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.
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.
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.
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
- The Camelback Mountain Hike in Phoenix, Arizona
- A Stellar Hike in the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona
- A Downloadable Guide to Hiking in the Grand Canyon
- Hiking Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, Arizona
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