Superstition Mountain Gold
Arizona Backpacking
An Epic Experience

Trip Details

Type: Backpacking

Trip Code: AZSG

Duration: 4 Days

Distance: 32-38 mi/51-61 km

Fitness: 4
Comfort: 1
Solitude: 4

Origin: Phoenix, Arizona

Cost: $1150/person

Trip Description:

Arizona is known for many things, namely our state's "5 C's" of copper, cattle, citrus, cotton, and climate.  However, for many during the Wild West years and the ore rushes of the late 1800's, Arizona was the land of G & S: gold and silver, that is.  The Superstition Mountains were a popular place to try and strike it rich, and legend has it that one man, The Dutchman (Jakob Waltz, who was acutally German), struck the mother lode of gold right here in the Superstition Mountains.  He died in 1891, and with him the location of his alleged strike.  The Superstition Mountains are now a legendary place for treasure hunters and dreamers, as well as adventurous hikers and geologists.  On the Superstition Mountain Gold Backpacking tour we traverse the Superstition Wilderness in all of its glory from east to west, hiking and exploring the jagged peaks, dramatic vistas, rugged trails, and maybe even search for the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine.  Get ready, the Superstition Mountains offer some of the best hiking in Arizona, with quintessential Sonoran Desert scenery, fascinating geology, legendary history, and fabulous sunsets.

  1. Native Cliff Dwellings, Superstition Mountains, Arizona
  2. Reavis Ranch, Superstition Mountains Wilderness, Arizona
  3. Superstition Mountain, Superstition Wilderness, Arizona
  4. Weaver's Needle, Superstition Mountains, Arizona
  5. Hoodoos, Superstition Mountains, Arizona
  6. Superstition Mountains, Wilderness, Arizona
  7. Lost Dutchman Trail, Superstition Mountains, Arizona
  8. Superstition Mountains Wilderness, Arizona
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Superstition Mountain Gold Backpacking tour begins on the east side of the Superstition Wilderness at the Campaign Trailhead.  Along this epic backpacking tour, we will link several trails, so get ready.  The east side of the Superstitions are higher, and therefore more lush and green; more than you might expect for the Sonoran Desert.  We will pass by natural springs, large trees, and thick greenery as we ascend the ridge towards Reavis Gap.  Along the way we will be treated to sweeping views of the eastern Superstitions, along with views out to the Four Peaks, and    We will make camp in the vicinity of Reavis Ranch, an abandoned homestead with apple orchards, springs, and old farm equipment.
Drive Time: 2 hours
Distance & Elevation: 7 miles, 1800 foot ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Today’s hiking adventure takes us toward the Rogers Canyon, traversing the heart of the Superstition Wilderness.  We will start to notice a dramatic change in the landscape, from the rolling hills and meadows of the east, to the sharp crags, canyons, and spires in the west.  Our hike to today is fabulous, with an opportunity to explore some extremely well-preserved Salado Indian ruins, a natural arch, and our enjoy wonderful solitude as we stride along the sometimes rocky, always exciting trails in the outstanding wilderness.   We will camp near the junction of Rogers Canyon and the Hoolie Bacon Trail, with a water source at Miller Spring. 
Distance & Elevation: 9-11 miles, 900 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Our third day begins early and traverses some of the most spectacular wilderness in Arizona as we make our way overland, catching the Red Tanks Trail, then onto the Lost Dutchman Trail.  Along the way, we stop to admire the outrageous rock formations, sweeping vistas, legendary history of lost gold mines, and thrilling hiking.  The Dutchman offered clues to the whereabouts of his mother lode strike, and many of his clues, which we will recite and deduce, point to this general area.  We will also continue to marvel at the wonderful geologic and ecologic transition we've made from east to west.  Our camp will be in the vicinity of Weaver's Needle and Terrapin Pass, one of the most famous and interesting landmarks in the Superstition Mountains.
Distance & Elevation: 12 miles, 800 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Our final day begins with sunrise yoga in the shadow of Weaver's needle, followed by a relaxed start and hearty breakfast.  We'll take our time packing up camp, or do some optional exploring/scrambling without our packs, then make our final descent down the Lost Dutchman Trail toward the First Water Trailhead.  The sights and sounds of this fabulous wilderness will continue to engorge your senses, as we trod through this epic volcanically-born landscape, keeping our eyes peeled for that elusive mother lode of gold.  There are plenty of views of fantastic Sonoran Desert Scenery, and we will also being to sense that we are getting closer to popular parts of the wilderness, as we will likely start to share the trail a bit more than we have.  We'll meet our shuttle at the First Water Trailhead, then celebrate our epic journey like a geologist; with a cold beverage at a local watering hole.  We'll then make our way back into Phoenix.
Distance & Elevation: 6-10 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Phoenix to Superstition Wilderness and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Phoenix, Arizona
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Superstition Mountains Wilderness will accommodate 5 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.  Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Phoenix, Arizona and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Phoenix. You will want to fly into either Mesa, AZ (0.5 hour drive) or Phoenix. Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Phoenix. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Phoenix and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Phoenix by 6pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
January:  8-11
February: 5-8
March: 28-31
October: 15-18
November: 18-21
December: 18-21

2018 Dates
January:  8-11
February: 5-8
March: 28-31

October: 15-18
November: 18-21
December: 18-21

More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.