Hike | Garden Valley Loop | Superstitions
- Length: 5.3 miles round trip
- Trail Type: Loop
- Trailhead Elevation: 2,310 ft.
- Gain/Loss: -200 ft.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Dog Friendly: Yes, however there is Cholla cactus
Garden Valley Loop hike is a great beginner hike into the vast Superstition Mountains. If you are looking for an easy, minimal elevation loop hike through picturesque Sonoran Desert than this is the hike for you!
This trail begins at the First Water Trailhead. The TH itself is very large and has 50 or so parking spots. There are restrooms and facilities at the TH. From the parking lot, begin heading south on the trail for about 1/4 mile until you reach the first junction. To the right is Dutchman's Trail #104 and to the left is Second Water Trail #236. Stay to the left on Second Water Trail.
You will continue down this nice wide trail through First Water, which is almost always dry, until you reach Garden Valley. The valley is flat and covered in chain fruit Cholla. If you look back to the south you can see Weaver's Needle which is quite a sight. Right in the middle of the valley you will come to a junction with Black Mesa Trail. Stay on the Second Water Trail #236 past the junction until you see an unmarked path veering left not far from the junction. Here, you will take the unmarked path and leave Second Water Trail.
After leaving the Garden Valley, you will begin to make your descent into Hackberry Springs. The trail becomes more rocky in this section as you cut through the canyon walls. This portion of the hike is just beautiful. Continue down into the canyon until you reach the canyon floor. Here you will see Hackberry trees (hence the name) among other large trees along the trail. You will also come across campsites which would make a great resting spot for lunch or to make camp for an overnight trip. If you head north into the canyon you will eventually come upon Hackberry Spring.
From here you have two options; you can turn around and head back into Garden Valley or you can make a loop hike by continuing on the path which connects back to Second Water Trail. We chose to make a loop hike out of our trip.
If you continue on the trail you will wind through narrow canyon walls and back into First water. Here you may find pools of water after a rain storm and the wash is very fun to explore. The trail does get a little tricky to find at this point but if you look for cairns along the way it is hard to get lost. Follow the trail up the wash and it will eventually loop back around and meet up with Second Water Trail. When you see the intersection you will go right and you will recognize the path that leads back to the First Water parking area.
Note: There is also another way to exit and still make this a loop hike. Many people will not follow the wash but instead will take the trail that leads up and over a small climb which is easily seen from the wash. If you decide to take this route it will take you past a windmill and some horse stables and will connect with the road leading to First Water TH. When you reach the road go left.
- Classic Superstition wilderness
- Great views of Weaver's Needle
- Fairly reliable water sources