• Wildflowers of the wild west
    Posted by at February 26th
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    COFFEE FLAT to WHITLOW CANYON
    Superstition Wilderness
    corral at Whitlow Canyon
    Fairy Duster
    Early spring brings a magical transition to the Superstition Wilderness.  It’s a time when winter-worn shrubs and the gray stubble of last year’s flora make a yawning renewal.  Right now, the craggy, hilly terrain is awash in splendor-hinting shades of green with the first of the early blooming wildflowers already beginning to show on sunny slopes.  Although most any trail in the Superstitions would be good for viewing wildflowers, the routes leaving from the Peralta trailhead are particularly productive due to the way water rolls down from hoodoo edged ridgelines over loose-soil slopes before settling into deeply incised canyons where mesquite and Palo verde trees play nurse maid to myriad fragile perennials.  For our first wildflower hike of the year, we selected a mostly unshaded route to catch the early bloomers. This week we observed spotty specimens of wild hyacinth, fiddleneck, scorpion weed, buckwheat, brittlebush, red maids, filaree and Mexican gold poppies.  Best of all, an abundant crop of sprouts teased for a better-than-average wildflower season to come. Color was best along the Dutchman’s Trail, especially near riparian oasises near lingering pools of water.  At 2.6 miles, we turned onto the Coffee Flat Trail with the goal of visiting the mesquite bosque and old stock corral at Whitlow Canyon. The corral is a collection of knotted barbed wire and rusty signs drenched in rugged old west character.  Before heading back the way we came, we took a break beneath a twisted mesquite tree surrounded by greenery that will soon burst into fields of golden poppies .
    Water on the Dutchman’s Trail
    HIKE PLAN:
    Begin hiking east on Dutchman’s Trail #104.  At 2.6 miles veer right at the signed junction for Coffee Flat Trail # 108.  Follow #108 1.7 miles to the prominent wash of Whitlow Canyon, cross the wash and within a few yards, look for a cairned “Y” intersection.  Take the right fork to get to the corral. See “more photos” for images of these unsigned waypoints.
    LENGTH:  9.2 miles roundtrip
    RATING:  easy- moderate
    brittlebush
    ELEVATION:  2287′ – 2680′
    FACILITIES: restrooms
    GETTING THERE:
    From Phoenix, travel east on US60 to Apache Junction.  Continue roughly 8 miles to Peralta Road (FR77) located between mileposts 204 and 205.  There’s also a sign indicating “Peralta Trailhead”. Turn left and follow Peralta Road 7.2 miles to the trailhead.
    INFO: Mesa Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 480-610-3300
    MAP:
    MORE PHOTOS:


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    Post Author: Arizona Hiking


    Bio: Serial blogger, manic hiker and “mom” to a dozen adopted dogs, Mare Czinar has been exploring Arizona trails for more than 20 years. After being led astray (or just plain confused) by outdated hiking books and online resources (hence the tagline: We got lost, so you don’t have to), Czinar sought to create a fully vetted, frequently updated online hike travelogue with current driving and hiking directions to spare fellow hikers the mental and physical wear-and-tear of aimless wandering. In addition, blog entries are amended when road closures or wildfires restrict trail access. When not working, blogging, writing about the great outdoors or picking up dog poo, Czinar attempts to “stay found” while checking out new trails.


    Website: http://arizonahiking.blogspot.com/