Weavers Needle Loop - Tonto National Forest
||A nice hike from a
popular trailhead which leads around Weavers Needle, an extinct volcanic core and the most
distinctive landmark in the Superstitions. Hike follows the Peralta Trail,
Dutchman Trail, Bluff Pass Trail, Terrapin Trail and Bluff Spring Trail.
||From Phoenix, drive east
on the Superstition Freeway (U.S. 60) past Apache Junction. About
4.5mi beyond the end of the freeway at milepost 204, turn left following the
signs for the Peralta Trailhead. The road is initially paved as it heads
through a housing development, then becomes well graded dirt. At the
signed fork 5.4 miles from the highway, bear left following the sign, and continue another 2 miles to the parking area at the road's
with an automated fee station & restroom facilities).
||Passenger Car - well
graded dirt roads
||A little warm, low
||After paying your use
fee, begin walking (along with everyone else and their brother) on the signed Peralta
Trail (#102) up Boulder Canyon (0.0 miles). For the first 1.5 miles or so the trail
follows Peralta Creek crossing it a few times along the way. The trail then ascends
the bank on the left and begins climbing more steeply with a few switchbacks at the end to
Fremont Saddle with nice hoodoos on your left and a great view of Weavers Needle (2.3).
After enjoying the view and catching your breath, leave the crowds behind and
continue down along the Peralta Trail. The trail skirts the Needle to the west and
continues down to the base of Black Top Mesa to a signed junction (5.9) with the
Dutchman's Trail (#104). Those wishing to shorten this hike can turn right onto the
Dutchman's Trail and cut 3.1 miles off the hike, we however will turn left skirting the
perimeter of the Mesa. After 0.8 miles (6.7) you will reach a junction with the Bull
Pass Trail (#129), turn right onto this trail and begin climbing steeply up to Bull Pass.
At the summit of the pass a well defined use trail branches off to the right.
Those wishing to do some further exploring can do the short but steep hike which
leads to the top of Black Top Mesa and probably the best views of Weavers Needle in the
Superstitions. After finished exploring continue down the other side along the Bull
Pass Trail until you reach a signed junction with the Dutchman's Trail (8.2). Turn
right onto the Dutchman's Trail which (after 0.8 miles) will bring you to a signed
junction with the Terrapin Trail (9.0). The trail coming in from the right is the
Dutchman's Trail (if you had taken the shortcut described earlier), turn left, however,
onto the Terrapin Trail (#234). This rugged, but well defined trail climbs steeply
skirting Weavers Needle to the east (completing your 360 degree view), then leads up over
Bluff Saddle and down the other side to an intersection with the Bluff Spring Trail (#235
located immediately after the stream bed crossing). Turn right (11.8) onto the Bluff
Spring Trail which continues down past some excellent views into the Coffee Flat area and
a steep descent. Stay right at the junction with the Dutchman's Trail until you
reach the trailhead once more (13.9).
This is a very scenic and enjoyable hike past some of the best views the
Superstitions have to offer. I definitely recommend the side trip to the top of
Black Top Mesa which provides a perfect lunch stop at the halfway point.
||Beartooth Maps -
Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map (excellent)
||Click picture for larger
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|Looking up Boulder
the Peralta Trail.
|Weavers Needle from
Peralta Trail at about the
5 mile point.