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Weavers Needle Loop - Tonto National Forest

Summary: 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.
Directions: 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 end (complete with an automated fee station & restroom facilities).
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - well graded dirt roads
Navigation: Easy
Length: 14 miles
Date Hiked: November, 1999
Weather Conditions: A little warm,  low 80s F
Required Skills:
Hike Description: 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).
Rating (1-5 stars):
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.
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map (excellent)
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Looking up Boulder Canyon from
the Peralta Trail.
Weavers Needle from the
Peralta Trail at about the
5 mile point.