-laden slime, so we decided to carry all water needed. That made for an arduous task on day 1, coming up the incline from Canyon Lake and back down again into La Barge Canyon. We settled into camp along Second Water Canyon. In actual fact, the water source there could have been used to pump (although it was admittedly pretty gross), but we found a better source by scrambling (without packs) up Second Water Canyon to the true Second Water Spring. The water at the headwaters of Second Water Spring was actually pretty clear. See my photos for pics.

Overall, a nice overnighter in the Supes. Hiking out was a joy with only a few liters of water to carry.
Named place
Named place
Second Water Spring Tugboat

dry Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Dry Dry
Not a drop in Boulder Creek.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Second Water Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
There are several pools where Second Water Trail crosses Second Water Canyon (1/4 mile west of Boulder Canyon Trail junction). There is about a 100 yard stretch of pools starting at the Second Water Trail crossing and heading down stream from there. Some are pretty sketchy with thick layers of algae on top. Some are fairly deep. None of them looked particularly pristine, but we were surprised with the amount of water there, even after this long period with no rain.

This report is for the unnamed spring located where Second Water Canyon crosses the Second Water Trail. There is a cleaner water source up Second Water Canyon if you are willing to hike off-trail 1/3 mile to Second Water Spring (see Second Water Spring Water Report).

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Second Water Spring Dripping Dripping
Plenty of water to filter from. Not much flow, so I'd have to rate it as "dripping" but there is about 100 yard stretch that has many pools of water, some fairly deep. Some are yellowish and covered in algae, but others are clear and OK for filtering. We hiked all the way up the canyon to the spot of the actual spring. Water was very clear at that spot with a small pool about 4 inches deep (33° 29.6482' N, 111° 24.6130' W)

Note that this Water Report is for the actual Second Water Spring up canyon about 1/3 mile from Second Water Trail. It takes some off trail work to get there. There is a second unnamed spring where Second Water Trail crosses Second Water Canyon. See the "Second Water Canyon" Water Report for an update on that one.
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1 archive
Apr 30 2016
Frostshocknoob
avatar

 Routes 141
 Triplogs 127

31 male
 Joined Sep 05 2014
 Phoenix, AZ
Second Water Boulder Lost Dutchman Trails, AZ 
Second Water Boulder Lost Dutchman Trails, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 30 2016
Frostshocknoob
Hiking12.49 Miles 1,441 AEG
Hiking12.49 Miles   7 Hrs   17 Mns   2.13 mph
1,441 ft AEG   1 Hour   25 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
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Jan 22 2014
AZLumberjack
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 17
 Photos 4,028
 Triplogs 481

80 male
 Joined Feb 17 2010
 Apache Junction,
Second Water CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2014
AZLumberjack
Hiking9.75 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking9.75 Miles   6 Hrs   11 Mns   1.88 mph
500 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
When working at the First Water TH as a Volunteer with the Forest Service, I'm often asked a lot of questions about trails that aren't on our "Master Map" that's posted at the Trailhead. One such question refers to connecting Black Mesa Trail with Second Water Trail by following Second Water Creek down to where it connects with Second Water Trail just above Boulder Creek.

So I researched the Carlson/Stewart Hikers Guide and found that there is a trail that has a write-up in their book, HAZ also has a trail description listed, although it hasn't had much activity and it's listed as Canyoneering. Neither description was very flattering, but I needed to get out and since this was going to be such a nice seasonal day.....well, uh lets go for it.

Arriving at the First Water TH before 0700, I was shocked to be the only vehicle in the parking lot. I got my gear on, signed the log and hit the trails as the daylight was just showing enough to not need a flashlight. It was a beautiful morning, not a breeze was blowing, the birds were singing and there was a nice blanket of clouds that could provide for a spectacular sunrise, if it all stayed together.

I was on the uphill stretch of Second Water Trail heading for Garden Valley when I caught the first glimpse of color being reflected off the bottoms of the clouds and figured that I better shoot em now as I had hopes that I would be farther along at this point (darn-it days are getting longer now). Arriving at the signpost in Garden Valley I hung a right on Black Mesa Trail and the sunrise was only getting better. Walking into the rising sun usually bugs the snot out of me, but this was nothing to complain about as It kept the camera busy :D

Finally, according to the descriptions, it was about time to exit Black Mesa Trail, hang a left through the Cholla Forest and start bushwhacking up a short gradual rise heading North. From the top of the ridge, I'm looking past Geronomo's Head at Four Peaks while spread before me is a featureless gradual descent into what must be the headwaters of Second Water Creek....Not much of a canyon yet... :?

This part of the hike is a pain in the :pk: as you're working through irregularly shaped Basaltic rock, patches of Prickly Pear, Chained & Staghorn Cholla and Catclaw reaching out to snag ya. The dry flowage was thick with brush so I stayed high to avoid getting cut-up but that resulted in a lot of zig-zagging as I worked my way down the slope.

Finally I arrived at the creek where I thought I could safely continue on but almost immediately, I heard the unmistakable snort of a Javelina coming from the thick brush ahead of me. This guy was obviously not pleased that I was invading its territory as it kept snorting and busting the brush close by (close enough that I could smell it) :scared: I threw a few rocks in the direction of the noise but that wasn't working so I retraced my tracks and beat feet about a hundred feet farther down the wash. Once past the Pig, I noticed some steel pipe in the wash so there had to be a spring above and a tank below. I wasn't going to go back up, so I continued on down until shortly, I came upon a concrete tank that was in bad shape.

