Arizona’s Superstition Mountains

Hiking and Exploring Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness Area

The Superstition Mountains, located near Phoenix, Arizona, offer both hikers and treasure-seekers hours of fun and excitement.

At the eastern edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area, a huge mountain rises up from the desert floor – the Superstition Mountains. The Superstition Mountains’ beauty is apparent at first glance, but the history of the area runs deep. The Superstition wilderness area is a favorite among both outdoors people and treasure-seekers alike.

Superstition Mountain History

The Superstition Mountains got their name, in part, by the Pima Indians that inhabited the area in the 1800s. Farmers in the area heard stories about the Pima’s fear of the mountains and felt that they were unfounded; that the Pima Indians were being superstitious. The farmers dubbed the mountains the Superstition Mountains.

Superstition Mountains Treasure

To this day, treasure-seekers set off into the mountains in search of lost gold. The story of the Lost Dutchman keeps their hopes alive. Rumor has it that in the 1840s, the Peralta family of Mexico found gold in the mountains and subsequently built up enormous wealth. This family business was short-lived; in 1848, as the family made it’s way back to Mexico, they were ambushed and massacred by a band of Apache Indians. Word of the Peralta’s demise, and the fact that the mine was no longer claimed, spread quickly. In the 1870s, Jacob Waltz (a German immigrant), was rumored to have found the mine and ultimately hid the gold in various spots throughout the Superstition wilderness area. Waltz was eventually dubbed the “Lost Dutchman” and he took his story of hidden gold to his death. Nearly 130 years later, adventurers still head off into the rugged Superstition Mountains in search of the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Hiking the Superstition Mountains

In addition to treasure-seekers, the Superstition Mountains also lure in avid hikers. The Superstition wilderness area spreads across more than 160,000 acres and features hiking trails for amateurs and experts alike. One of the most popular hikes is the Peralta Trail. This hike is a bit over six miles in length and has an elevation range of 2,400 to 3,760 feet. Another popular destination is Hieroglyphic Trail; this trail is great for all fitness levels with a length of only 1.1 miles. Hikers are rewarded at the end of the trail by Indian petroglyphs. More information on hiking in the Superstition Mountains can be found at the Tonto National Forest website.

The Superstition Mountains are just one of the many beautiful outdoor recreation areas that Arizona has to offer. For more information on other Arizona outdoor vacation spots read the article: Arizona Outdoors Vacation.


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