Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
11,597.00 ft (3,534.77 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
61.00 mi (98.17 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The West Side Superstition Wilderness Loop is a 61-mile backpacking loop in the Superstition Mountains / Superstition Wilderness Area located within Tonto National Forest just east of Apache Junction and Phoenix, Arizona. Fall, winter, or early spring are the best times to enjoy this loop, which is home to wildflowers, jagged peaks, and the iconic Saguaro Cactus, one of the most recognizable plants of the Sonoran Desert. 

The Superstition Mountains are one of the most prominent and largest mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix and a popular destination for tourists and local outdoor enthusiasts. West Side Superstition Loop is a loop that combines several of the area's best hiking trails and is popular with trail runners, backpackers, hikers, mountain bikers, and treasure hunters. 

If you are interested in history, you will love the many myths and tales that have been told about this area, including the story of the Lost Dutchman gold mine. Many stories claim that Jacob Waltz ("the Dutchman") discovered a gold mine deep within the Superstition Mountains in the 1870s. Today, it is still rumored that treasure may be hidden within the beautiful and rugged 160,200 acre wilderness area. 

In and around the Superstition Wilderness Area are a variety of well maintained hiking trails that allow you to extend or shorten this loop in order to fit your agenda and meet your personal adventure needs. Backcountry permits are not required for overnight camping and the Broadway Trailhead (where the loop begins and ends) has a small parking area for overnight parking.

Year round water may be available from springs within the area, but make sure you do adequate research in advance and prepare to carry sufficient water with you. Potential water sources included along this loop are:

  • Charlebois Spring 

  • Brads Water 

  • La Barge Spring

  • Second Water

Those who are looking for a backpacking destination that is away from the freezing temperatures of winter, or that is away from the winter snowstorms, will find the Superstition Wilderness Area to be the ideal choice!

For more information about the wilderness area check out: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/specialplaces/?cid=fsbdev3_018739

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Fall
Spring

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

4

Pros

Mild Winters. Saguaro Cactus. Vast Landscapes. Jagged Peaks.

Cons

Lack of water. Hot Summers.

Trailhead Elevation

1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)

Highest point

4,809.00 ft (1,465.78 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas
Native artifacts
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Mine

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona

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