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Saturday, December 12, 2009

WEST BOULDER SADDLE

WEST BOULDER SADDLE Superstition Wilderness This trail offers much of what we love about nearby Peralta canyon—soaring cliffs, rugged terrain, a steady climb and terrific views of the Superstition Wilderness Area. The route is an interesting one, passing old campsites, and decommissioned spring and a nice smattering of pinion pines clinging to life in the crumbling volcanic soil. THE HIKE: from the trailhead, hike west on the Lost Goldmine Trail for 1.2 miles to a cattle guard-type opening in the wilderness barbed wire fence. Pass the gate and head north along a clear path-of-use. After about a half-mile, the trail becomes more difficult to follow as it takes on the steep ridge up to the saddle. Near the top, you’ll encounter some slick rock and a few vertical sections---nothing too difficult, but the terrain could be risky when wet. Once at the saddle, hiking options abound---see the Superstition Wilderness map for details. Or, for a simple day hike, just head back the way you came. LENGTH: 4.5 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 2,320 – 3,680 feet GETTING THERE: Take Highway 60 east to Peralta Road (FS77 at milepost 204) where there’s a road sign stating “Peralta Trail”. Turn left onto Peralta Road, set your odometer, and continue through the subdivision for 7.1 miles to the Lost Goldmine trailhead on the left. NOTE: some of the older hiking books recommend using the “Carney Spring” trailhead to access the W. Boulder Saddle route, however, that road had been blocked off and you can no longer drive very far up the road as described in the books. Using the Lost Goldmine trailhead is easier.

Friday, December 11, 2009

BOULDER CANYON

BOULDER CANYON Superstition Wilderness Offering a kalidescope of ever-changing, colorful views, Boulder Canyon Trail #103 provides a memorable tour of the turbulent landscape of the Superstition Wilderness. From the trailhead, the route takes off on an uphill grind along the rocky cliffs above Canyon Lake, topping out at a saddle where the 224-foot-high crest of Mormon Flat Dam is visible peeking out from a stony cove. To the north, the mauve-tinged pinnacles of the Four Peaks wilderness, sit like bold sentries above a sea of barren foothills. From here, the trail moves over a high desert ridgeline of tortured volcanic rock with LaBarge Creek churning hundreds of feet below. During the next few minutes of uphill walking, the blocky massif Battleship Mountain slowly creeps up until its profile looms large on the horizon. At this point, a gorge-riddled terrain takes center stage as the route transitions into an unrelenting series of ups-and-downs—something to keep in mind for hike out—before reaching its terminus at the intersection with Dutchman’s Trail #104. LENGTH: 7.3 miles one-way RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 1,680- 2,300 feet GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east to the Idaho Road exit. Go left at the light and follow Highway 88 to the Canyon Lake Marina between mileposts 211 and 212. A Tonto Pass is NOT required as long as you park in the “hiker” section of the marina lot. INFORMATION: fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation/rogs/hikingtrail/wilderness/Trails/superstition/BoulderCanyonTrail103.pdf