While we were staying in Tortilla Flat Campground we decided to head back to Canyon Lake and try the Boulder Canyon hike. This challenging hike climbs steeply from Canyon Lake before dropping into La Barge Canyon and merging into Boulder Canyon. It continues as a rugged path deep into the back country of the Superstition Wilderness.
We did not have time to do the whole trail, but we did hike far enough to have some magnificent views of the Superstition Mountains and Weavers Needle.
The trailhead is clearly signed just after the 2nd bridge on the right. It immediately moves away from the water and starts to climb into the hills.
As the trail climbs, it provides some glimpses of the lake inlet and interesting mesas to the west. This first climb is the largest elevation gain and the most strenuous. You climb about 600ft in 1.3 miles.
At the top, the spectacular views begin. The trail is over open slopes and soon reaches a viewpoint over Canyon Lake and oncoming Superstition wilderness. From the hill, the trail proceeds east, climbing to Frog Peak. The trail reaches its highest point of 2,349 feet at 1.18 miles.
The Boulder Canyon Trail is 15 miles round trip and runs south from Canyon Lake Trailhead to the Dutchman’s Trail in the Superstition Wilderness. It is an out and back trail. Day hikers rarely make it to Boulder Canyon and usually stop at Frog Peak, which is what we did.
After a steady climb to the peak, you will be given an incredible view across Canyon Lake and into the Superstition Mountain Wilderness.
This hike is more strenuous than you might imagine from the descriptions so take plenty of water. There is a small restaurant at the Marina if you want to relax after your hike.
How to get there
From the Phoenix area to Canyon Lake, Arizona: Take Highway 60 to Apache Junction. Exit at Idaho Road and turn North to Highway 88 which is the Apache Trail. Drive 14 miles Northeast on the paved Historic Apache Trail. Just past the second one-lane bridge, turn left into the Canyon Lake Marina parking lot.