I spent some formative years in Arizona as a student at NAU (Northern Arizona University) and became quite attached to the desert and the canyons. While there I was introduced to hiking in the Superstition Mountains. I don’t get back there often so when I heard the 2017 United States Lavender Conference would be held in Phoenix I was elated! The conference was a great time to reconnect with lavender friends I’ve made over the years, gain some knowledge and share some knowledge. But hiking was another highlight of the trip.
I was backpacking in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix years ago and wanted to revisit those mountains; an easy drive from Phoenix. Finding maps and hikes online proved difficult. Since we got into Phoenix (an easy flight from Denver) in the afternoon and had plenty of time to do something, we drove east towards Apache Junction. We saw signs to the Lost Dutchman’s State Park (not a park when I had last been there) up highway 88. We had just enough time to hike Treasure Loop at the base of the Flatirons. The views of the desert stretching out were spectacular and I had a hard time grasping how green it was due to recent rains.
After two days sitting at the Conference I was ready to get out and explore some more. This time we went to Peralta Trail which is out highway 60 just past the little town of Gold Canyon. Peralta Road is a dirt road that heads into the Superstition mountains. There were places along that road with many cars so there must be other attractions there including people camping off the road. When we got there the parking lot was full and we had to park further away in the overflow parking.
But the trail, oh the trail, what views there were. So many different types of cacti, and such dense growth. Saguaros so incredibly tall. The trail was quite steep and we were climbing almost all the time
I learned that the tall pillar rocks that surrounded the canyon are called hoodoos. The trail goes 2.5 miles to Freemont saddle where there is an overview of Weaver’s Needle. We hiked a little around the saddle on Cave Trail before going back down. Enjoy the pictures here.
I ran out of water on the way down. Something I should have known better about having hiked in Arizona before. I also wished I’d taken more sturdy hiking boots with me with ankle support rather than my low tops. I was at least glad to have my lip balm and Knuckle Balm with me. None the less, it was great to be back in the desert canyons hiking! We might plan more winter trips to Arizona for hiking in the future. Do you have a favorite place you travel to to hike?