Jacob’s Cross Cut Trail

Jacob Waltz Crosscut Trail #58
Hiking the Crosscut Trail #58

The extreme weather is breaking; we can once again get into our regular hiking routine. The Superstition wilderness is so full of trails that we could hike a new one every day and still have plenty of unexplored terrain after a year.

On Saturday we selected an easy hike to begin building stamina. Jacob’s Crosscut Trail #58 is a five-mile, fairly flat run from the First Water Road to Broadway Road trailhead. It cuts across the foot of the mountain.

Four Peaks
Four Peaks in the distance

Many of the trails began as secret escape routes used by the Apache and Pima tribes after their raids. Both tribes consider the mountain sacred. Others are reminders of early crude gold mining methods – gouges were cut across the grain of the rock in search of gold veins. If a likely vein was discovered, the cut would change direction.

Jacob’s Crosscut Trail #58 is believed to be one of his early attempts at finding gold. We hiked about half of the trail, then doubled back. The desert vegetation is quite varied along this hike, and there is a wonderful view of Four Peaks off to the north.

Cholla after the rains
Cholla after the rains

Four Peaks is home to the only amethyst mine in the United States, and it is the only rare gem mine that can only be accessed by helicopter. The mine workers have to hike nine miles to get to work, and work in two-week shifts.

An hour into the hike we were startled by a loud bang and a scream. Base jumpers were leaping from the peak of the mountain – the bang was the chute opening and echoing off the face of the mountain. We watched as one after another leaped off the mountain top and free-fell half the way down before deploying their chutes.

tarantula hole
Tarantula hole

I spotted a tarantula hole. He was deep inside and wasn’t going to be tricked into coming out when I tapped the web.

All in all it was a nice hike. Next week we are planning on hiking the Massacre grounds. There is quite a story there.


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