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Garden Valley - Hackberry Loop - 7 members in 12 triplogs have rated this an average 3.4 ( 1 to 5 best )
12 triplogs
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Dec 01 2020
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 28,429
 Triplogs 1,065

65 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Hackberry Garden Arch Search, AZ 
Hackberry Garden Arch Search, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 01 2020
tibber
Hiking6.96 Miles 914 AEG
Hiking6.96 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   1.93 mph
914 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
My former classmate, Deborah was in town again for a few days so she asked to go on another hike. Last year it was a small Spur Cross Loop, and a few years back we did the Fremont Saddle/Cave Trail combo. So this time I opted to do a hike from First Water. I am slowly trying to hike the 2020 fire areas. It's time to buck up and face the music out here in the Supes.

I met Deborah and her friend Clay, who helped her bring her RV down, at the Horse Lot around 9AM. The first time I hiked from the Horse Lot to Hackberry was with my brother Wayne 1-10-2009 [ photoset ] and we liked it so much we did it again on the 17th [ photoset ] ; both were adventurous. I really don't remember this part of the route very well after almost 12 years.

It's odd that I hadn't hiked that route from the Horse Lot since. The views are great though :) so was glad to try this way again. It's certainly well-signed. As we came up a hill I spotted another trail I had my eye on when checking out the satellite view; it would be an option for our return. We only saw one hiker until we got to Second Water Trail.

It's a little slick coming down that last hill to First Water Creek. I hadn't been up to the actual spring for quite some time so we went there. There was a pool of water where the spring was coming from and the pipe was barely dripping but it was dripping. We then headed down and along the creek as we made our way up Hackberry Trail. I hadn't gone this way in so long I was remembering it in the reverse (c-clockwise). I did see what looked like a tailing pile to the SE but I forgot to take a picture. I got the usual picture of Four Peaks and did some zooming to see if I could get a better view of the fire damage from here. There were a couple other landmarks that I don't remember what they are anymore.

As we got up to the first saddle before the final ascent, we got our first view of the fire damage in the valley to the south. I also spotted a two-pole gate in the far distance that I don't recall seeing. It's funny too, as we got to this flat section that I thot was a hill but it's only a slight incline until you turn south to get up the hill to the Valley. I remember someone saying the fire damage begins immediately at Garden Valley and they were right. It's like you stepped into a nightmare vs the beauty we had traversed until now.

It was slow-going here as we tried to absorb and understand what we were seeing. We made our way through Garden Valley or what's left of it. I did have to break out the cholla relief comb after I had just said, "jumping" is really a misnomer for the cactus. You just have to be careful around them, ha! And then when I got the one cholla piece off of Clay, it jumped over to Deborah's shoe :lol: . Also ended up using the comb to release a cholla from Duke the dog too.

I missed the first turn to get over to the arch area but I remember that Ambika and I had noticed a trail on the south end when we were out here in January. We took that back toward the rock area and it merged with the trail I had missed that headed west. Well the pathway was hard to follow even with me using RS. However, we just more or less contoured along the rocks but to no avail. I decided to call it and head back toward Second Water. I turned around and then I saw the Arch but it was just too far away to go back to especially since Duke the dog got cholla-ed a couple times :( walking thru this fired area; lots of loose cholla all over the ground.

Well we tried to pick the path of least resistance to get over to Second Water. After a bit we saw 3 hikers and thot we were near the trail but that turned out not to be the case. After a few false starts and retreats, I decided to fully trust the technology and once again, taking the clearer path, we finally reached Second Water and soon after that we saw the path that branches off north. I knew it was there but I didn't have it on RS and I think that's the one I took with Jack so many years ago but I couldn't find my trip report on that one.

Relieved, we continued on our way. As you take this valley between the mountains it's all nice and green so that was a nice change of scenery until we got down to the bottom of the drainage and could see the carnage. This time it was mostly to the SW side of the trail as the trail worked as a fire break but it didn't hold it all back. The fire did jump the trail through this section as you make your way up by what I call the Uplifted long rock bench. By this time we had also encountered three other couples, all remarking how sad they were about the devastation.

