Herman's Cave | Superstition Mountains

Finding Herman’s Cave In The Superstition Mountains

Herman’s Cave just may be the most impressive cave in the Superstition Mountains! At least it is in my book.

But, reaching this hidden cave tucked back in the Supes is not one for the occasional hiker. Navigational skills, long milage, and overgrown conditions make this hike difficult enough that the only other people you’ll see are likely backpackers just passing through.

While Herman’s Cave entrance is quite impressive it can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention! The mouth of the cave is tucked up in the side of a mountain, and to reach it will require some grit to bushwhack off trail up it’s steep slope.

If you’re up for the challenge then keep reading! In this trail guide I’m going to share with you how to find Herman’s Cave, important trail details, and more!

Hey! Just so you know the below links contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through my links (at no extra cost to you). You can visit my disclosure for more info.

Herman’s Cave Hike Stats

  • Hiking Distance | 13.72 miles RT
  • Difficulty | Difficult
  • Elevation Gain | 2,211 feet
  • Total Time | 6 – 7.5 hours
  • Permits/Fees | None
  • Trailhead | Dutchman Trailhead
  • Road Conditions | Well grade dirt road, 2WD okay. Sometimes impassible after heavy storms.
  • Dog Friendly | Technically yes, but not recommended. Too overgrown and long for dogs.

Below is a map of the route to Herman’s Cave.

Herman's Cave Trail Map.

Overall the hike to Herman’s Cave isn’t too difficult, so if you’re used to the long mileage and desert terrain, you’ll likely find this one more moderate. The only physically straining part is the slope up to the cave itself.

Still, I do highly suggest having this map downloaded so you can stay on trail during your hike and know where to find the cave off trail! There are many intersecting trails in this area and it can get confusing. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app like Gaia GPS.

You can download my Herman’s Cave hike and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your trusty device for ease of mind!

Getting To The Trailhead

Reaching Dutchman Trailhead is fairly easy if you are okay driving on a dirt road! The trailhead is located an hour from the heart of Phoenix and can take even longer depending on where you’re coming from in the valley.

You’ll turn down Peralta Road which becomes dirt after you pass through a few neighborhoods. Usually Peralta Road is in good enough condition for 2WD, but after heavy storms it can flood, become muddy, and grow very rutty. The conditions change every year and after every storm. Always proceed with caution, but I will say I’ve never had a problem with this road!

Dutchman Trailhead is in the last parking lot at the end of Peralta Road, right next to the Peralta Trailhead. Map it with Google Maps and you’ll be lead right to it!

Best Time To Visit Herman’s Cave

The desert sun can be brutal and on a longer hike like this you’ll want to get an early start to your day. Plan on beginning your hike right around sunrise! Also, I highly suggest conquering this hike in 80 degrees or less. Anything warmer and I feel like it would be extremely draining.

Typically November-April are the best times to hike in the Superstition Mountains especially for longer day hikes like Herman’s Cave.

If you can time it for spring bloom you’ll be blessed with a very diverse array of colorful wildflowers. Peep my photos throughout this guide to see for yourself!

The Hike: Herman’s Cave

Dutchman Trail 104 To Herman's Cave.

The hike to Herman’s Cave begins at Dutchman Trailhead and follows along the Dutchman Trail #104. You’ll hike upon the first intersection rather quickly. Keep right, following the sign to continue along Dutchman Trail.

Almost immediately you’ll begin climbing a bit of elevation but it goes by quickly as you pass through the tall Saguaros. At roughly 1.5 miles in the Dutchman Trail travels through an open area that blooms with vibrant wildflowers during the spring!

My hiking partner and I took a break to take photos in this area for it was too good to pass up! We weren’t expecting any wildflowers and were extremely surprised with how many diverse kinds there were.

Dutchman Trail 104 To Herman's Cave.

The further we hiked the better they were! If you can time your hike for spring bloom (usually March-April), I’d highly suggest it.

Beyond the wildflowers you’ll eventually be able to see Miner’s Needle which is a popular summit for rock climbers. As you hike just below the rock formation there will be another trail intersection. Keep left here to stay on the Dutchman Trail.

You’ll hike up a couple of short switchbacks as you continue climbing up into the mountains. Eventually you’ll gain a great view of Miner’s Needle and the little valley below where you came from.

