Massacre Falls

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Massacre Falls, arguably the most well-known waterfall in the Superstition Mountains, is particularly enchanting during the wet season. With a height of about 150 feet, it offers a dramatic sight, especially against the rugged backdrop of the northern Superstitions. The waterfall gets its name from a legendary massacre that is said to have occurred in the area, adding historical intrigue to its natural beauty.

Historical Backdrop: The name “Massacre Falls” traces back to a grim event in the 1840s involving the wealthy Peralta family, who ventured into the region for gold mining but met a violent end at the hands of the Apache. Today, the trail to the waterfall stands in peaceful contrast to its turbulent past, offering a tranquil experience for hikers.

The journey to Massacre Falls involves a 5.5-mile round-trip hike on the Massacre Falls trail, with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain. Starting from the First Water Trailhead near Apache Junction, the hike is moderately challenging, requiring good fitness and sturdy hiking shoes. The trail may be rocky and steep in parts, so caution is advised for all hikers. The drive to the falls includes a bit of off-roading but can be handled by most passenger vehicles.

Massacre Falls, in the Tonto National Forest, flows beautifully after rain, cascading down a cliff surrounded by volcanic rocks and desert. Best seen from late fall to early spring, it forms stunning cascades into a large pool. Even without water, the hike through the Superstition Wilderness is incredibly beautiful and rewarding.


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