A little farther down the wash I arrived at a large camping area with multiple fire pits placed among the low growing Mesquite trees. I noticed the initials painted on the rocks mentioned by Wallyfrack during his visit and the old rusted bed frame under a tree :) There's supposed to be a mine shaft a short distance up the hill, but the brush was too thick to go exploring for it so instead I sat down and had a much needed break.

From here on down the creek, there was pools of water from the active springs in the area and the canyon narrowed enough to force me to seek footings along the fairly steep sides (OK, now it's canyoneering) :? I continued following the creek so intently that I missed the Second Water Trail exit point and almost got to Boulder Creek before realizing I should be going the other way :doh: I still don't care much for this portion of the Second Water Trail heading up to Garden Valley but there aren't too many options.

Once at the old earthen stock watering tank, I cut straight across the back side of Garden Valley through the Cholla Forest, connecting with the trail leading down along Hackberry Mesa. Then across the First Water valley to the old tin covered corral, up the old road to First Water Road and back to the Trailhead where I had my traditional salted-in-the-shell peanuts and a cool brew while sitting on the tailgate of my truck (just my tribute to Doug).

So now if someone ask's me about connecting Black Mesa Trail with Second Water Trail above Boulder Creek, I can give them info from first-hand knowledge and let it go from there :)

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Second Water Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of water in algae covered pools.
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On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
Oct 28 2012
wallyfrack
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 Routes 91
 Photos 4,792
 Triplogs 1,338

60 male
 Joined Mar 11 2003
 AZ
Second Water CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Oct 28 2012
wallyfrack
Canyoneering10.90 Miles 1,722 AEG
Canyoneering10.90 Miles   4 Hrs   12 Mns   2.60 mph
1,722 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I ran out for a quick early morning hike. I hike down Second Water trail and dropped into Second Water Canyon. I explored some and hiked up the canyon yo Black Mesa. I looped back on Black Mesa and the Dutchman trail. The trails are good I only saw a few hikers on trail.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
Named place
Named place
Second Water Spring
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2 archives
Dec 12 2009
ChrisHikesAZ
avatar

 Triplogs 72

57 male
 Joined May 07 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Second Water CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Dec 12 2009
ChrisHikesAZ
Canyoneering6.00 Miles 500 AEG
Canyoneering6.00 Miles
500 ft AEG
Canyon Hiking - Non-technical; no rope; easy scrambling; occasional hand use
A - Dry or little water; shallow or avoidable water; no wet/dry suit
I - Short 1-2 hours
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
First Water Second Water and Danal Canyon
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Mar 22 2008
JoelHazelton
avatar

 Guides 16
 Routes 10
 Photos 967
 Triplogs 406

34 male
 Joined Mar 22 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Second Water CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2008
JoelHazelton
Hiking8.50 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.55 mph
500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I was surprised not to see anything on HAZ about second water canyon upon returning from this trip.

As has been typical for me lately, I headed out to first water trailhead late morning today (would have preferred a trip from Peralta trailhead but I don't want to fight that blasted renaissance traffic) without much of an itinerary. I know, probably not a great idea, but at least I had somebody with me this time. So, Ken and I headed out down second water trail. All I knew at this point was I wanted to check out Second Water spring. We got there an hour or so later and I was impressed. The lower section of Second Water Canyon, at least from the spring to the second water trail, is very beautiful with the water running right now. There are several little cascades and a couple pools deep enough for a dip, although all the mosquito larvae in the pools and clouds of flys and other winged insects around the water may deter you. All disgust aside, the springs were rather pleasant for a lunch spot. After we rested for a bit and ate, I decided I was not done yet. I busted out the topo and started looking at return route alternatives that wouldn't be THAT long (considering we got a late start and it was hot). Since we were already in second water canyon, I thought it may be a decent idea to head up to black mesa via the creekbed. I tried to think back to what I had read about second water canyon in Hikers Guide to the Supes, and phrases such as "boulder choked" and "brutal bushwhack" kept coming to mind, but since they wrote those exact words about several Superstition canyons, I figured anything my memory could conjure up would likely be completely inaccurate. So we did it. There were a couple messy spots in the lower sections, since Ken and I were both wearing shorts, but nothing that bad. In the middle section of the canyon, where the most elevation gain occurs, we had a blast. It's all boulders and it was fun to hop up from boulder to boulder, as we gained elevation very quickly. BUT, as the canyon started to level out towards the top of the mesa, it started to SUCK. Not for shorts. Eventually, creekbed travel becomes completely impossible. Every once in a while there are game trails on creek right, but they last only a couple yards before running into a bunch of catclaw. So really, you're just paralleling the creek, dodging catclaw and whatever other prickly crap is out there. In shorts. Throw in the fact that jumping cholla becomes abundant closer to the top of the mesa and I was really regretting it. Anyway, we eventually turned right to go around the peak where second water canyon originates (I forgot the elevation of it), topped out on the ridge, and then went down through the dense forest of cholla to reach the black mesa trail. I was HAPPY to hit the trail! From second water spring to the Black Mesa trail was 1.99 miles and two hours. Much of the lower section of the canyon we were clipping along at about 2 miles an hour (my normal hiking speed is closer to three and a half, but not boulder hopping a creekbed), so one can imagine how slow travel was in the upper reaches of the canyon. We then scampered down the black mesa trail, connected with second water and back to the trailhead. A "lasso loop."

So... If you want to hike second water canyon... Wear pants. And probably do the loop the opposite direction we did. It's probably easier going down then up (naturally).

Unless I somehow missed a description for this canyon in this site (I swear I looked), I'll probably write it up at some point in the near future.
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"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com
average hiking speed 2.07 mph

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.

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