Battleship Mountain

HARD 46 reviews
#5 of 27 trails in

Battleship Mountain is a 11.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Apache Junction, Arizona that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until May.

DISTANCE
11.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1863 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

trail running

river

views

wild flowers

bugs

rocky

scramble

off trail

no shade

no dogs

It's easy to lose the trail and get too far right of the riverbed after leaving Second Water Trail for the Canyon trail. There is no marked trail up Battleship Mountain when you get there. Get ready to bushwhack and scramble. Epic achievement and breathtaking views. The terrain changes quite a few times from the beginning to the top. Wear long pants as there are a lot of dead weeds with thorns that attach to your shoes and socks. There is sometimes water along the way, but bring your own to be safe. Once you get to Boulder Canyon, the rocks cairns showing the trail are easy to miss and then it basically becomes rough boulder hiking down the canyon until you pick up the trail as it crosses again. Stay on the trail and watch for the cairns in BC. The advice the stay to the left side of the river is on point as that that is where the hike to up the battleship starts.

12 days ago

I rated this 5 stars due to the views and how many landmarks you see along the way that call to be explored.

That being said, trekking through boulder canyon sucks. Especially in nike runners (my mistake). Definitely use boots on this trail and be prepared for lots of rock hopping.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike. closer to 12 miles not 11.5 not that it makes a huge difference. Once you hit the ridge it's a bit of choose your own adventure of going boulder hoping or staying low on dirt.

hiking
1 month ago

I say it’s easy till you climb up, then it’s boulder hopping, I had to return for family or else I would of stayed longer. . The views take your breathe away, don’t do this trail in the heat. Bring more water than you think is required, bring snacks and enjoy. It was great to hike with some fearless souls. I will be back!!!!!!

2 months ago

We did this hike over the weekend. In my opinion it's not that hard..... just really long. We clocked 13 miles total roundtrip. But most of it is flat, so it's not crazy taxing. The only real elevation gain is the very end when you climb the battleship. There are a few places where you have to do some rockclimbing. Nothing to where you need ropes, but if you aren't comfortable with 3-4 move bouldering, this hike will be scary for you. The top of battleship is worth the scramble! Gorgeous views of the superstition wilderness! I brought a gallon of water and finished it by the time we reached the car.

2 months ago

This was a hard hike for sure! The trail down to the mountain itself isn’t bad at all. Once you get to boulder canyon trail follow the tips and stay left so you don’t miss the turn for battleship, although I will say we never really found much of a trail. We made our way up without a path and once we got to the top we saw what looked like a trail. You have to climb a little to get to the actual top, it is not too bad though. We followed the cairns we found at the top down and somehow got lost again lol but finally made it down. Amazing views overall. It says 10.8 but we clocked 12 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

Don’t underestimate the class 3 rating. I would rate it class 4. Very scary but glad I did it. Lots of exposure and more than 3 move climbing

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views at the top. Definitely worth the trek. Followed the trail on here for the ascent which was way off. There are cairns marked and I would follow those, although others have said they are hard to find. We found them on the way down which was a much easier trail. Overall worth it if you don’t get frustrated and enjoy being outdoors.

hiking
3 months ago

This trek is lengthy, but most rewarding. Once at the summit the views are breathtaking of Canyon Lake, Black Masa, LaBarge Canyon and of course Weavers Needle. We started the hike at the First Water parking and headed for Second Water. Rock hoping up Boulder Canyon to south most point of Battleship Mountain where you find a large stand cairn. The well defined trail heads towards LaBarge Canyon. Once to highest point of this trail, flattop of trail, proceed to the spine of Battleship Mt.

hiking
4 months ago

views are 5 star. totally worth the hike.. getting there and back whole other story. The Cairns markings are pathetic and agreed with others hard to find and keep track of. was very easy to get off course. you would be better off pre planning and setting your own way points then try and follow those. best bet know where it ends and make your own path. not sure how this app tracks the route so poorly but Endomondo clocked it at 11 miles. so some prepared for a farther distance. for me personally after 8 miles of constantly being in and trekking over boulder fields was glad to get out of the canyon. I'd say it's a good one timer, doubt I would do it again so many more better ones around..

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely as advertised! Bring several maps or route descriptions with you to cross reference. Start EARLY - you will need all day and you don’t want to caught on the mountain when the sun goes down! Bring lots of water and shoes you’re ready to rock climb in...if it starts to seem TOO scary, you may have gone astray from the trail, so check again...but there are scary bits for sure that can’t be gotten around except by just doing them (especially the two crack climbs, one at the very beginning of the hard part and one very close to the summit, plus the second narrow part aka balance beam of doom!). Be careful out there!!!

4 months ago

Was i nice hike with a little bit of exposure.

5 months ago

Difficult and fun!

