Marsh Valley Loop
Trailhead: First Water
Length: 18 miles roundtrip
Wilderness Area: Superstition Wilderness
Journal: "Marsh Valley Loop"
Directions to Trailhead:
From Apache Junction, go NE on SR 88 approx 5.3 miles to FR 78 (just past Lost Dutchman State Park). Turn right and continue 2.6 miles to the end of the road. Lots of parking, but it can be crowded on weekends in the spring. A Tonto Pass is required to park at the trailhead. Trailhead is accessible in a car.
From the trailhead hike east on Dutchman #104. At .4 miles go left on Second Water #236. Second Water climbs a small ridge and the drops into Garden Valley, a flat expanse that lives up to its name. Second Water trail becomes rocky and drops down to Second Water Creek. Cross the creek and continue east to the junction with Boulder Canyon #103 (3.6 miles).
Go south on Boulder Canyon, crossing the creek numerous times. Watch for the cairns. Boulder Creek is said to often have water in it, but in March of 1999 it was bone dry. After 1.4 miles turn left onto Calvary Trail #239. Calvary Trail climbs steeply over Red Hills and then drops into LaBarge Canyon.(6.4 miles) LaBarge Canyon is a major canyon with outstanding rock formations. There are several camping areas in LaBarge Canyon. Continue south on Calvary Trail to its junction with Dutchman #104 (8.2 miles).
To reach Charlebois (pronounced Char-ley-boys) Spring, go west on Dutchman 1.3 miles. 1/4 mile before you reach Charlebois Spring the trail will cross LaBarge Creek. Continue north on the trail to the spring. There are lots of camping areas near the spring, but it might get a little crowded.
To return, follow Dutchman 8.7 miles to the west. Along this section of the trail, amazing view of Weavers Needle can be seen. At one point the trail comes within 3/4 mile of Weavers Needle. After rounding Blacktop Mesa the trail descends by long switchbacks to East Boulder Canyon. From here it goes north and then west up to Parker Pass. From Parker Pass it is 2.5 miles back to the trailhead.
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