Hike Battleship Mountain

Rate this Adventure Arizona First Water Trailhead

Added by Jeremy Meek

Epic hike in the Superstition Mountains! Grand views and scenic peaks for as far as the eye can see!

Battleship Mountain is nestled within the Superstition Mountains, surrounded by dramatic peaks and desert landscapes. The hike itself is beautiful, and the views once on top of Battleship Mountain are exceptional. The diversity and uniqueness of geological formations in the mountains surrounding you as you hike will make you go “wOw!”. There is no maintained trail to the top of Battleship Mountain and there are sheer cliffs that make up most of the perimeter of the mesa-like top of many portions of Battleship Mountain. A bit of bouldering and non-technical rock climbing will be required to get to the top; if that excites you, read on!

There are a few different trailheads that can be used to access Battleship Mountain. My favorite is from the First Water Trailhead, in terms of both balancing the driving/hiking ratio as well as the views along the way. From the First Water Trailhead, you will hike and connect to the eastbound Second Water Trail. The Second Water Trail will dead end at the Boulder Canyon Trail, where you will turn south and parallel the wash (sometimes it has flowing water; hike not recommended if there is even a remote chance of rain/flash floods!). Be sure to keep an eye out for the stone cairns that mark the trail as it criss-crosses the wash. While you could hike through the wash the entire way, you make much better time if you are on the trail! While any park ranger will tell you that there are a few different ways to get to the top of Battleship Mountain, my preferred way is to connect to an old, non-maintained trail that heads east from the Boulder Canyon Trail (the wash). Coordinates where this trail commences are approximately 33.487629, -111.394712.

For most hikers, the view from the southern part of the mountain will be plenty and is of itself a great  accomplishment. If you are with a larger group, this is a great spot to stop for lunch and/or a snack and enjoy the views prior to continuing on to the very top (the last portion can be slower and a bit more tedious). I hiked this once and opted out of the last part of the trip to the top; a combination of equilibrium issues due to a sinus infection and camera gear malfunction resulted in me almost taking a fall from the mountainside on my ascent of the lower portion of the mountain. Whichever ‘summit’ you choose to conquer, be careful!

If you choose to continue to the VERY top of Battleship Mountain (far north side), proceed with caution. There is a narrow ‘bridge’ you will need to cross, followed by steep slopes with boulders scattered throughout. If you have delicate hands, you might want to consider bringing a good pair of climbing gloves. Once up the initial approach of the north part of Battleship Mountain, it will appear as if you have dead ended; a head-on approach will not be possible by mere mortals (unless you bring technical climbing gear along!). To get to the top by hiking/scrambling, you will need to round the west-northwest side of the summit for the final approach. The top will reward you with expansive 360 degree views!

Whichever ‘summit’ you choose to conquer, rest assured you will have great views all around you. To the north, you have great views of the Four Peaks Wilderness and Canyon Lake, to the east you have views into the start of La Barge Box Canyon and Geronimo Head WAY beyond, and to the south you have views of Weaver's Needle and the backside of The Flatiron.

Pack List

  • Water (Plenty)
  • Food
  • GPS (do NOT  follow in the steps of the fabled Lost Dutchman!)
  • Adventurous Spirit!
  • Leave Your Fear of Heights at Home
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Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Spring, Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

11.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

443 Feet

Features:

Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers

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Added by Jeremy Meek

Construction and sustainability guru by day. Adventurer, recreational photographer, and blogger by night and weekend. Arizona lover and native Phoenician.

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