Miners Needle Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,190' 363 m
Descent: -1,220' -372 m
High: 3,197' 974 m
Low: 2,384' 727 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“A scenic and enjoyable Superstition Wilderness loop with views of the Sonoran Desert.”— Steve Jackson
We started our outing on a Saturday afternoon one week after a big rain in the valley. We ran into lots of water including a small creek to cross within the first 100 yards. There is a small ascent and then a descent into a broad open plain with hundreds of healthy looking Saguaro Cactus, a few ocotillo and barrel cactus. The trip is named for the Miners Needle, a geologic landmark with a hole in it but really there are many similar landmarks that are just as impressive, and you'll enjoy views of them from the start.
To start, you'll take the Dutchman Trail #104 going to the right, and you'll work your way around to and then around the Miners Needle. Near the actual formation, you'll come to a junction with another trail diverting to Whiskey Springs but continue on the Dutchman Trail. At an intersection with the Bluff Springs Trail #235, take a left (west) turn, and move onto that trail.
At this time of the year and after the rainfall, we saw lots of water seeping off the high mountain rocks. Springs and creeks either have water or are very damp. You now begin an almost constant contact with water flowing besides you or right under your feet, again after this rain a week before. It was pretty impressive for being in the desert. We stopped on Bluff Springs Creek for a break and a to have bite to eat. I pulled out my water filter and enjoyed some of the water. It was refreshingly very cold and had a taste to it that was pleasant. Summer or late spring visitors shouldn't expect these water resources to linger into the warmer months. Here we saw a few backpackers out on a one night trip. We scouted some campsites in this general area. They are near the trail and not very sheltered, but each is relatively flat with built up fire rings.
You next will cross the creek multiple times, again this was during a time when there was a lot of water. During the dry season I imagine this would be a different experience.
You'll start a general descent to the trailhead, and when you parallel the Peralta Canyon Trail you'll get a great view of the canyon and, in our case, the dozens of visitors on that trail.
You end this loop with a very steep and rocky descent to the trailhead. Be careful and take your time as it is easy to turn an ankle.
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