Most of the mountains are within the Tonto National Forest
, and a large part is further protected as the Superstition Wilderness, the closest large pristine area to Phoenix and so a very popular hiking destination, though there are relatively few easy trails - most routes are quite long and strenuous, especially during the hot weather that prevails most of the year.
The wilderness extends eastwards from the Superstition range to other more remote mountains, and for all this region access is limited to two main roads; US 60 past the southern edge and the Apache Trail
(AZ 88) to the north. There are four trailheads for the most visited western half that includes the Superstition Mountains; at the end of Peralta Road (FR 77, a good quality 8 mile gravel track starting near Gold Canyon), First Water Road (FR 78) branching off AZ 88 near Goldfield, Canyon Lake Marina, and FR 213, a rough track south from the Apache Trail a few miles beyond Tortilla Flat. For an introduction to the mountains, several short trails start from the Lost Dutchman State Park
near Apache Junction.
The nearest towns with hotels close to the Superstition Mountains are Apache Junction
, Gold Canyon
Superstition Mountains Trail Map
Elevation Change (feet)
||One of four trails in or near the Lost Dutchman State Park, the Siphon Draw Trail climbs a ravine for good views over the western edge of the Superstition Mountains, and the Apache Junction suburbs.
||This easy path encounters forests of saguaro cacti, grasslands and rocky outcrops as it loops around the hillside above Lost Dutchman State Park.
||The short Prospector's View Trail links #53 with #56, through a rocky area in the mountain foothills.
||A long but mostly near level route, the Jacob's Crosscut Trail runs beneath the west face of the Superstition Mountains, over cactus slopes and across several dry washes, always with wide-ranging views over Apache Junction.
||Beginning at the end of a residential street north of Gold Canyon, this short path leads up Hieroglyphic Canyon to a group of petroglyphs beside some seasonal pools.
||The most popular path in the Superstitions is the Peralta Trail, which starts at the end of Peralta Road and climbs up Peralta Canyon to a narrow ridge (Fremont Saddle, after 2.25 miles), descending at the far side into the upper end of East Boulder Canyon and on to a junction with trail 104.
||From Canyon Lake Marina, this trail climbs above La Barge Creek for 2 miles and descends into the Boulder Creek drainage, which is followed southwards to the point it splits into east and west forks, below Palomino Mountain, where the path joins trail 104. A short distance further is the start of the Peralta Trail, and the three paths can be combined for a cross-mountain hike of around 14 miles.
||This is the main trans-mountain route in the western Superstitions, and links with most other paths in the area so allowing for many different loop hikes. The southern end is at the Peralta Road trailhead, from where the path zig zags through the hills, right beneath Weaver's Needle then over more ravines and ridges, through 2,640 foot Parker Pass and down towards road FR 78.
||Peter's Trail is a lesser used route between the end of FR 213 (the Tortilla Trailhead), along canyons and across mesas south of Tortilla Mountain, to a junction with trail #104. Starting from AZ 88 adds another 2.5 miles to the hike.
|JF Ranch Trail
||The JF Ranch Trail leads southeast through the center of the Superstition Wilderness, starting in the north at the end of road FR 213, a 4WD route branching off the Apache Trail. The trail ends at another, longer 4WD track (FR 172), from Queen Valley.
||Trail #107 follows the upper end of La Barge Canyon eastwards into a section of narrows, over higher ground and down Red Tanks Canyon to a junction with TR 108 (Coffee Flat Trail). The west end is at an intersection with the Dutchman's Trail, 2 miles east of Weaver's Needle.
||A connecting path between the end of FR 213 (Tortilla Trailhead) and TR 107, the Hoolie Bacon Trail is a lesser-used route across undulating ground in the heart of the Superstition Wilderness.
||On the north side of Black Top Mesa, the Bull Pass Trail provides a short cut linking two points along TR #104, between East Boulder Canyon and Needle Canyon.
||The north end of the rather steep Terrapin Trail is at a junction with TR #104, from where the path climbs alongside Needle Canyon past the east side of Weaver's Needle, over a saddle and down to the Bluff Spring Trail.
||For most of its 3.4 miles the Bluff Spring Trail runs along rocky canyons near the south edge of the mountains. It starts at the Peralta Trailhead and ends at an intersection with trail #104, allowing for one possible loop hike of 8 miles.
||This well traveled path forms the western half of a route between the First Water and Canyon Lake trailheads, passing a narrow ravine, flat grasslands (Garden Valley) and open slopes above Boulder Canyon.
||From TR #103, the Cavalry Trail climbs a ridge east of Boulder Canyon and enters the wide, rather overgrown valley of upper La Barge Canyon, which is followed southwards to a junction with TR #104.
||Trail 241 crosses the middle of the steep sided, flat-topped Black Mesa, starting in the north near the First Water Trailhead and terminating at a junction with the Dutchman's Trail.