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A Day Hike In Arizona’s Superstition Mountains

A Day Hike in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains

Hiking the Superstition Mountains in Arizona for a few hours, a day or via a multi-day backpacking trip is a great way to experience the beauty of the landscape for locals and visitors alike. The mountains are located less than an hour’s drive away from both Phoenix and Scottsdale. 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.

Early spring and late fall is the ideal time to go hiking in the Superstition Mountains. Avoid the summer when the heat can be brutal. If you love wildflowers, make a point of hiking in spring.

Beautiful landscape entering the Superstition Mountains
Beautiful landscape entering the Superstition Mountains

The Siphon Draw Trail

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 option to hike to the top of the Flatiron in the Superstition Mountains

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 1,000 feet. You need a solid 5-6 hours to hike to the top of the Flatiron and back.

Hiking Superstition Mountains in this beautiful landscape is a treat
Beautiful landscape entering the Superstition Mountains
Hiking Superstition Mountains and civilization does not seem very far away
Civilization does not seem very far away
A view out to the flat country
A view out to the flat country
Heading up the Siphon Draw Trail towards the Flatiron
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

The Jacob’s Crosscut – Treasure Loop Trail

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

Camping in the Superstition Mountains

There is an entrance fee of $7 per vehicle to Lost Dutchman State Park. It’s also possible to camp.

Campsite reservations are available online or you can call the Arizona State Parks Reservation Desk at 1-877-MY PARKS from 7 AM to 7 PM Arizona time. There is a non-refundable reservation fee of $5 per campsite.

You’ll find 138 campsites, about half of which have hookups while the others are for tents or RV’s not requiring hookups. Each site comes with a picnic table and fire pit. Pets are allowed on a leash.

Longer trips hiking in the Superstition Mountains

The Superstition Mountains offer the possibility of much more than just day hikes. Several companies offer hikes including a 4 day backpacking trip with REI and then 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.

If you have time 

While it’s a drive rather than a hike I highly recommend driving the stunning Apache Trail as it starts from nearby Apache Junction. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the state and a good add-on to a shorter hike.

And don’t miss a stop in nearby Mesa as there’s plenty to do here. I particularly recommend the night sky experience.

Further reading on hikes in Arizona

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A day hike in Arizona's gorgeous Superstition Mountains

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. 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.

  2. 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 🙂

    1. @Mike I would have loved to go to the top of Flatiron Mountain for the view – and the exercise but it was not the day for us to do it. After reading about REI’s 4 day tour I feel like I have a whole lot more to explore in the area.

    1. @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.

  3. 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.

    1. @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.

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