9 Amazing Superstition Mountains Hikes for your Bucket List

Located just 40 minutes East of Phoenix lie the majestic Superstition Mountains, an adventurers dream desert mountain range. Hosting magical waterfalls, deep canyons, steep cliff edges, and unique rock formations, this wilderness is the perfect choice for hiking, backpacking, and even rock climbing.

The trail systems are vast and you can create many different routes through these mountains. But in this post I’m going to list 9 amazing Superstition Mountains hikes that make for great introductory hikes for all skill levels.

Grab your pack and the 10 Essentials because it is about to be an adventure!


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WHEN TO HIKE THE SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS

Remember you’re hiking in the desert and the Superstition Mountains are no different than anywhere else in the valley when it comes to coverage from the sun- you rarely get any.

That being said, the best times to hike this wilderness area are typically November – March. These are the cooler months in the Phoenix valley which make hiking these trails more enjoyable.

I never suggest hiking during the summer unless it is a short trail that you can begin at 4:30 a.m. and get done before late morning. For reference- if it is 85 degrees or hotter, I would be extremely cautious about embarking on an all day hike.

A lot of the parking for these trails are limited and they fill up fast. Begin your hikes early to beat the crowds, or strategize and arrive for a sunset hike if the trail permits.

LOCAL TIP: These mountains are prime for backpacking! No permit is required unless you are on Arizona State Trust Land. There are several designated camping spots throughout the wilderness for your choosing.

SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS HIKING TIPS

The rugged terrain through this mountain range is not to be underestimated! Going in prepared is key. While hiking in the Superstition Mountains you’ll experience sharp cliff drop offs, extreme changes in weather, tough route finding, rock scrambling, and lack of water sources.

Of course some trails will be easier than others. It all depends on how deep you plan on exploring. Below are some tips I find important for any adventurer to know when entering this majestic wilderness:

  • Carry a minimum of 2L of water per person for day hikes. Water sources depend on the season, yet are still scarce throughout the Superstition Mountains and cannot be guaranteed.
  • Pack the 10 Hiking Essentials. This includes packing enough to survive a night out incase anything goes wrong (extra layers, extra food, emergency blanket, etc.)
  • Utilize a GPS App at the very least. I highly suggest having a paper map of the area as well. It is very easy to lose the trail or take a wrong turn. Tracking yourself on a GPS will help you know where you are and backtrack if you need to.
  • Watch for Rattlesnakes. They especially like to come as it starts to heat up outside.
  • Share your itinerary with someone before you leave.
  • Practice the leave no trace principals so we all can continue to enjoy this wilderness!

I don’t write this to scare you, but only to help you prepare for the safest adventure in these beautiful mountains!

REMINDER: While the daytime temperature might be warm, once the sun goes down it can get very chilly and fast. Likewise, it may be chilly in the morning, but it can heat up during the day and be dreadful. Always pack layers!

For more tips check out 16 Expert Desert Hiking Tips you need to know

Recommended gear for the Supes:

Recommended dog gear:

9 AMAZING SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS HIKES

Finally, in no certain order, are 9 incredible hikes you won’t want to miss in the Superstition Mountains! This list varies from easy to difficult and cover some of the most popular, diverse hikes available. You can’t choose wrong!

To help familiarize you with the Superstition Mountains, I created the map above. Each trailhead is marked as a hiker, and the description lets you know which hike begins from that trailhead. Each location icon marks the destination (if available). The trailhead color and location icon color do coordinate with each other.

Wave Cave

WAVE CAVE

Distance: 3 miles RT
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Carney Springs Trailhead
Permit: $15 AZ State Trust Land Permit
Dogs Allowed: Yes

A popular hike perfect for beginners or Arizona visitors, the Wave Cave is a fun destination for silhouette photos. The Instagrammable photo op is to “surf the wave”! Since this one is relatively short clocking in at 3 miles, it is the perfect sunrise trail to begin your day. The early bird gets the worm for this trail gets packed on the weekends and the parking lot is very small.

