Best Loop Hikes Arizona
by Bruce Grubbs (The Mountaineers Books)
© Bruce Grubbs/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
The hike is awesome, for the first 6-7 miles, Peralta Trailhead becomes Dutchman becomes Bluff Springs becomes Dutchman once again (at least that's how I hiked it). Awesome scenery for the first 4 miles, then I started having moments like "am i still on the trail" and "jeez, didn't I just pass this?" because not only does the scenery get boring after 4mi, but after the first 7-8 miles the trail becomes unkept wilderness and 4 out of 5 times I got off the trail because there were more plant life hazards on the trail that off of it. I'm talking so many stinging prickly plants, my shorts were literally torn to shreds. Did I mention hostile Javalena and Rattlers? Well, not many, 1 angry Javalena and 2 Rattlers. Oh and I was attacked by bees too, forgot that one. Anyway I didn't know this was a loop and I went approximately 10 miles before turning around saying to myself "is this it? is this the trail? this is a horribly unkept trail!" 6 miles in the reverse direction got me lost twice in the river basins which I could not find a rock pile for the life of me, so this turned into 8 miles, and then I was lost. To top it off, my Camelback (water tank) had been leaking for quite some time and I had no water. I tried to call 911, but no service, I climbed the highest peak I could and got gps phone service to call the Pinal Sheriffs Dept. They sent search teams after maybe an hour, but I had had enough, I rolled my ankle on a steep slope, and limped around to the trailhead which at that time was only an hour away. I was greeted at the parking lot by the friendly SAR team, and they gave me a gatorade and a wet bandana to cool myself off. My verdict is, DON'T TRY TO COMPLETE THIS LOOP IN THE SUMMER, and until the last miles in the loop are cleared of hostile plant life, this trail should be scaled back on distance to 7-8 miles, the rest of the loop is simply not hikable until it is cleared.
Wonderful scenic hike for a fall morning. Did 12 miles RT in 6 hours. I made this an Out and Back hike because I had difficulty locating where the Dutchman trail connected to make it a loop hike back to the TH, and didn't have the luxury of wandering around to find it. There are NO trail markers on any of the trails. Pay attention!
Trail coming back down to the TH is more stressful on the kness and ankles due to the large rocks and uneven terrain. For those of you 40+ I would HIGHLY recommend doing this hike with Ankle supported boots and trekking poles.
Great hike in a very unique area of the world. Highly recommend it.
If you are looking for a true wilderness experience one hour from a city of 4 million, this is for you. We started out at Peralta TH on Suday afternoon heading for the saddle about 2 miles up the trail. Very strenuous but a great view from the top. Quite a few day hikers but by the time you hit the saddle, the crowd thins to almost zero. Pretty nice camp spot with panoramic views. From here we kept hiking around the loop the next day about 8 miles to La Barge Springs. Beautiful area, very green. Plenty of water to drink as well. No human sightings the entire day. The third and last day was 5 miles back to Peralta TH. Finally saw a few people as we approched the TH. This is a great hike for solitude, birds and plant life. I love the Superstions!!! But please don't tell too many people about it.
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