As you start heading west down toward the ranch it is just the worst. We couldn't help but stop and check out some of the scorched flora; especially the saguaros. By this time I was getting a little sick of seeing it, felt like I was at an enormous funeral :sk: , so I was glad we only had a half-mile or so to First Water TH. But then I knew the burn was pretty substantial going over to the Horse Lot and it was.

I saw two squirrels and a male cardinal. We finished off her visit with a late lunch at Mammoth Steak House and a walk around Goldfield Ghost Town.
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
1 archive
Nov 08 2020
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,071
 Triplogs 141

35 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 08 2020
jacobemerick
Hiking5.98 Miles 753 AEG
Hiking5.98 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   1.67 mph
753 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Been a minute since I took the kids out to First Water area, and with the nice weather we decided to go for a (longer than normal) loop to include some burnt-area viewing. Started at Horse Lot, took Dutchman to First Water TH (avoiding the road walk), then headed up to Garden Valley the normal way. Lots of burn along the way, only real green stretch was on the actual climb up Garden Valley. Anyways, dropped down to Hackberry the back way, had a candy break at the spring before circling back to Horse Lot. LOTS of people... maybe two dozen groups in all? Felt more like a Somo hike than Supes. All were friendly, some were masks, and a few were lost because they were using AllTrails. My kids might be a little excited about the election results and were proudly exclaiming the results to everyone, which only got awkward once :sweat:


water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hackberry Spring Dripping Dripping
Still overflowing (a bit), one decent puddle in the creek downstream.
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Oct 24 2020
Vashti
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 84
 Photos 426
 Triplogs 126

female
 Joined Mar 11 2002
 Gilbert, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 24 2020
Vashti
Hiking5.78 Miles 942 AEG
Hiking5.78 Miles   3 Hrs   8 Mns   2.39 mph
942 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
We were supposed to do the black Mesa loop, but the burn areas were so sad looking, that we opted to change course last minute and do the Hackberry Springs - Garden Valley loop instead, based on feedback from the Ranger who was posted in the parking lot for first water trailhead. He stated most of the superstitions were burned, but the Hackberry area was not, so our minds were made up! Hackberry was as beautiful as always, but no water anywhere. We did see a lone coyote walking on trail at garden Mesa before the the turn off to the Hackberry area. We also saw a family of quail. ❤️😊 After crossing garden Mesa and heading down to the Hackberry Springs area, we stepped over a tiny baby rattlesnake snake napping in the middle of the trail. I'm so glad i didn't step on him! He was so cute! He didn't even move, so the others went around him.

As compared to the official route for this hike, I prefer to follow the cairned crossing across the wash and head up the ridge to catch the horse trail up on the ridge that heads toward the horse lot. The posted route has you go in the wash, through the high canyon walls, and then bear right into that canyon, and up the ridge to catch the same trail. Using the cairn-marked crossing and going up the ridge before going through the high canyon walls is easier, but both routes get you to the same place.

The connector trail from the horse lot to first water trail head is sad and burned, as is the area from first water to second water ranch ruins. It gets a little better from there, with patchy burn areas. It's just hard to see the supes so burned out! :(. So glad that Hackberry remains intact! ❤️
_____________________
:D
Mar 21 2020
Vashti
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 84
 Photos 426
 Triplogs 126

female
 Joined Mar 11 2002
 Gilbert, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2020
Vashti
Hiking5.71 Miles 802 AEG
Hiking5.71 Miles   3 Hrs   21 Mns   2.17 mph
802 ft AEG      43 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Beautiful day for a hike! Lots were extremely full at the start of first water road, but there was still room in the horse lot to park.

Note the difference in routes between my route vs the posted route for this hike. The FS has a lot of new signs showing the way. From the Hackberry springs area to the horse lot (we did the loop counterclockwise), we crossed once and went up the ridge on the horse trail. Much easier than Boulder hopping in the wash and then catching the trail later.

