• Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Autumn, Winter

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    9 Miles


This day hike traverses a fairly smooth trail while offering views of some of the most iconic sites in the Superstition Mountains.

From First Water Trailhead, a short walk east brings you to the junction of the Dutchman trail and the Second Water trail.  If you follow the Dutchman trail to the right you'll be heading southeast for a while, catching glimpses of Weaver's Needle in the distance.  You can complete the loop going either direction, but if you take the Second Water trail (clockwise loop) the steepest section of the hike will be downhill.  

The Dutchman trail takes you on a gentle but steady climb to Parker Pass.  From there you'll descend into a small valley where you'll have access to several other trails along with a good view of Weavers Needle.  To continue the loop, take a left at the first junction which will be the Black Mesa Trail.  There are a bunch of campsites and false trails in the immediate area, so keep in mind you'll need to be heading north-west for a bit to stay on track.  Soon you'll start a somewhat steep climb up to Black Mesa.  At the top there's a large campsite with fire rings.  Once you reach this point, the trail will be downhill all the way back.  Hike down to garden valley and take a left when you reach the Second Water Trail which will take you back to the First Water Trail, completing the loop.

At less than 9 miles round trip, this can be done as a day hike with ease.  This trip will connect with a number of other high profile trails in the western Superstitions, so backpacking options are limitless.  There are places to camp at the junction between the Dutchman trail and the Black Mesa Trail, as well as at the trail's high point on Black Mesa itself.  

From Phoenix, take the 202 East.  After the 202 curves southeast, get off at Brown Rd and go east about 7 miles, then turn left on Apache Trail.  Follow this highway Northeast, pass Lost Dutchman State Park and take the next dirt road on the right.  This will take you to the trailhead.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sunglasses/hat
  • Camera
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Overall rating: 

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This trail was very muddy yesterday with running water on the trail in quite a few spots and a lot of washed out places. We got the last space in the parking lot but the trail wasn't busy after the first mile. I was surprised that the parking lot was full on a Tuesday morning though. We passed several parking areas on the way to the trailhead though so if it is full you could park at one of the other lots. We went counterclockwise and it wasn't horribly steep.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I did this loop last summer in the same direction. Total solitude but I nearly ran out of water! Double the amount you think you need.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Calvin Weibel Explorer

A random dude wandering around with a camera

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