Hiking Phoenix – Superstition Mountains

In the first installment of our hiking Phoenix series, we showcased the luscious green and dazzling splendor of Devil’s Canyon followed by the stunning 12-mile gorge, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert, Aravaipa.

Continuing on with our Hiking Phoenix series, today we would like to take you on an exploration of the Superstition Mountains and Weaver’s Needle Loop. Enjoy!

hiking-in-PhoenixJust 45 miles east of metropolitan Phoenix lies a magnificent range of mountains, standing in splendid isolation. It is a place of mystery, of legend and lore, the Superstition Wilderness. The range is comprised of thousands of cliffs, peaks, plateaus and mesas and even today, much of it remains largely unexplored.

Rumor has it that there exists a great gold mine hidden in these mountains like no other that has ever been seen. It’s been called The Lost Dutchman Mine, one of America’s most haunting mysteries.

In the heart of the wilderness rises a fantastic spire, the most distinctive landmark in the Superstitions. Prospectors dubbed it Weaver’s Needle, an extinct volcanic core which juts up from the surrounding desert like a finger pointing upward. It has also been referred to as the finger of God.

A spectacular hike can be had from a popular trailhead which leads around Weavers Needle. Begin your hiking Phoenix on the signed Peralta Trail (#102). For the first mile and a half the trail follows Peralta Creek. You’ll then start to climb more steeply, utilizing a few switchbacks, until you reach Fremont Saddle. An invigorating view of Weavers Needle, flanked by slews of volcanic hoodoos, will be the main draw at the saddle.

After soaking up the splendor and catching your breath, continue down the Peralta Trail. The route will track left of the Needle and will descend to the base of Blacktop Mesa to a signed junction with the Dutchman’s Trail (#104). Don’t take the Dutchman’s Trail but turn left skirting the perimeter of the Mesa instead. After .8 miles you will reach a junction with the Bull Pass Trail (#129), turn right onto this trail and begin climbing steeply up to Bull Pass.

At the summit of the pass a use trail branches off to the right. It is well worth your time to hike this short but steep trail which leads to the top of Black Top Mesa. A magnificent view of the Needle will unfold. Upon further exploration atop the mesa, you may discover ancient petroglyphs etched into black volcanic rock.

Continue down the other side along the Bull Pass trail until you reach a signed junction with the Dutchman’s Trail. Turn right onto the Dutchman’s Trail which will bring you the Terrapin Trail. Turn left at the Terrapin Trail (#234). This rugged trail climbs steeply, skirting Weavers Needle to the east, then leads up over Bluff Saddle and down the other side to an intersection with the Bluff Spring Trail (#235) Turn right onto the Bluff Spring Trail, featuring excellent views into the Coffee Flat area, and a steep descent. Stay right at the junction with the Dutchman’s Trail until you reach the Peralta trailhead once more, capping an epic and memorable hiking Phoenix adventure in Arizona’s fabled Superstition Mountains!

Up Next: A thrilling canyoneering journey: Salome Jug

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About the Author
Mitch Stevens has been leading hiking and backpacking outings throughout the southwest for over ten years. As a Sierra Club hiking leader, writer and photographer, he has promoted the enjoyment and conservation of our remaining wild lands. Born and raised in New York City, Mitch came to discover the great outdoors and fall in love with Arizona’s special places. Through his countless trips across the state and region, Mitch made it his mission to encourage fellow hikers and enthusiasts to protect the beauty of the desert. Now, he continues to embrace his fascination with the desert beauty by creating and leading multigenerational tours throughout the southwest. His experience coupled with his passion for the great outdoors make him a unique tour guide and outings leader.

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