Boulder Canyon Trail
Distance: 5 Miles to viewpoint or continue on for a longer adventure!
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Elevation Gain: 1092' to viewpoint.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Permit/Pass Required: Nope! Park in the Marina lot for free parking!
Getting There: See map.
Tips: This one is going to get HOT. Start early to avoid the harsh afternoon sun. Bring plenty of water for you and your dog. And a Tonto Pass if you want to utilize one of the nearby beaches after your hike for a swim to cool off. Oh and watch your feet so you don't step on an angry local - rattlesnakes are a common sight and my pup and I had our first encounter with a tarantula!
About the Hike: What a hidden gem this is! Most of us have heard of Tortilla Flat, but did you know just a couple short miles prior to reaching the historic ghost town is a trail that pulls out all the stops? The drive to Boulder Canyon trail alone is one worth mentioning. The curvy Apache Trail Highway weaves through one of our area's most beautiful landscapes, eventually reaching a hidden oasis in Canyon Lake. Kayakers and Paddle Boarders sprinkle the lake and beaches adorn the shore. Park at the Canyon Lake Marina and cross the street in front of the bridge and this is where your hike will begin.
The trail gains most of it's elevation in the first mile - this is also where you will see the most traffic. But once you reach the top, the trail becomes a lot more quiet and suddenly it even becomes green. This was my first trail where I encountered moss, yes MOSS. Keep an eye on the shady parts of the trail - my dog absolutely loved it! The trail leads you past multiple landscapes and side trails that are worth a quick adventure (just don't forget where you stepped off - I recommend downloading the offline maps in AllTrails in case you have directional issues like I do)!
Eventually you'll reach the viewpoint with vistas stretching as far as Weaver's Needle - a very interesting view if you've ever hiked Peralta Trail on the other side of the Superstitions. My visit also gave me views of Four Peaks capped in snow. To either side of the trail are Tortilla Creek and La Barge Creek, both providing the soft sounds of running water. I was also lucky enough to visit after a heavy rain - resulting in hidden pools and waterfalls for my pup to swim in as we trekked on.
The trail is out and back so turn around at any point. The viewpoint is about 2.5 miles in which will give you a perfect five mile hike, or continue your journey even farther for a longer adventure.
The best part about this hike? Canyon Lake being your grand finale! Purchase a Tonto Pass in advance so you can stop by one of the many beaches (Acacia is my favorite) to swim and eat lunch after your workout!