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Apache Junction, Arizona

Hike the Dutchman's Second Canyon Loop

16 Miles Total - Loop Trail

Originally added by Breanne McNitt

Experience the beauty that is the Superstition Mountain, and enjoy the magic of running water in the desert, by hiking this 16 mile loop trail.

To get to the trail head, drive past Lost Dutchman State Park on the 88 and then take the dirt road (on your right) with arrows leading you to First Water Trail Head.  There is an outhouse at the trailhead, so I suggest visiting it before you begin this hike.  I also started this hike about an hour before sunrise, so I could be on the trail as the sun was coming out from the horizon- I highly suggest getting an early start.

After signing in at the trail register, head out on the Dutchman Trail.  Soon you will come to a fork with Second Water Trail.  Turn left off Dutchman trail and onto Second Water Trail.  You will now stay on this trail for about 3.5 miles, until it ends at Boulder Canyon Trail.  The sound of rushing water will greet you- especially if you do this hike in the winter or spring time- as you enter Boulder Canyon.  At the fork take a right, and now you must keep your eyes open for cairns marking your path.  You will cross the river multiple times during this section of the trail, and your feet will most likely get wet, so I suggest wearing wool socks on this hike.

You will keep heading upstream through Boulder Canyon until the trail ends.  So if you ever think you've lost the trail, just follow the river and eventually you'll spot some cairns pointing you in the right direction again.  Boulder Canyon Trail ends at the intersection with Dutchman Trail.  You can either turn right here which will take you back to the trail head and make this hike around 11 miles instead.  Or you can do what I did and turn left to make a loop around Black Top Mesa.

So after turning left, follow the Dutchman Trail as it winds it's way through the canyon and then switchbacks up to gain a bit of elevation and gives you beautiful view of Weaver's Needle.  You will pass intersections with Peralta trail and Terrapin Trail (both on your left).  Continue passed these until you reach the intersection with  Bull Pass Trail.  Turn left onto Bull Pass Trail.  This is the steepest section of the trail, so be careful coming down the loose rock on the backside.  After around 1.6 miles, Bull Pass Trail meets back up with Dutchman Trail. Congrats you've finished this short extension loop!

Now turn right onto Dutchman Trail.  You will now be staying on this trail for around 4.5 miles as it meanders through the canyon and takes you back to the First Water Trailhead. 

Note:  If you search Dutchman's Second Canyon trail into google, it will not direct you to a trail description of this loop. When I decided to go for a long solo hike, I chose random trails from the Superstitions Trail Map.  The individual trails that made up this loop are Second Water Trail, Boulder Canyon Trail, Bull Pass Trail and Dutchman's Trail.  So combining all these together, I came up with a name for my loop (which is also kinda like a funky figure-8).

For camping, check out Camp at Lost Dutchman State Park

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Overnight Stay

You can break this hike up into two days and camp in boulder canyon. Many beautiful sites to stay overnight along Boulder canyon creek.

Wear Good Shoes

This hike can be divided into thirds. First and third are easy peasy. Middle third super beautiful and more challenging. First and third sandy smooth clear trail. Easy to look at beautiful surroundings. Huge variety of flora. Middle third lots of boulders and stream crossings. Easy to get off trail because of difficult or no markings. Beautiful no matter. But be aware that it is lengthy and a bit strenuous. Probably best for experienced hikers.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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