The Peralta Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Superstition Wilderness outside of Phoenix, and for good reason. This hike is one of the gateways into the 160,000-acre wilderness just an hour's drive from Phoenix and offers spectacular scenery and a moderate difficulty for the day hiker. The parking lot can be pretty full on a weekday in the high season (winter and spring), and you are guaranteed to be part of a large crowd of hikers if you visit on a weekend. This hike is not to be missed for it's scenic value and the satisfaction of reaching "the saddle" for spectacular views of the Weaver's Needle formation and the Superstition Wilderness beyond.
The trailhead has one main and one overflow parking lot, and on busy days there is a ranger at the trailhead to suggest hikes and offer advice. No permit or fee is required, but a log book should be filled out for each hiking party. The trail presents a gradual ascent for the entire 2.25 miles up to Fremont Saddle, and the last quarter mile is pretty steep. The trail begins following the east side of the gully at the bottom of Peralta Canyon and crosses over to the west side of the canyon less than a mile up. Much of the canyon is sprinkled with interesting rock formations, and the views of the canyon below get better as the trail climbs higher. At the top, the hiker is rewarded with a panoramic view of Weaver's Needle, the 1,000-foot rock formation that figures strongly in the local lore about the lost Dutchman's gold mine. The needle is rumored to contain rich deposits of gold and is possibly the hiding place for gold artifacts from the Spanish occupation of the area in the 1700s.
There are generally several people resting at the saddle, as this is turnaround spot for most hikers. Another mile or so will lead to the base of the Weaver's Needle and some of the hundreds of miles of trails in the Superstition Mountains.