Miners Needle, Superstition Mountains.

At the next intersection you’ll want to keep right to hop on Whiskey Spring Trail #238. This trail, as one may guess, takes you to Whiskey Spring. The spring had some water in it at the time of my hike since it recently rained. I imagine it is bone dry during summer!

Along the way we saw some dried scat from a cat. I’m thinking it was a Bobcat versus Mountain Lion since it was on the smaller side. At least that is what I’m telling myself so I’m not scared to return! There were several droppings (at least three) through Whiskey Spring Canyon.

The trail leads you down through the canyon and it does become a little overgrown in a few spots. This area is like an oasis for everything was green, grown in, and the sounds of trickling water followed along the side of the trail.

Hiking To Herman's Cave.

Whiskey Spring eventually runs into La Barge Creek. Here, you will turn right onto Red Tanks Trail #107 to hike upstream.

This portion of the trail was a bit difficult to follow as we found ourselves hiking and bouldering through the La Barge Creek. The trail crisscrosses it several times, and either way you’ll get to where you need to go, but there is a path on the right side of the creek that we took on the way back and it was easier!

Hiking Red Tank Trail, Superstition Mountains.

You’ll want to be sure to have the downloaded map and keep an eye out for the location of the cave approach. If one was hiking upstream and wasn’t looking for it, they could easily miss the cave’s entrance for it is high up and somewhat behind you.

The image below shows Herman’s Cave from the Red Tanks Trail. This is the angle or perspective of the cave you want to have before you begin climbing up to it. If you approach too early you’ll find yourself bushwhacking through some thick vegetation.

The social trails are very faint and you’ll likely lose it, find it, and lose it again. Make your way up to the cave entrance but take your time. This part is very steep and is a calf burner!

Herman's Cave, Superstition Mountains.

Inside of Herman’s Cave is very steep also! It is sandy, rocky, and slippery so watch your step. There are also bats who live here so please be respectful of their home.

If you want to climb out to the ledge like in my photos you can’t be afraid of heights! It look scarier than it actually is, but, there is one very narrow spot you have to traverse. It is only wide enough to put one foot on it, and if you mess up, you’ll fall.

My friend and I had a fun time taking photos in this cave and testing out different angles. Below are some photos to give you an idea of what the cave is like inside! First one is zoomed out so you can see the entirety of it.

Herman's Cave, Superstition Mountains.

If you don’t have the guts to climb out to the very end, there is a little rock you can sit on for great silhouette photos!

Gear For Your Hike:

The hike to Herman’s Cave is long and exposed to the desert sun. It is also very remote with the possibility of no one else being around. Please pack approprietly!

  • Durable hiking boots paired with high wool socks to protect your ankles from the overgrown trail.
  • Hiking pants or leggings that won’t rip or get snagged on rocks or prickly vegetation! You’ll want to protect your legs on this hike.
  • Quality hiking pack that has plenty of room for all your supplies.
  • 2-3L water reservoir so you can stay hydrated on the go!
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your skin from the brutal sun.
  • Pack the 10 essentials: Navigation, headlamp, emergency supplies, etc.
  • Garmin InReach Mini 2 to keep in touch incase of emergencies.
  • Plenty of electrolytes to help keep you hydrated. I always fill up my blender bottle with some before leaving my house!
  • Don’t forget your hiking poles if you’re used to using them.

Other Hikes Nearby:

Recap: Herman’s Cave Hike

I hiked to Herman’s Cave on a Sunday morning during April. It was a cooler weekend with a high of 74 degrees, so I figured it was a good time to knock out a longer hike.

To my surprise the wildflowers were scattered all about at the base and slopes of the mountains! I wasn’t expecting so many colorful and diverse flowers, and this beautiful surprise is part of what made my hike so memorable.

Overall I love the view looking out of Herman’s Cave! It is quite an impressive entrance and the view of the mountains outside of it are stunning. This cave really reminds me of Sedona’s Keyhole Cave, just mirrored.

There are several great backpacking spots back in this area of the Superstition Mountains too. I’ll share the coordinate with you below so you know the possibilities:

  • 33.41571, -111.31334
  • 33.41919, -111.30780
  • 33.43095, -111.30885

I plan on returning to this area one day to do more exploring and maybe even spend a night or two!

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