Trip Reports: Backpacking In The Superstition Mountains, Arizona - March 2018

After our time in the Kofa Mountains in March, we drove east through Phoenix and immediately embarked on a two-night backpack trip through part of the Superstition Mountains. We hiked a clockwise loop from the Peralta Trailhead around the prominent Weavers Needle spire via the Peralta and Dutchman's Trails. I imagine that this popular route is probably often done in a day by trailrunners, but as usual we wanted to savor the scenery so we camped two nights along the way.

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Hiking along the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Wilderness near Phoenix, Arizona.

Our first day was pretty long; with a late 2:30pm start and something like 9 miles or so to hike, we arrived at our first night's destination of Charlebois Spring after dark. But it was a pleasure walking through the deserty mountains in the pleasant sunset and dusk light. The terrain around here is really intriguing with lots of "cozy" little basins flanked by saguaros and colorful rock walls. It's obvious that there are lots of epic campsites as long as you're will to haul water. Apparently during rainier years there are lots more potholes and perhaps even the creeks are running - but not during this drought year. The good news is that there are a number of reliable year-round springs, making longer treks possible even in dry years.

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Campsite below Weavers Needle.

On our second day we stocked up on spring water then found an epic campsite below the dagger-like Weavers Needle, where we spent the afternoon and evening lounging around on boulders.

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"Stonehenge" campsite surrounded by rocky pinnacles in the Superstition Wilderness. Though it looks kind of like sunset, the clouds are actually illuminated by the light of Phoenix.

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Weaver Needle Sunrise

Morning at "Stonehenge Camp", with Weavers Needle towering overhead.

Arizona, Superstition Mountains, Superstition Wilderness, photo

Fascinating rocky terrain in the Superstition Wilderness.

Though our 3-day hike around Weavers Needle gave us a taste of the Superstition Wilderness, it's a big area and I know we just scratched the surface. With beautiful scenery and an almost endless array of trails and possible loops located right next to the city, the Superstition Wilderness is such a wonderful asset for the people of Phoenix! I can't think of another city with such a large wilderness area right next to it. I would love to return someday during a wetter spring to see its greener side.