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Massacre Grounds to Praying Hands Loop
Superstition Mountains
March 14, 2021
by Tom Simonick
  GPS Map 
group
Trailblazers at the Massacre Grounds. [photo by Li]
front row: Michael, Dave, Quy, Jerry, Li
second row:  Kevin, Neil, Billie, Lin
third row: Nancy, Bruce, Flo, Tom, Ken, Tamar

Fourteen members and two guests headed out from the Massacre Grounds Trailhead on a bright, chilly morning.

hikers
It looks smooth from the road. [photo by Quy]

It had rained the day before, but there was little evidence of that on the ground. We were early and the traffic on the trail was light. There was one dog that was way ahead of its owner and seemed to want to hike in our group. This part of the Superstitions looks flat from First Water Road, until you begin a series of ascents and descents through washes and up low hills.

hikers
Dave is a real trooper. [photo by Tom]
hikers
The Wine Bottle cheers us along. [photo by Quy]

It was not long until those of us that were initially cold could remove our extra layers of clothes. Overall, the trail climbed up a mesa and the views improved. Four Peaks was covered in snow and partially hidden by scenic clouds.

snow
The Four Peaks are covered with snow today. [photo by Lin]
Kevin
Kevin is ready for anything. [photo by Li]

After an hour and a half, we reached the top of the Massacre Grounds mesa. We took a long break and Michael told us the story of the miners who took the chance of taking gold out of Apache-held land and paid for it with their lives.

Michael
Michael tells it like it is. [photo by Kevin]

We enjoyed great views in all directions and Li took a group picture.

Michael
The Peralta miners were trapped here. [photo by Kevin]

Leaving the mesa, we hiked to the Massacre Falls, although we knew they would be dry. The recent rains did not provide enough run-off water for the falls. However, it still gave us time to do a little climbing up the lower part of the falls and take some more pictures.

hikers
The Massacre Falls are dry today. [photo by Li]
hikers
Now there’s a crack in the rock. [photo by Kevin]

Returning from the falls, we stopped for pictures of an eroded cliff wall.

group
A motley crew, these Trailblazers. [photo by Lin]
Lin
Lin can fit in there. [photo by Li]

Now we backtracked, looking for a social trail that would lead us to our next stop, Slot Rock. We spread out looking for the trails and I used our GPS track from the hike two years ago. After some discussion, the lead group decided we were on the trail and we headed west.

hikers
This is what you call a “Social” trail. [photo by Quy]

We crossed several washes but kept heading in the right direction. Slot Rock is so named because of the slot which is easy to scramble up and ends in a saddle with nice views.

hikers
Climbing the Slot. [photo by Li]
Jerry
Jerry can handle it. [photo by Li]

We took a longer break on the east side of the rock before continuing to another rock formation with small twin holes.

hikers
Made it to the saddle. [photo by Quy]
hikers
Are those holes in the rock big enough to be arches? [photo by Lin]

Bruce pointed out a canyon on the other side of the rocks leading up to another area with potential waterfalls and the option to make a difficult, scrambling hike ending at Siphon Draw.

Continuing west, we arrived at the Praying Hands rock formations and ran into the first real trail traffic. We took some pictures at the rocks and checked out a partial cave nearby.

hikers
The trail leads over to the Praying Hands. [photo by Lin]
hikers
We found a cave. [photo by Li]

Descending from the rocks, we headed towards the junction of Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. Taking Crosscut Trail led us back to our trailhead.

trail
Let’s go home. [photo by Tom]

Unfortunately one of our hikers had their car broken into and money was stolen. Up to that point we had all enjoyed the hike, so we ended this hike on a bit of a down note.

Statistics: 8.1 miles in 5 hours, 10 minutes with an accumulated elevation gain of 1600 feet

→   More pictures, by Quy
→   More pictures, by Li
→   More pictures, by Kevin
→   More pictures, by Lin
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated March 23, 2021