Wednesday (Dec 12th) we hiked one of our “old standards”, the Boulder Canyon Trail to the point just before it descends into LaBarge Canyon. This is a well established trail, requiring no “route finding” skills and the footing is decent throughout from frequent usage.
Total “in and out” mileage is about five and a half miles which is about average for our routes, but the accumulated elevation gain is about 1,760 feet, so I’ll have to categorize it as a “leg stretcher”.
The trailhead for this hike is the marina parking lot on Canyon Lake. Park your vehicle at the fence on the south end of the lot. Head out to the south, crossing the Apache Trail and you immediately find yourself steadily working your way up to what seems like an easy summit a few hundred yards ahead. Welcome to the world of “false crests” — in fact, this first upward leg of the trail is about a mile long and you gain about 900 feet of elevation to the highest point on the route.
Looking backwards you’ll have great views of Canyon Lake and the marina complex.
Somebody spend a lot of time (and energy) constructing this cairn to mark the summit!
Like any summit, this is a “long horizon” opportunity, giving spectacular views into the interior of the Superstition range and also the Mazatalzan and Mogollon Rim wilderness areas to the north.
From here the trail meanders in gentle roller-coaster fashion for another mile and a half until you reach a spectacular high viewpoint with breath-taking views into the central basin of the Superstitions. The view below is unfortunately a poor photograph because we are south-facing, and the low winter sun overwhelms my poor little camera. I have to include the picture though, just to provide you a hint of the scene. Far below, left of center, is the bed of Boulder Creek, dry when this photo was taken, be probably now with a stream from the rain of the past couple of days. The large formation at photo center is Battleship Mountain, and far away, peeking over the right corner of Battleship is the ever-present signature of the Supes, Weavers Needle.
After a pause for lunch and rest, the hike just retraces the same steps northward, back to the trailhead.