Tuesday, September 29, 2009
LOWER FIRST WATER CREEK Superstition Wilderness Marked only by a dirt turnout along Highway 88 near Canyon Lake, the Canyon Overlook “trailhead” is the gateway to a short but spectacular hike into First Water Canyon. A moderately steep decent along informal trails leads to the canyon floor. From there, the route involves picking your way through a sandy wash flanked by walls of volcanic rock laced with taffy-like bands of red jasper. The wash culminates at a finger cove of Canyon Lake where an unexpected stand of cottonwood trees and a dry waterfall are the feature attractions. FINDING THE TRAIL: This trail can be a challenge to follow for inexperienced hikers. To find the start point from the parking area, walk over to the telephone pole nearest the road. With your back to the road and the pole immediately in front of you, head right and pick up the beaten path that heads downhill into the ravine. The route follows a maze of paths-of-use marked by occasional cairns and worn segments of footpaths. Once at the barbed wire fence that denotes the wilderness boundary, head left (north) and follow the creek bed veering left where the canyon splits near a pair of giant boulders. From here, follow the canyon to the cove. Return the way you came. LENGTH: 1 mile round-trip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 2,000 – 1,676 feet (324 feet) DRIVING DIRECTION TO THE TRAILHEAD: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east to the Idaho Road exit. Go left at the light and follow Highway 88 for 12 miles to the road turnout at milepost 208. INFORMATION: This is an unofficial trail. Refer to the Superstition Wilderness topo map.