About Supersition Mountains
Situated 50 miles east of Phoenix, AZ, this Supersition Mountains is one of the best hiking areas within an hour’s drive of any major city in the USA.
Ranging in elevation from 2000 to 6265 feet, the Superstition Wilderness Area has 160,000 acres protected as a National Forest.
As one of Arizona’s most rugged ranges, the Superstitions offer many miles of hiking, on designated trails.
Formed by volcanic eruptions 30 million years ago, the Superstition Mountains are home to impressive rock walls, jagged hoodoos of rock, and narrow twisting canyons.
As with most of the terrain surrounding the Phoenix area, the Superstitions’ have a desert climate, with high summer temperatures, with many days reaching 110f.
The best time for hiking is from October through May, although cold nights, torrential rain, and snowstorms can occasionally occur.
This is a true desert hiking area, and although it’s close to a city it doesn’t mean the preparation should be any less than travelling in any other wilderness area.
Safety on Superstition Mountains Hiking Trails
Many backcountry travelers have become lost amongst the confusing spires during the scorching heat of summer.
Insure that you have ample water, as there are only a few perennial sources in this region that you can rely on.
Although all designated trails are signed you may find yourself confused or lost in the wilderness. Insure that before you head out on your hike you leave your itinerary with someone back home. Stick to your itinerary and register at trailheads where asked. Insure you have an accurate up to date topographical map and know where you are at all times.
Stay on the designated trails. Pack adequate water, food, clothing and emergency gear. Remember to plan ahead and prepare to take responsibility for your own safety!
Superstition Mountains Hiking Trails
There is a network of over 180 miles of National Forest System Trails serving this wilderness area and surrounding region. The trail conditions vary from excellent to poor. Signs are installed at all junctions, but many have been vandalized or stolen.
In addition, there are many miles of non-maintained paths on maps that may be anything from abandoned roadbeds to the remains of old wildlife trails. Carry and know how to use a GPS device or compass to insure you are on the right path.
The following trails are well marked and suitable for day hikes.
The Peralta Trailhead is located east of Mesa AZ in the Superstition Wilderness, 7.3 miles north of Highway 60 (Superstition Highway) on Peralta Road.
The Peralta Trail is located on the southwest edge of the Superstition Wilderness. It stretches 6.2 miles through two diversely vegetated canyons highlighted by Weavers Needle, a 4,553′ spire that towers over the landscape.
Visitors will enjoy varied terrain, terrific views and useful insight to the canyons’ complex volcanic origin.
The trail begins at the mouth of Peralta Canyon and climbs steadily on a rugged, heavily vegetated path.
Oak and mesquite cover portions of the trail along the canyon’s seasonally flowing creek. The trail follows Boulder Canyon Creek past several backcountry campsites, which are generally located in level pockets of vegetation by the creek.
The trail leads to the Peralta – Dutchman Trail junction on the floor of Boulder Canyon.
Return the way you came, or form a loop by taking the Dutchman Trail to the Terrapin and Bluff Spring trails back to the trailhead. Though comparable in distance, this loop option is much more challenging, with several steep climbs and vague sections along the way.
Boulder Canyon Trail
The Canyon Lake Trailhead is located 14.1 miles north of Highway 60 on Hwy 88. The trailhead is on the south shore of Canyon Lake across from the marina.
The Boulder Canyon Trail runs 7.6 miles south from Canyon Lake Trailhead to the Dutchman’s Trail in the Superstition Wilderness. This challenging trail climbs steeply from the lake before dropping into La Barge Canyon and making its way into Boulder Canyon. It continues on an oscillating, oft-rugged path deep into the backcountry.
Boulder Canyon is a popular backpacking destination with fairly reliable water, and many good campsites to choose from.
Though well marked by cairns, anticipate brief vague and overgrown sections once in the canyon, as cairns may be difficult to see in this indistinguishable landscape.
The First Water Trailhead is located east of Mesa AZ in the Superstition Wilderness, just north of Lost Dutchman State Park.
The Dutchman’s Trail, Black Mesa Trail and Second Water Trail form a moderate 9.3-mile loop highlighted by diverse vegetation and varied terrain throughout. These trails begin from the First Water Trailhead, which is the western gateway to the Superstition Wilderness.
These network of trails lead through a maze of canyons, washes, mesas and buttes in the backcountry. The trail crosses seasonal pools and drops ruggedly from Parker Pass with emerging view of Weavers Needle.
You will notice large concentrations of teddy bear cholla and barrel cactus on this final stretch of this hike.
Lost Goldmine Trail
The Hieroglyphics – Lost Goldmine Trailhead is located on Cloudview Ave in Gold Canyon on the SW edge of the Superstition Wilderness.
The Lost Goldmine Trail runs 5.85 miles east from the Hieroglyphics – Lost Goldmine Trailhead in Gold Canyon to Peralta Road. It passes through a rolling bajada in Barkley Basin on the southwest edge of the Superstition Wilderness.
The trail features an abundant collection of cholla, ocotillo, barrel cactus, saguaro, palo verde and mesquite.
This food-rich region supports jackrabbit, coyote, javelina and a variety of snakes and raptors.
The Hieroglyphics – Lost Goldmine Trailhead sees heavy use, especially on weekends. Arrive early to insure parking and to avoid the crowds.
Reavis Ranch Trail
Roger’s trough trailhead: US-60 East from Apache Junction 18 miles to Queen Valley Road. Follow Queen Valley road for 1.8 miles to FR357. Turn right and go 3 miles. Make a left onto FR172 and drive 9.3 miles. Make a right onto FR172A and travel 3.9 miles to the trailhead. 4-wheel drive vehicle is suggested for the last 3.9 miles to get to the trailhead.
This is a pleasant hike through the Eastern Superstitions and takes the southern section of the Reavis Ranch Trail northbound to the old abandoned Reavis Ranch homestead.
From Rogers Trough trailhead take the Reavis Ranch trail north into Rogers Canyon. This will be downhill as you pass the West Pinto Trail.
At about 5.5 miles you’ll cross the creek and at 6 miles arrive at the Fire Line trail intersection.
From here you quickly enter the main meadow on which the ranch is located. There is an abundance of camping spots in this popular area.
This is the turn around point and a great place to explore the apple orchards and the many scenic spots along the creek for a well-deserved lunch break
Superstition Mountains Overnight Backpacking Trips
Arizona Hiking Adventures offers exciting, all-inclusive, fully guided backpacking trips into the Superstition Wilderness area. These overnight trips range from 2-days/1 night to 4-days/3 nights. Throughout these adventures you will have many photo opportunities, observing some of Arizona’s finest scenery, historical and spiritual ruins with occasional wildlife spotting’s.
Contact us for full details and complete itineraries, for these backpacking trips in the Superstition Mountains.