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A Day Hike in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains

Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, located less than an hour’s drive away from both Phoenix and Scottsdale are a great destination for a day hike.

Plan to start in Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction. Most of the trails in the park take you into the Superstition Wilderness and Tonto National Forest in short order.

We had planned to hike the Siphon Draw Trail. Although it starts off on level ground via the Discovery Interpretative Trail in no time you start to gain some altitude. All told there is a gain of 1000 feet over two miles one way.

"The Superstition Mountains"

The Superstition Mountains

Easy trails near the parking lot

Easy trails near the parking lot

The trail offers scenic vistas over the desert but as you hike higher the scene in front of you becomes particularly interesting. If we’d had more time and enthusiasm on the day we hiked we could have continued from the end of the maintained Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the Flatiron – a hike that would be a total of 6 miles round trip. The final mile to the top of the Flatiron is steep with an elevation gain of another 1000 feet. You need a solid 5-6 hours to hike to the top of the Flatiron and back.

"Boundary marker for the Superstition Mountains"

"Civilization does not seem very far away"

Civilization does not seem very far away

"A view out to the plains"

A view out to the flat country

"Heading up the Siphon Draw Trail"

Heading up the Siphon Draw Trail towards the Flatiron

"The terrain is very rugged the higher you go"

The terrain is very rugged the higher you go

"Looks like an eye in the rock face"

Looks like an eye in the rock face

We elected to vary our return and chose to hike the Jacob’s Crosscut Trail to the Treasure Loop Trail. Both were much easier than the Siphon Draw Trail and very pretty with some flowers blooming even in late December. It would be a spectacular area to visit in the spring.

"Loved the shape of this saguaro"

Loved the shape of this saguaro

"Trail map of Lost Dutchman State Park"

Trail map of Lost Dutchman State Park

There is an entrance fee of $6 per vehicle to Lost Dutchman State Park. It’s also possible to camp.

The Superstition Mountains offer the possibility of much more than just day hikes. REI offers a 4 day backpacking trip where you don’t have to retrace your steps. After looking at their trip description – which includes hikes past the Miner’s Needle and a traverse of the Boulder Canyon Trail with views of the Weaver’s Needle, I am thinking that one winter John and I need to do a whole lot more exploring.

Have you done any hiking in the Superstition Mountains?

Other posts related to Arizona you might like:

A Day Hike in Arizona's Superstition Mountains

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Jackie Smith says:

    Beautiful photos, Leigh. This one goes in the Arizona ‘futures’ file!

  • The Superstition Mountains are a familiar sight for me since my sister lives in Apache Junction and has a view from her house. I’ve never hiked there (she has) and will have to do that next time. Great views.

  • Mike says:

    This is so awesome, Leigh, and brought back more great memories. You’ve been doing that lately in your posts! I already shared as to why I was in Phoenix a lot many years ago. And we absolutely hiked up into The Superstitions (as the locals called them) a couple of times. Just a casual jaunt nothing hard core. I got a huge smile on my face first when I saw the title of the post then especially when I saw the picture with the Wilderness sign! Thank you :)

  • Hi Leigh, what a spectacular day hike. The landscape looks dramatic the further up you go. I’d love to explore this area one day. I looked up the REI link you provided. It’s definitely something to consider.

    • @Marisol Doesn’t that REI 4 day hike look awesome especially at this time of year or perhaps in the spring when it’s still cool enough to hike without worrying so much about dropping dead from heat stroke.

  • Love the clear blue sky in the photos. Quite a beautiful place so close to Phoenix. I now know where to go the next time I find myself in Arizona. It definitely looks like a 3-4 day hike is in order.

    • @Ted I first heard about them a few years ago when someone on Twitter pointed me to the Apache Trail – a fantastic drive that begins close to the park. I definitely recommend some time in here – when it’s cold and miserable in Chicago.

  • We want to head to Phoenix and Tucson early this spring. Great to know about these. Love the photos.

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