Tons of water everywhere! Anyplace there could be water, there was. Lots of flowing water. And deep! Truly beautiful! :)

There were wildflowers, but not as much as I would expect given the amount of rain we've had.

Garden Mesa was a muddy mess. The ranger at the first water trailhead told us he had hiked the loop this morning, and to stay to the right or we would be in mud up to our thighs. It was good advice. The mud was only after the turn to go towards Hackberry springs from garden Mesa. It was a relatively short, but very wet area. One group turned around, but I don't think it was that bad.

On one of the new Hackberry springs trail signs, someone defaced it with sharpie saying that this is the way to the parking lot. 🙄🙄🙄🙄 Ridiculous. If they looked at the map, they would see that you could go either way. Of course the FS knows more than them.

Lots of people out, but everyone was spread out pretty well. It didn't feel overly crowded. Excellent hike! 😀
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hackberry Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Lots of water everywhere!
_____________________
:D
Jan 18 2020
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 589
 Photos 28,429
 Triplogs 1,065

65 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 18 2020
tibber
Hiking5.84 Miles 641 AEG
Hiking5.84 Miles   2 Hrs   54 Mns   2.07 mph
641 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
What to do, what to do. Then Ambika called as she just realized it was a 3 day weekend. I had two choices in mind and we went with this one as I was going to go to cousin Connie's later and then Ambika decided we should have lunch with Trish as well. So after meeting up at Q-T off of Idaho, we headed via the lumpy road to the Horse Lot at First Water. However, we would discover that there was plenty of parking at First Water even at 9:30 in the AM. I was quite surprised by that.

Anyway, we geared up and took the connector trail to the main TH. It was a bit nippy with the wind blowing but once we headed on down the trail, it seemed to subside so we took off our vests. This first part of the trail is so pretty. We encountered a few hikers here both coming and going. At First Water Creek there were still a few pools of water and it was running. At the second creek crossing there was also quite a bit of water before you head up the hill to Garden Valley. The trail previous to the creek was very hard. The backlighting made the grasses real pretty.

We encountered a few backpackers as we started heading north. One of them commented about it being chilly; Thus validating my decision not to backpack with ABC this weekend. As you approach the top of the hill to Garden Valley there are now stone steps including some cobblestone :o . Oh my, what is our western Superstition Wilderness coming to? I'm sure it helps mostly for the downside and erosion. They were nicely done.

We looked toward the arch further north as we headed east to the heart of the Valley. The scenery is very nice thru here and as you turn north again. We did come upon the muddy section that was still somewhat muddy but it was easy to go around. I've been up here when that wasn't the case. The horses make pot holes through this. As we reached the furthest side of the valley the scenery is more intense with the lichen covered rockery and it's more brushy and cactusey. Speaking of saguaros, fat and sassy they seem to be. We didn't see any hikers during our hike through the Valley. The view to the beautiful little Four Peaks at the top of the hill makes for some awesome pictures. :)

And then down the hill we went. There has been some trail adjustment since I was last here in Dec 2016, ironically with Ambika. We encountered a few hikers and their dogs here but no one else until we passed a campsite down at First Water. The view to the Mazzies and the Four Peaks are the eye catchers on this trek down to First Water. We could smell the campfire smoke as we approached and wondered how well the fires would be put out down here.

We found a couple places to get down to the creek which still had quite a few big pools and lots of running water; always fun to enjoy the look and sound. And that big boulder that stands up in the middle of the creek still impresses me. As we got closer to Hackberry Spring we encountered some horseback riders. The horses were none too keen on crossing this part of the rocky/watery creek and it was a tad slippery for them.

And from here on out, there were a lot more people. We continued up the creek toward the ranch still encountering a lot of water considering how long it had been since our last rain. A couple of those drainages between the slabs had to be pretty full and hard to traverse a couple weeks ago. We still had to skirt pretty high in one section. But it was pretty awesome nonetheless. We passed by the ranch, sorry to see that the windmill's top is no longer attached.

