Massacre Grounds Trail

MODERATE 216 reviews
#3 of 11 trails in

Massacre Grounds Trail is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Tortilla Flat, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from January until January. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1089 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

trail running

cave

views

waterfall

wild flowers

rocky

In 1848 Mexican miners of the Peralta family were taking gold from the area when Apaches pinned them down against a black rock wall and the miners died there at a place that came to be known as the Massacre Grounds. The Dutchman Jacob Waltz allegedly came upon their goldmine but took its location to his grave.

3 days ago

It’s amazing to me that no one says anything about the primitive road that takes you to the trailhead. Maybe that’s common knowledge out in the superstitions, but anyway, getting to the trailhead is a bumpy and unpaved ride that can be done in a standard sedan but best with a high clearance vehicle.

The trail is nice and I wouldn’t say it was easy, more moderate. Definitely beats other trails in the valley in looks; lots of green even in the winter.

hiking
7 days ago

Gorgeous views!! Moderately difficult but worth the trek. Parts of the trail get a lil iffy to follow - many parts don’t have real definition of specific trail, so easy to veer off if you’re not careful. We’ll be back after some rainfall for sure!!

hiking
12 days ago

Gorgeous hike with gorgeous views- even when the water isn’t running. We clocked it at just under 6 miles round trip.

hiking
25 days ago

hiked this trail for the first time. easy enough to find the trailhead with the small parking lot. We followed the trail for miles and never saw any falls or anything in general that would mark the end of the trail. pretty easy trail but no satisfaction in the ending. just left wondering....

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Trail is easy to navigate. Beautiful views. Keep your eyes open for caves along the way. Also check out the caves just before the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this trail! Beautiful scenery. However I would like to go back during rain to see the waterfalls flowing. Was a pretty easy trail.

2 months ago

Beautiful trail. Dirt road to the parking lot was not bad at all as others suggested. No facilities so bring plenty of water.
Took my little boys and they managed just fine. Some parts had some loose rocks and they took a few small spills, also had a run in with a jumping cactus but hey, it’s hiking in the desert right? No complaints so for me, that’s a win!
Would definitely love to go back after some rain to see wildflowers and waterfall.

hiking
2 months ago

I agree with other reports as this should not be classified as easy. I have hiked this many times (going again this morning) and while a lot of it is flat or barely difficult, there are some very steep and risky switchbacks. It is worth the hike.
Also, this is not near tortilla flats, it’s on the outskirts of AJ, miles from Tortilla Flats.

One of my favorite parts is a hidden cave. Has anyone else found it?

hiking
2 months ago

A couple things that are deceiving/confusing on this write-up. One, I wouldn’t say it’s “near Tortilla Flats.” I’d say it’s near Apache Junction. Just outside of it, actually. I saw a previous review saying it was not an “easy” hike but should be classified as moderate. Perhaps. It’s not steep though, or dangerous as in you might fall off a cliff or anything, it’s just a decent length. If you have any hiking skills though, should be pretty easy. And after a rainfall, there’s a cool waterfall just off the trail that you can see from the trail and access with just a short stint off the main trail. It should be flowing even a few days after any kind of decent rainfall. Great trail to do at Sunrise. Very beautiful. Lots of saguaros.

hiking
3 months ago

NOT AN EASY TRAIL. SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS MODERATE.
This is an an awesome trail beautiful view at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

If you are prone to heat exhaustion do not do this trail after sunrise unless it's the cool Winter months ..I made the mistake of going in 90゚ weather and after 1.7 miles was so heat exhausted I had to turn around . 99% of the trail is in direct sunlight and there are not a lot of shady spots to rest. There are several spots with a lot of loose rock so wear good shoes. This is a great nature hike and I will go back when it's cooler

4 months ago

Two rattlesnake encounters, the trail was sometimes hard to find near the end. Wouldn't recommend

hiking
4 months ago

This is an easy trail I often like to do in the late afternoon/early evening after work. I love watching the sunset from here. I have seen rattlesnakes several times along the trail especially since I hike when the sun is going down so watch out. Other less scary critters I have seen are tarantulas, tailless whip scorpions, wolf spiders, bunnies, all manner of bugs and a mule deer once.

5 months ago

Rattlesnakes. Please be careful here.

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous trail, phenomenal views. Hiked this yesterday, right after a monsoon the night before. The falls were lightly running.

I know many have said the trail is hard to find here, that was not my experience. There are a few instances where the trail appears to fork but it's rather apparent just by a quick glance which forks off the trail lead to dead-ends.

I did not encounter many standing cairns along the trail; however, there were many locations where it was obvious a cairn once stood but had been knocked down.

My only complaint about this trail would be the amount of insects, primarily gnats, my hiking partner and I encountered along the trail. The gnats made it challenging and unpleasant to stop at any points, for breaks or to simply enjoy the view, because they swarmed in thick clouds. By the time we got to the car, we had the remains of what appeared to be hundreds of dead gnats stuck to our bodies, in our hair, our clothes, and so forth. Bug repellent was no deterrent for those guys, either.

One final note, we did encounter a rattlesnake about a quarter of the way down the trail, on the way back out. It was perched upon a boulder, located directly beside the trail in one of the many thick, bushy areas that the trail winds through.

5 months ago

Hiked up to the falls. Nice trickle of water coming down. Pretty refreshing, since it was a hot and humid day.

backpacking
8 months ago

Ups and downs. Tough enough to be fun but not overwhelming. Great views. At the Base of many of the rocky out crops lie caves. Interesting but be careful of course.

hiking
8 months ago

At times this trail gets a bit rugged. But it's easy to follow up and back. And there's a cool bit of history behind it too.

9 months ago

Good trail for my kids and I

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