Hiking the Superstition Mountains – Desert Backpacking in Arizona


Join Sara & I for 3 days of desert hiking, backpacking & camping in the Superstition Mountains. And who knows – maybe Sara will find the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. GPS Data at www.sintax77.com

Join Sara & I for 3 days of desert hiking, backpacking & camping in the Superstition Mountains. And who knows – maybe Sara will find the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine…

For this desert backpacking trip, we’ll be hiking a loop in the Superstition Wilderness, within the greater Tonto National Forest – about 60 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona. Not only was this a beautiful and scenic hike due to the stark desert surroundings and sharp, rugged peaks, but this particular region has added bonus – a rich history full of intrigue and lore right at home in your favorite spaghetti western flick…

For a easier read, with maps, pics, etc, check out the full blog post / trip report here: Below is a truncated version for YouTube:

…The most notable and famous of those stories being that of Jacob Waltz, or as it’s commonly referred to, the mystery of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold.
Somehow, Jacob knew where a bunch of gold was in these mountains, and he kept it a complete secret, despite rumors throughout the years that he knew about it’s location. People would try to follow him when he went into the mountains, but he always lost them, or at the least, waved a gun at them until they left. Finally, on his death bed in 1891, he confirmed the gold mine and gave some info on it’s whereabouts to two individuals. Apparently, it wasn’t quite enough info, because they never found it after years of searching. Word spread, many more people started searching, and they continue to search until this day…
So what does all this have to do with our backpacking trip? Did we find some gold or something? Am I devoting my life to finding the Lost Dutchman’s Mine? Well no, but it makes hiking around out there pretty cool and Old Westy, if you ask me. At the very least, it gives you something to ponder as you hike along the cactus covered traverses, baked incessantly by a sun they just may have glinted off of Jacob Waltz’s prize back in the 1800’s.
But anyway, back to the hike we did. Here’s the details…
Season / Time of Year: Winter – January 20th to January 23, 2016.
Elevation Range: Minimum – 2,283′ , Maximum – 3,550′
Trailhead Used – Peralta Trailhead – GPS Coordinates N33° 23.858′ W111° 20.873′

Trails Used Day 1 (in order of use)
Peralta Trailhead Parking Lot,
Dutchman Trail
Set up camp in a relatively flat area along the trail, about .75 miles after crossing an intermittent stream.
Day 1 Total Mileage: 2 miles
Day 1 Total Elevation Gain: 344′

Trails Used Day 2 (in order of use)
Continue on Dutchman Trail
Whiskey Springs Trail.
Trail crosses LeBarge Creek (where we stocked up on water)
Red Tanks Trail.
Dutchman Trail.
Set up camp along Dutchman Trail.
Day 2 Total Mileage: 10 miles
Day 2 Total Elevation Gain: 1,325′

Trails Used Day 3 (in order of use)
Continue on Dutchman Trail
Bull Pass Trail
Black Top Mesa Trail, towards the top of Black Top Mesa
Explore the mesa and hunt for the Spanish Hieroglyphs or maybe some of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold, etc.
Back down Black Top Mesa Trail.
Unofficial Bull Pass Alternate Trail
Dutchman Trail.
Terrapin Trail.
Bluff Springs Trail.
Return to Peralta Trailhead parking lot.

Day 3 Total Mileage: 15 miles (plus a couple miles of meandering about on Blacktop Mesa)
Day 3 Total Elevation Gain: 2,933 feet
Trip Grand Total Mileage: 27 Miles
Trip Grand Total Elevation Gain: 4,662′

Notable Gear Used on this Trip:
Nemo Losi 3p Tent
Sara’s backack – ULA Ohm 2.0
Sintax77’s backpack – EMS Longtrail 70 and a Ribz Front Pack
Generic canister stove
Vargo 450ml titanium cups
Toaks 750ml titanium cook pot
Sea to Summit Alpha Light spoons (long version)
Plenty of various sized Platypus Bags for water storage.
Fozzils Bowlz for eating our chili and queso appetizer
Packit Gourmet dehydrated meals
Sara’s sleeping pad – Big Agnes Q-Core SL
Sintax77’s sleeping pads – Thermarest Z-Lite on top of a Klymit Inertia X-Frame
Hammock Gear Burrow top quilts
Montbell UL Down Parkas
Sawyer Squeeze water filter configured in a gravity setup

Highly recommended book for hikes in this area: ‘Hiker’s Guide to the Superstition Wilderness‘



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