Just one hour east of the hustle and bustle of Phoenix, Ariz., is the Superstition Mountain Wilderness. If you’re looking for a wild-west-wilderness experience, look no further. The Superstition Wilderness has over 160,000 acres of rugged mountains, and steep desert terrain. While it is an exposed, dry desert, those who visit will be surprised by the variety of flora and fauna here – from the boulder piles to small watering holes, and saguaro forests to pockets of ponderosa pine – there’s so much to explore.
The main activities to do in the Superstition Mountains is hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. There is no mechanized travel permitted in the wilderness area, such as mountain biking or off-roading, but the famous Apache Trail runs through the area and is great for a scenic drive, gravel-grinding, or a stop at Apache Lake for fishing and other water recreation. If you’re looking for trails less-traveled, you’ll find them in the Superstition Wilderness. There are multiple day hikes in the area, but a backpacking trip takes you deeper into this mountainous landscape along virtually untrodden routes.
The best season to visit Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness is winter, as the Sonoran Desert offers mild weather and welcome respite from the winter storms that descend on much of the US and Canada. Not only is this desert terrain wild, but the superstitious history of the area is also quite the draw. Exciting native and old gold miner legends of the region will have you yearning to hike every trail of the Superstition Mountains. A few highlights not to miss when visiting the Superstition Wilderness is panning for gold at Goldfield Ghost Town, a stop at the authentic stagecoach stop of Tortilla Flat, hopping aboard the Dolly Steamboat on Canyon Lake, visiting the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum, and hiking the Siphon Draw Trail, the Peralta Canyon Trail, and the Dutchman’s Trail.