Arizona Hiking Gallery
Massacre Grounds Trail
Superstition Wilderness, AZ
April 13, 2008
Gallery contains 36 photos
Gallery last updated: 5/3/2008

This was a short (about 4 miles) out-and-back hike in the Superstition Wilderness to the Massacre Grounds. According to Christine Maxa in her book Arizona's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Desert, "The trail to the Massacre Grounds takes you to a remote rock wall where Apache Indians and Mexican miners clashed in 1849 ... This particular battle ended at the weathered rock wall, now called the Massacre Grounds, where the Apaches killed several Mexicans."

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 1
This volcanic spire rising about 300 feet from the desert floor is a landmark that can be seen from much of the Massacre Trail. Behind it rise the Superstition Mountains.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 2
This time of year (mid to late April) many Strawberry Hedgehog (Echinocereus engelmannii) cactus are in bloom with their showy magenta flames.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 3
The Massacre Grounds Trail starts off flat and generally heads in a southeast direction. It makes a gradual climb around the left side of the spire to a low saddle.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 4
The hills are still colored yellow with the mostly spent flowers of Brittlebush Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa).

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 5
A two-image panoramic view of the western edge of the Superstition Mountains.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 6
As the trail rounds the spire and climbs its flank a different view of the spire emerges.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 7
The bright deep orange blossom of a Desert Mariposa (Calochortus kennedyi) glows in the morning sun.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 8
Another shot of the Desert Mariposa (Calochortus kennedyi).

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 9
The rocky crags of the spire emerge from the brittlebush covered hillside.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 10
Entire hillsides are brushed yellow with brittlebush.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 11
Closeup of the interior of a Desert Mariposa (Calochortus kennedyi).

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 12
Looking back at the western edge of the Superstition Mountains from the trail at the saddle on the southeast side of the spire.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 13
From the saddle the trail dips down and then heads up the shallow canyon to the left.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 14
On the south side of the saddle Flat-Top Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) were in bloom.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 15
A view looking back at the spire and the saddle (on the right) that we just came over.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 16
The Massacre Grounds Trail climbs out of the small canyon that it has been following for a short distance up to a slope with a view of the Massacre Grounds.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 17
A view to the northeast of Four Peaks.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 18
A view of cliffs near the Massacre Grounds.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 19
Boulders and hoodoos populate the hills above the Massacre Grounds.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 20
The trail ends at this rock wall which will have a small waterfall after rains. It was dry during my visit.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 21
The end of the trail and my turn-around point for this hike.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 22
The pleasant song of a bird caught my attention and I turned to see this beautiful black and yellow Scott's Oriole (Icterus parisorum).

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 23
A view looking along a cliff near the Massacre Grounds.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 24
A view of the formations at the western edge of the Superstition Mountains with the outskirts of Apache Junction beyond.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 25


Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 26
As the trail heads back down our landmark spire comes back into view.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 27
A globemallow greets the hiker with a profusion of orange blossoms.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 28
A rock outcropping surrounded by yellow brittlebush.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 29
The southeastern face of the spire.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 30
Among the mass of brittlebush are a few dapples of orange from globemallow.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 31
The deep orange of this Desert Mariposa brightens an otherwise drab scene.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 32
A wall of brittlebush.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 33
And even more brittlebush with a touch of globemallow on the right.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 34
Yellow Menodora (Menodora scabra).

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 35
Closeup of Yellow Menodora, a bright yellow flower with reddish buds.

Massacre Grounds Trail: Image 36
Engelmann's Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii).

All images Copyright ©2008 Terry Wright. All rights reserved.