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Friday, March 27, 2009

BLUFF SPRING LOOP

BLUFF SPRING LOOP Superstition Wilderness This scenic loop hike begins on the Dutchman’s Trail, which swings around the spires of Miners Needle and ascends 840 feet to the junction with the Whiskey Spring Trail. From there, continue on the Dutchman’s Trail down into a series of washes and gullies in the shadow of Bluff Spring Mountain where the desert flora changes from subdued to a palette of vibrant greens. Yucca, agaves, and cholla, frame views of the distant twin summits of Weavers Needle. Strategically placed rock cairns help in navigating drainage areas where water from seasonal rains and perennial springs lingers even in the driest months. Pick up the Bluff Spring Trail and follow its undulating course along the ridge overlooking Bark’s Canyon. Hundreds of feet below the trail, the rugged canyon is softened by lush vegetation cascading like spilled paint from the cliffs into a wash. Contorted shadows of hoodoos and eroded remnants of 35-million-year-old volcanic events play on the canyon walls. At the Terrapin Trail junction, stay on the Bluff Spring Trail, which crosses the canyon and descends back to the trailhead. LENGTH: 9 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 1500 feet (accumulated) RATING: Moderate GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take US 60 east to about 8 miles past Apache Junction and look for the brown “Peralta Trailhead” sign on the side of the road. Turn left here onto Peralta Road (Forest Road 77) and drive 8 miles to the trailhead.

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