Tuesday, September 16, 2008
LABARGE NARROWS: Superstition Wilderness Not for the novice hiker, this combination hike-cross-county exploration leads to a breathtaking, secluded box canyon with a tiny, riparian eco-system. The adventure follows Boulder Canyon Trail #103 along a desert ridge above Canyon Lake Marina to the 2.9-mile point where the main trail turns right. From there, leave the trail and bush whack down into the creek canyon. Here, the hike becomes a cross-country boulder scramble. The destination appears as a prominent pyramid-shaped outcropping upstream—use that as your guide. As the route traverses the rugged sycamore-and-bear-grass-lined washes, the going gets progressively tougher until, at the entrance to the “narrows”, the canyon is choked with massive quartz-encrusted monoliths. However, hikers in good shape will have no trouble picking through the rocks to reach the goal. Within the towering walls of the narrows, golden Velvet ash trees dot the shores of tiny pools like windswept beacons of light. Darting flocks of canyon wrens, chattering cardinals and roosting hawks find food and shelter among the cattails, reeds and willows that feast on the precious waters of LaBarge Creek. LENGTH: 9.4 miles out-and-back RATING: moderate-difficult ELEVATION: 1,600 – 2,400 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east to Apache Junction to the Highway 88 (Idaho Road) exit. Turn left at the off ramp light and continue on Hwy-88 for approximately 15 miles to the Canyon Lake Marina between mileposts 210 and 211. Park in the designated trailhead spaces in the east section lot, near the highway. A Tonto Pass is NOT required. The trail begins at the sign for Boulder Canyon Trail #103 across the road.