Sunday, January 12, 2014
GIANT SAGUARO HIKE
BLUFF SPRING TRAIL to the GIANT SAGUARO
Although it’s not the largest ever discovered, the colossal cactus known as “Giant Saguaro” along Dutchman’s Trail is a commanding presence. Balancing a massive, Medusa-like crown of spiny arms and isolated in a landscape where neighboring saguaros sport more modest profiles, this impressive plant grabs the spotlight. But, it might not stand for much longer. An ominous gray scale on its north side and what appears to have been a lighting strike in its core may spell its doom--who can say. The probability that this cactus has been around for hundreds of years is a testament to its tenacity. Whether it stands for one more year or another century, hikers with a love of natural curiosities should pay it a respectful visit. The hike to the saguaro, begins at the Peralta trailhead on Bluff Spring Trail with the (infamous) climb of “cardiac hill”---a nearly 800’ ascent in less than a mile--and although the route has many ups-and-downs, this is the most challenging segment. Stay on Bluff Spring Trail to the 3.1-mile point, head north (straight ahead) on Dutchman’s Trail and follow it 1.7 miles to the giant saguaro. You can’t miss it. EPITAPH 2016: The giant saguaro is officially dead and down.
From Phoenix, go east on US60 to just past milepost 204 in Apache Junction, turn left at the "Peralta Trailhead" sign and follow Peralta Road (FR77) 8 miles to the trailhead. Six miles of FR77 is dirt with some washboard sections passable by carefully driven sedans.
INFO: Mesa Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 480-610-3300