As we approached the Horselot a small gaggle of girls asked us what was best to do that would be a short hike. So we suggested they take the connector trail to the main TH and then start heading down the trail and just go so far for an hour or so and come back. (Hopefully they would remember which way was back). Makes you wonder how many other people just come out here with no idea and wing it. Hope they had fun.

First Water to north Garden Valley [ youtube video ]
Garden Valley to Hackberry Spring [ youtube video ]
Hackberry Spring area to ranch road [ youtube video ]
Fauna
Fauna
Phainopepla
Culture
Culture
Military Aircraft
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
1 archive
Jan 18 2020
desertgirl
avatar

 Guides 20
 Routes 5
 Photos 3,098
 Triplogs 440

female
 Joined Mar 31 2002
 Chandler, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 18 2020
desertgirl
Hiking5.84 Miles 641 AEG
Hiking5.84 Miles   2 Hrs   54 Mns   2.07 mph
641 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Quick jaunt through the Supes with Angela on a last minute hike for the long weekend. Lots of green, lots of water but no muck in the Garden Valley flats! The sounds of flowing water is always a delight in the desert!
_____________________
Nov 10 2019
Vashti
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 84
 Photos 426
 Triplogs 126

female
 Joined Mar 11 2002
 Gilbert, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2019
Vashti
Hiking5.77 Miles 829 AEG
Hiking5.77 Miles   2 Hrs   46 Mns   2.10 mph
829 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
For the first time ever I was unhappy with the way my downloaded route directed me to go. And this was not my first time in the area, but I've never gone exactly as this route directed. We started at first water, headed up to garden Mesa, and over to Hackberry springs. All good. Usually, from Hackberry springs, I head back over to go back to the junction with Dutchman and second water. This time, I opted to take a longer loop and end at the horse parking lot. After Hackberry springs area, we were in the wash when I checked routescout. The route had us go up a steep hillside. I thought hmm, I'd rather stay in the wash, but I've never been led astray on an official route, so we decided to go up. Once up on the side of a steepish hill, I thought I don't really like this, but let's go a little further, and hopefully we'll see the way back down, as the route then continues on back down into the wash. I figured there must be some obstacle in the wash that we were avoiding, though I did not see any. After going along a bit on the steep side, there did not appear to be a good way down, and we backtracked. Not all the way back to the steep ascent, but to an alternate route down. I was very disappointed by this little boondoggle, and by my trust in the route vs my own intuition saying I should stay in the wash which would have been best. No harm done other than losing 15 minutes or so, but my faith in the route was lost, and we opted to follow a different way back to the horse lot vs. What was in the official route making for a slightly shorter hike. Still a very nice hike, just a note to any future hikers using this route to stay in the wash instead of going up nasty inclines that lead to a trail-less steep and full of loose rock hillsides above where you need to be!
_____________________
:D
Apr 20 2019
Daytripper
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 Guides 7
 Routes 74
 Photos 2,044
 Triplogs 714

70 male
 Joined Dec 10 2016
 Gold Canyon
Garden Valley LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2019
Daytripper
Hiking9.98 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking9.98 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   2.30 mph
1,100 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Garden Valley Loop was the longest portion of today’s hike thus the guide selected. Decided to obtain some heat acclimatization rather than drive out of town on a holiday weekend. Initially planned to park at the Needle Vista lot to avoid First Water Road and trailhead and any holiday weekend crowd that could be there, the idea was to hike to to Hackberry Spring and possibly add on Garden Valley Loop. Had to improvise as the needle vista lot was full and overflowing onto Apache Trail :( a model car rally was going on. Backtracked to the “campground” a little west on Apache Trail and parked there. After slipping by the no rules campground guard dogs started down the trail heading east that follows along and or under the power lines. Upon reaching the first wash then headed to the right or south which was just before the paved walkway from the vista lot, goal was to stay on the least vegetated path rather than doing any bushwhacking today. Thanks to the horses for clearing the washes and the path I was following. Had the feeling I was too far west of Hackberry spring but continued on and sure enough ended up at the Horse lot on First Water road after all, definitely no crowd here today. Decided to do more acclimatizing, and continued on to Hackberry Spring and Garden Valley Loop . Glad I did as I was amazed at the amount of water remaining around the spring area ,the shaded area around the springs contained significant water pools, enough to serve as a kiddie pool, nice and clear looking. Sparsely populated trails today , a family leaving the horse lot for Hackberry Spring puzzling over the new signs,a couple of hammocks possibly occupied at a campsite near the spring and in Garden Valley a dog Duke and his companion. No crowd at the First Water trailhead after all ,too warm I suppose,only about 7 to 8 cars in the trailhead lot. Used a couple of liters of water from the camelback and used my thawing plastic water bottle for wetting my hat and neck scarf, a fairly strong breeze helped with evaporative cooling to make the day not unpleasant.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