Two days later and I’m still sore. I’m short though and had to really stretch to reach footholds on the way up and back down. Definitely glad I did this hike as part of a decent sized group and on a cooler day. We lost the trail a couple of times - pay attention as it weaves back and forth across the creek bed so you don’t miss the cairns. Pack plenty of water!! I had taken 3L of water and still ran out about 1/3 of a mile before reaching the trailhead. Also recommend electrolytes on this one.

hiking
5 months ago

I will admit, the first 3/4 of this hike seemed to me like fairly typical "Arizona backcountry"... chaparral environment with a fairly well-walked trail. But then, once I started to descend into the river bottom and traversing the river back and forth, I could start to understand the trail rating. It is almost too easy for an ambitious hiker to lose sight of the cairns marking the uphill part to Battleship. My hiking partner and I walked right by it, and our cellphone GPS were not tracking correctly. The result, following other cairns about 1 mile too far up the dry riverbed, and having to double back. Not a huge error, but the weather was in our favor (overcast and cool). I imagine the frustration and danger that a hotter day could have caused as we would have been sucking down additional water and burning out our legs.
Hiking past the uphill part of the trailhead was our own error. Once we got back on track, the hike starts to take on a very different, "experts only" type of status. The mountain itself is NOT for an inexperienced hiker. Even at the very base of the rock, where you begin climbing up, there are multiple places where a fall would mean a bad injury. The rock is very, very old and made up of a lot of weathered, volcanic stone that easily comes away in your hand, so you should always watch where you grab/step. Additionally, as you head north/northwest out toward the promontory of the rock there are multiple NO FALL zones. Making a mistake here would equal death, no question.
All in all, was this hike exhilarating? Yes! Is it worth the effort to have possibly one of the best "extreme" Arizona hikes that you can make a day trip of? Yes! Should you be very mindful about the skill of your group when considering this hike? YES!!!

hiking
5 months ago

I think this hike has a little of everything in it from easy to hard, but is well worth it, even for novice hikers. The distance is more like 11.5 Miles out and back. Once you get to Boulder Canyon, the rocks cairns showing the trail are easy to miss and then it basically becomes rough boulder hiking down the canyon until you pick up the trail as it crosses again. Stay on the trail and watch for the cairns in BC. The advice the stay to the left side of the river is on point as that that is where the hike to up the battleship starts. The climb is worth it for the view.

hiking
6 months ago

look for big Cairns up high on cliffs to split off Boulder canyon at the correct spot to find the trail up

the map ends but there appears to be a way to the true peak

hiking
11 months ago

It was one of the hardest hiking trail I ever done and I loved it. It was a little tricky to find out how to get on top, but then just an amazing place.

hiking
Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's easy to lose the trail and get too far right of the riverbed after leaving Second Water Trail for the Canyon trail. Guess the Stay Left mantra with the Sups holds true here. There is no marked trail up Battleship Mountain when you get there. Get ready to bushwhack and scramble. Epic achievement and breathtaking views.

hiking
Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A great challenging trail that's almost scary in a few areas (cliff like sides on the ridge like area and two areas of almost "wall" where you'll need to do a little rock climbish). Even in February, it was still hot with very little shade so bring plenty of water. I brought close to 4 litres of water and finished it completely when I completed the trail (I could have even brought more). After climbing the first "wall", soak in the Weaver's Needle view and the La Barge Box area. Do explore the area once near the summit (you'll see canyon lake once you're close to summit). Fantastic 360 views of superstitions! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

I loved this hike! The trek to the river is easy and delivers amazing views. The difficulty picks up slightly due to a lack of trail maintenance, keep your eyes out for markers and follow the river. There is some rock climbing involved at some decent heights, so if you don't feel comfortable with heights this may be where you want to stop. It's a beautiful landscape with rewarding views all around. So far it's been my favorite hike so far.

hiking
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Extremely hard and dangerous. Trail not well marked. You can easy get lost here. If you make it to top you will be rewarded with awesome views. Bring plenty of water and keep cool, there’s always water in the creek.
Watch out for snakes too!

hiking
Thursday, March 02, 2017

hiking
Thursday, June 23, 2016

This hike scared my half to death. You hike down into a dry riverbed, follow that for a few miles before ascending Battleship Rock. Everything before the rock is standard, pretty easy downhill then to flat and rocky. Hiking up the mountain is terrifying. There are many points where you need to use your whole body climbing up boulders. Most of the way up has a super steep drop below, where you will most likely not survive if you fall. That was my biggest problem. I've never been so scared during a hike before. It offers great views of Weaver's Needle at the top, which make it all worthwhile. I would recommend for experienced hikers only who are not clumsy or afraid of heights!

hiking
Sunday, May 19, 2013

This was a great hike and not easy. The views from the top are just amazing. From the top you can see Weavers Needle then turn around and your looking at Canyon Lake. This hike I want to do again in early spring when all the flowers are in bloom.

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