Just east of Mesa, Arizona, lie the Superstition Mountains, commonly known as "The Superstitions." Superstition Mountain itself is the anchor to this strangely beautiful, historically rich wilderness area. With incredible landmarks such as Weaver's Needle, years of fascinating history about hidden treasure, lost mines, death, and new development, this area has attracted visitors from all over the world for centuries.
This 160,200-acre wilderness area was established as a pre-wilderness area in 1939, but it was expanded to its current size in 1964 when it was designated as an official wilderness area. Lost Dutchman State Park offers camping opportunities for tent users and RV campers as well as picnic areas for day use visitors. Just remember, this is the desert. If you bring your pet, don't leave them in the heat! Stay hydrated, and camp during the fall, spring, or winter. The summer heat is unforgiving and is merciless on unprepared visitors.
Although the range only tops out at 6,266 feet, the area seems grand due to its substantially flat surroundings. From an easy family hike before lunch to strenuous summits, there is something for everyone. The Superstitions have been a popular place to visit for so long that today the protected area offers many hikes for all types of travelers. Ready to get out there? Here are six of our favorite hikes!
The Treasure Loop Trail is a 2.4-mile loop hike at the west base of the Superstition Mountains. Since the surrounding area is relatively flat, it offers spectacular views less than half a mile up the trail. An easy to moderate day hike, Treasure Loop is a must-do for all outdoor enthusiasts. It is family and pet friendly, incredibly scenic, and rich with gold-mining history and the Lost Dutchman's Buried Treasure. There is a lot to see and do around the area.
If it's a little to hot for an open air hike, meander into Siphon Draw Trail! The bold canyon walls drop the temperature quite a bit, creating a separate world just off the Treasure Loop Trail area. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction. The slick rock can be a bit tricky even when it's dry. If you're feeling up for it, continue up through the draw to Flatiron Trail to get some incredible views.
The Flatiron Trail is not for the faint of heart. It has a 2,781-foot vertical ascent in only 3 miles, there are hardly any switchbacks, and there is some technical scrambling; this trail will be one you will never forget. Don't let that discourage you, though! The 360-degree view at the top is differently a bucket-list item and should not be missed.
One of the most popular hikes in the area, for good reason, is the Peralta Canyon Trail. This hike offers spectacular scenery and moderate difficulty for a great day hike option during the fall, winter, and spring months. Although it can be quite crowded on the weekends during the peak season, the views from the saddle are absolutely worth it. It is a great place to escape in the Superstition Wilderness!
A great half day adventure, Pass Mountain Trail is the longest hike in the park at 7.5 miles with approximately 710 feet of elevation gain. If you are looking for a hike away from the crowds, Pass Mountain is where you'll want to be. With lower congestion than some of the shorter, easier hikes in the area, you can get a quiet experience in this beautiful desert landscape.
Not enough time to do a 7-mile loop? Maybe Cat Peaks Trail in the nearby Usery Mountains is right for you. Starting at the Pass Mountain Trailhead, head east on the trail for 0.6 miles, then follow the Cat Peaks junction right. A 2.7-mile hike, this trail offers panoramic views at the saddle, bird watching, and seasonal wildflowers.
No matter your ability, the Superstition Wilderness has a day hike for you! Remember to bring extra water, comfortable shoes, and a hat. This desert world offers unbeatable landscapes...just remember to prepare for the summer heat!