Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
443.00 ft (135.03 m)
Trail type
5.60 mi (9.01 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Second Water Trail to Hackberry Springs Loop is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail in Arizona's Superstition Wilderness. The trail takes you through Garden Valley, past Hackberry Spring, then along First Water Creek before winding its way back to the trailhead. This hike is most popular in the spring when the creek is flowing, and wildflowers are blooming.  

The loop starts from the First Water Trailhead and parking lot at the end of First Water Road. From the parking lot, take Dutchman Trail #104 for approximately 0.3 miles to a fork in the trail. Keep left at the fork turning onto Second Water Trail #236. Just after turning onto Second Water Trail, you will come to First Water Creek. Depending on the time of year, the creek can be high requiring you to walk through water, or it can be completely dry. This creek often floods when it rains so be sure to check the weather before crossing to the other side. After crossing the creek, the trail makes its way along the mountainside then ascends a small drainage on the way up to Garden Valley. During snow melt periods or after a good rain there is a small waterfall in this drainage system next to the trail. 

Garden Valley is a large flat grassy expansion that sits between Hackberry Mesa and Black Mesa with views of Weavers Needle in the distance. After entering Garden Valley, at about 1.8 miles you will come to a fork in the trail, keep to the left staying on Second Water Trail. Just ahead you will see another fork in the trail. Once again keep to the left, this time turning onto the lesser traveled Hackberry Spring Trail. The large flat area through Garden Valley can be extremely muddy with standing water after a rain. Once you reach the northern edge of Garden Valley, the trail begins a steep descent down toward Hackberry Spring. On a saddle at about 2.75 miles you will once again come to a fork in the trail. This time keep to the right staying on Hackberry Spring Trail. From here it is about a half mile to First water Creek and 0.75 miles to Hackberry Spring. This portion of the hike requires some route finding skills as the trail can be hard to follow as you make your way through the creek and surrounding canyon. Just after a narrow canyon you will see a trail on the right that leads away from the creek. This trail takes you to the lower parking lot along First water Road.  To get back to the parking lot at First Water Trailhead where you began, continue following the creek until reaching the original water crossing at Second Water Trail then turn right. 


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Seasonal River. Not Crowded.


Requires some route finding know-how.

Trailhead Elevation

2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)

Highest point

2,161.00 ft (658.67 m)


Near lake or river
Vault toilet
Big vistas
Bird watching
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona


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