Whiskey Springs Trail
Half the fun of hiking this trail is getting there. Start at Peralta Trailhead and hike about two miles east on the Dutchman’s trail. This takes you past Miners Needle to the Coffee Flat trail Jct. Stay on Dutchman’s trail. Now hike north up the hill for about a mile and at the summit (about 700’ elevation gain) you finally get to the junction of Whiskey Springs and Dutchman trails. This point is about a two hour hike from Peralata trailhead.
The last time I was here I continued on down the Dutchman trail to where it intersected Bluff Springs trail and made the loop back to Peralta trailhead. http://hornface.com/hiking-in-chandler/miners-needle-loop
This time I took Whiskey Springs trail. It heads east for maybe half a mile and gains another 200’ or so. There is a great view back to the north west of Weavers Needle and you get your first look at Picacho Butte ahead of you. Actually there are three buttes up there connected by saddles and I’m not sure which is the real Picacho Butte. This is supposedly the area where the lost Wagoner Mine might be. http://www.superstitionmountain.info/chronicles/2010/01_04_10.html
Wagoner found gold embedded in rose quartz in about 1894. He took all he wanted and then left the area. Nobody has found his mine since .Maybe lost gold mine hunters don’t know which is the correct butte either.
After topping out, the trail drops all the way down to LaBarge Creek which is where the junction with Red Tanks Trail is located. (about a 700’ drop in elevation.) You pass through a few cottonwood stands on the way down. There are some fantastic camping spots along here.
I stopped here at the trail junction. Apparently the spring (Whiskey Springs) is further up the canyon or I missed it on the way down. I ate lunch and laid around for a bit, then headed back the way I came. My trail guide says this out and back hike is 11 miles. I’m not going to argue with that.
This trail is used heavily although I suspect not as heavily as the Peralta and Bluff Springs trails. I met a young couple with a dog on the way in and passed a family camped in the cottonwoods and a group of hikers passed by on the Red Tanks trail while I was resting at the creek. Then, and this is worth noting, I met a pretty girl near the Whiskey Springs Dutchman trail jct. on my way out. She was wearing a black bikini!
The first part of this hike is fairly level except for climbing in and out of a few washes. The section climbing up to Whiskey Spring Jct. has rocky stretches but horses make it and they are probably carrying 200 pounds of lard ass so suck it up and keep going. There are a few steep rocky stretches as Whiskey Springs trail descends but nothing serious. Apparently two old timers found a whiskey still up here years ago and that is how the place got its name.
Peralta trailhead is at the end of Peralta Road. Get here by heading east on the 60 from Apache Junction.
Will hiked here on 3/18/2011. It was sunny and hot (about 87 degrees) and that young couple I met reported seeing two rattlesnakes along the trail. Be sure to carry plenty of water. I went through the four bottles I carried plus a can of V-8 and an orange.and a prickley pear pad.