dry First Water Creek at Second Water Trail #236 Dry Dry
Couple of stagnant pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hackberry Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
Feb 16 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
avatar

 Routes 79
 Photos 7,431
 Triplogs 2,832

59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 16 2019
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking6.35 Miles 1,031 AEG
Hiking6.35 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   2.14 mph
1,031 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Started off with Joe almost getting ran over in the First Water parking lot :o . Enjoyed this loop with a little extra side excursion that was cool too. Joe's colorful commentary was entertaining as well. Scouts were camped all around the spring. Water looked pretty good to filter. Liked the overcast skies. Nice first hike for the day. Thanks gents!
_____________________
Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
Feb 12 2019
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 128
 Routes 635
 Photos 7,630
 Triplogs 518

67 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Hackberry Spring from horse lot, AZ 
Hackberry Spring from horse lot, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 12 2019
markthurman53
Hiking4.25 Miles 510 AEG
Hiking4.25 Miles   2 Hrs   27 Mns   2.34 mph
510 ft AEG      38 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
rayhuston
Short day after hike. I call this the spectacle hike because the route looks like a pair of glasses after being driven over by a car. Met up with ray and did the Hackberry spring loop. Ray added a twist to this hike by adding some side canyons that I had never been on before. Was planning on hiking to the lake and back via First Water Canyon but with my knee being a little sore from yesterdays hike I'm glad I listened to ray when he suggested I tone today's hike down a bit. Glad I did turned out to be a very enjoyable hike with good conversation. Water in pools along First Water and there was a little flow in the narrows near Hackberry Spring.
_____________________
Jan 21 2019
rickcmarsh
avatar

 Routes 8
 Triplogs 11

38 male
 Joined Jan 07 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Garden Valley - Hackberry LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 21 2019
rickcmarsh
Hiking5.94 Miles 866 AEG
Hiking5.94 Miles   3 Hrs   39 Mns   1.98 mph
866 ft AEG      39 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Took the family on a hike. It was a great day weather wise. Most exciting was my 4 year old walked nearly 5 miles on her own. It wasn't too busy, a couple horse groups on the trail. Kids were excited to see Blue Scrub Jay bird and a few deer tracks.
_____________________
Dec 31 2018
PJackalope
avatar

 Routes 28
 Photos 68
 Triplogs 39

45 male
 Joined Jul 25 2007
 Peoria, Az
Garden Valley LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 31 2018
PJackalope
Hiking5.41 Miles 582 AEG
Hiking5.41 Miles   2 Hrs   8 Mns   2.54 mph
582 ft AEG5 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
A very nice, easy, jaunt through the Superstitions on the last day of 2018. Other than working up the river rocks up the canyon to Hackberry Spring, it was a quick easy going trail. Some really good campsite along the horse trail in Garden Valley before linking up with the second water trail. Very quiet out on the trail. My son and I only passed by 4 other persons out on the trail. Very pretty area. I really like the openness of Garden Valley. Enjoy!!

dry Cholla Tank Dry Dry
Nothing, not even a trickle

dry First Water Creek at Second Water Trail #236 Dry Dry
Nothing, not even a trickle

dry Hackberry Spring Dry Dry
Nothing, not even a trickle
_____________________
average hiking speed 2.14 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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