East of Mesa in the Southeast Valley lies the Superstition Mountains, also known as the “The Superstitions.” The Superstition Mountain is the anchor to a beautiful, historically rich wilderness area with wide variety of trails to offer hikers with varying levels of difficulty. In 1939 the wilderness area was established and in 1964 it was expanded to its current size of 160,200 acres. Folklore says the Superstition Mountains acquired its unusual name because of the Lost Dutchman who supposedly discovered a rich gold mine in the mountains in the 1800’s and took its location to his grave. The tale continues that people are still searching for this phantom gold mine today while dying in their search.
There are more than a half a dozen trails throughout the superstition Mountains. Two of my favorite are the the Treasure Loop Trail and the Siphon Draw Trail (both of which I survived!)
Treasure Loop Trail
Treasure Loop Trail is 2.4 miles round trip with an elevation gain of only 500 ft. The trail begins in the Lost Dutchman State Park and heads up towards the Praying Hands, one of the Superstition Mountains’ most recognizable rock formations, before looping around back to the parking lot again. The gentle, steady incline makes this a perfect trail for children and all levels of hikers.
Siphon Draw Trail
The Siphon Draw is appropriately named for its ability to “drain off”, or siphon, water from a large area on Superstition Mountains. A little rain will result in water being siphoned into the canyon draw and flow over the slick rocks. If you are fortunate to hike Siphon Draw just after a rain storm, you will likely see waterfalls running through the Basin. This hike also begins at Lost Dutchman State Park. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow for the first mile as you begin your hike to the Basin, which sits at about 3,100 ft. elevation. It’s important to note that the trail is not maintained past the Basin, which is the stopping point for this trail. This trail continues onto the Flatiron, but only experienced hikers should attempt the full hike because the trail is steep and difficult past the basin. I have not hiked past the basin, but I hear the hike is worth the challenge!
There is a fee of $7 per car for entrance into Lost Dutchman State Park. Trails from the Lost Dutchman open at sunrise and close at 10pm, year-round. For additional information and driving directions, visit:azstateparks.com