Weavers Needle Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,643' 806 m
Descent: -2,637' -804 m
High: 3,738' 1,139 m
Low: 2,435' 742 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 52% (28°)
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“Circumnavigate Weaver Needle with great views all the way.”— John Maurizi
From the Freemont Saddle, the trail descends to the left. I enjoyed this section as you have great views of Weavers Needle the entire way. The trail is also relatively easy to follow at this point. To continue the loop, the Peralta Canyon Trail will meet the Dutchman Trail #104. Take the Dutchman Trail to the right for one mile. This has a difficult, rocky uphill section.
After one mile on the Dutchman Trail, you'll reach a post with a sign directing you to the Terrapin Trail #234. The Terrapin Trail is a tedious section of the Weaver's Needle Loop that can feel like it drags on forever. Additionally, there is a portion of the trail where Weavers Needle isn't visible, and since the Terrapin Trail never heads in the direction of the needle, you'll want to have a good trail map to navigate the area.
Along the trail, there are several side trails that branch to the right. Taking these will lead to views of Weavers Needle. There is one side trail that is a bit deceiving as it looks like you are continuing on the Terrapin Trail. If you climb a steep saddle to a view of Weavers Needle, you likely ended up on this side trail by accident and will want to retrace your steps to pick up Terrapin Trail again. You can use the Trail Run Project mobile app to make sure you stay on the right trail.
Eventually, you'll come to the Bluff Springs Trail #235 junction. From here, you are on the trail back to the trailhead, but this section is longer than you think. Much longer. Every time you crest a hill, you'll think you'll see the parking area, but you'll still have another hill to go. This was a bit defeating, but keep running and you'll eventually end up back at the trailhead parking lot.
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Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Tonto National Forest Office
Oct 30, 2019: Tonto Christmas Tree Permits Available November 18