Agenda Discovery Week Month

Curated for Me

Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water Trail Head

the Junction Connection
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Endorsed by Curators:
Dec 02 8:00AM - 3:00PM

Carpool Location:

Walgreens, 55 W. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ, at the southwest corner of Idaho and Apache Trail. Please park in the northeast corner of the lot. Leave by 7:35 A.M. If you are traveling from outside Mesa/Apache Junction you may want to have use an alternate carpool location. Use the comment section for discussion.

Let me know if you will be carpooling to or driving directly to the trail head. If you are late and the group had already begun the hike follow the route to catch up. We will be taking rest breaks as needed.

Trail head: First Water

Facilities: restrooms; no running water

Trails to Hike: Second Water, Boulder Canyon, Dutchmans

Accumulated Elevation Gain: +/- 800 feet

Hiking Level Rating: DIFFICULT; above average length; wash crossing, possible route-finding

Distance: 11-12 miles Duration: 7-8 hours

What to bring:

Carry at least one gallon of water, more with hotter temperatures. Wear clothing compatible with wilderness, desert terrain. Hiking boots with non-slick soles is recommended. Pack a first aid kit. Bring electrolytes, snacks, and/or food for a lunch. A map, compass and camera would be useful.

Directions to First Water Trail Head:

From Apache Junction, drive north on AZ S.R. 88. Just past the Lost Dutchman Park entrance, between mile markers 201 and 202, turn right (east) on First Water Road (SR 78). The maintained dirt road leads you 2 miles, ending at the First Water Trail head (F.W.T.H.) parking lot.

PLEASE READ:

NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND, but this is not an easy hike.

Make sure that you can complete this hike. YOU are responsible for your own safety and WE do not assume responsibility for you or your belongings.

Hike Description:

Sign the register book at the trail head before hiking east down the short First Water Trail (F.W.T.). Take note of the unmarked trail to the right (south). A side trip follows a ridge line for half a mile. Bushwhacking through a wash to the north, you connect to the Dutchmans Trail; a hike for another day.

Lets get back to the main trail route. After 0.30 miles the trail splits. The Dutchmans Trail is to the right heading southeast. The Second Water Trail (SWT) is to the left heading northeast. Follow the SWT towards the Garden Valley GV).

A fence post at the 0.50 mile mark denotes an unsigned trail to the left (north) heading to the Hackberry Spring area. The S.W.T. crosses a couple of normally dry washes as you hike up, down, and back up again to the southwestern edge of the G.V., 1.5 mi. Continue hiking for another 0.2 miles to reach the junction with the Black Mesa Trail (B.M.T.), 1.7 mi. This 3-mile long trail runs north to south connecting with the Dutchmans Trail and back to the First Water Trail head making a shorter 9 mile loop hike; a hike for another day.

Several yards ahead there is another Second Water trail sign. Another trail heads north. This is the unmarked Garden Valley Trail which traverses north through G.V,, then west to a ravine heading south to the Hackberry Springs. This is also a hike for another day.

Continue the hike towards the eastern edge of the GV. You will notice a dry dirt water tank to your left (north), 2.2 mi. Here the trail begins a rocky descent towards Boulder Canyon, as it follows the wash to the right (south). After about half an hour the Second Water Valley comes into view on the right. You may notice a cairn for an unmarked trail crossing the wash and heading south. This alternate trail leads to an old miners camp, 3.1 miles, to be explored another day.

As you hike farther down the trail, it crosses the wash. There is an alternate trail in the wash which will lead to the Boulder Canyon Trail (BCT) junction, the same destination as the SWT which you are hiking. After hiking 3.5 cumulative miles the SWT terminates at the BCT. This junction is the midpoint of the BCT which begins north at Canyon Lake and ends south at the Dutchmans Trail. Points of interest here are the Geronimo Head Mountain and the Battleship Mountain.

Hike the BCT south, crossing the wash several times. Watch for cairns marking the way. The trail traverses the length of the Battleship. A set of cairns on the left (east) marks a trail leading to the stern of the Battleship. This is a popular point of interest, but is too time consuming to incorporate with the current hike. The Cavalry Trail junction will be ahead, just after crossing the wash and hiking a little farther, 4.9 miles. The next 1.8 miles will involve several wash crossings over flat terrain to, at which point, the BCT terminates at the junction with the Dutchmans Trail, 6.7 miles.

Hike west from here a short distance to intersect with the Black Mesa Trail. Remember earlier in the hike, the SWT intersected with the north terminus of the BMT. From this point the trail begins climbing steadily, gaining 500 of elevation on the way to Parker Pass, at 8.1 mi. Just before reaching the pass, cairns on the left (south) point to an unmarked trail leading south to Willow Springs. This is also a hike for another day. Look west to see the white faced rock of the Transmission Pass, another 20 minutes of hiking.

The rest of the hike is downhill to the SWT junction. The First Water Trailhead and the completion of the hike are minutes away. Enter the finishing time in the register book and peruse the pages noting the number of hikers using this trailhead.

CONGRATULATIONS!! You have successfully completed a rather lengthy and moderately strenuous hike.

How to find us:Look for the red Jeep Liberty.

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