Read the full trail guide: Wave Cave | Superstition Mountains, Arizona


Fremont Saddle

PERALTA TRAIL TO FREMONT SADDLE

Distance: 4.7 miles RT
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Peralta Trailhead
Permit: $15 AZ State Trust Land Permit
Dogs Allowed: Yes

Down the road from the Wave Cave is the Peralta Trail which leads you to Fremont Saddle, the perfect viewing point of Weavers Needle. Don’t forget your camera on this one because I promise you the views are worth every step. As you sit at the saddle you’ll get a great idea of just how vast the Superstition Mountains are. But heading back down the trail is just as enjoyable for the views may even be better- even at sunset!

Read the full trail guide: Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle: Arizona Hiking Guide


Battleship Mountain

BATTLESHIP MOUNTAIN

Distance: 12 miles RT
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead: Dutchman’s Trailhead
Permit: None
Dogs Allowed: Not advised

If heights don’t bother you and you enjoy the challenge of scrambling and route finding- this one is for you. Battleship Mountain is my favorite hike in the Superstition Mountains because it is an all day adventure with a high reward.

You’ll hike to the base of the mountain, climb up it, and continue to climb the spine all the want to the end. As you view down the spine where you came from, you’ll be looking at some of my favorite views in these mountains. You can even spot Weavers Needle way off in the distance. You’re actually sitting on the opposite side of it as the Fremont Saddle, listed above!

Dogs can use this trail until you reach the base of the mountain. From then on, I highly advise to not attempt making them climb up the base of the mountain and down the spine. This part is all the fun though, so I suggest you leave your furry friend at home.

Read the full trail guide: Hike Battleship Mountain via. First Water Trailhead


Hieroglyphic Trail

HIEROGLYPHIC TRAIL

Distance: 3.1 Miles O&B
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Trailhead: Hieroglyphic Trailhead
Permit: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes

To witness a wall of ancient petroglyphs and possibly rare pools of water in the Superstition Mountains, Hieroglyphic Trail is a fantastic hike. It is only 1.55 miles to begin witnessing the Petroglyphs, making it a short hike popular with beginners. If monsoon season has been strong the pools may be filled with water, plus a waterfall further up the trail. This is one the entire family can enjoy on a cool morning- both kids and dogs!

Read the full trail guide: Hiking the Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Mountains


Weavers Needle Loop

WEAVERS NEEDLE LOOP

Distance: 12.5 miles RT
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Peralta Trailhead
Permit: $15 AZ State Trust Land Permit
Dogs Allowed: Yes

Are you familiar with Weavers Needle yet? If you haven’t gotten enough of it, the Weavers Needle Loop is an excellent moderate, all day hike around the large rock formation and a great way to ease yourself deeper into the Superstition Mountains. You’ll actually take Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle, then continue left to hike the loop. This loop doesn’t end back at Fremont Saddle- it’ll take you directly back to the Peralta trailhead!

If you are looking to do some backpacking, this is a great trail to utilize for that! Many campsites were spotted along this loop.

Read the full trail guide: Weavers Needle Loop Trail in the Superstition Mountains


FLAT IRON SUMMIT

Distance: 6.5 miles RT
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead: Siphon Draw Trailhead
Permit: $7 Entry Fee
Dogs Allowed: Yes, but only the experienced

To sum this one up- its an epic day hike that consists of hiking up a slippery draw, scrambling up rock, and summiting one of the most challenging summits in the Superstition Mountains. Flat Iron is one of the “must do” hikes to establish your “clout” in the hiking community. If you’ve conquered this one, you can do just about anything.

If you don’t want to scramble all the way up, just about anyone can hike to the Siphon Draw (which is just before things get real tough) and enjoy some amazing views. If it has rained recently there will be a small waterfall and water trickling down the draw!

Dogs are able to use this trail but be advised that scrambling is required and there may be a couple areas they’ll need a lift up. Only let them attempt it if they are experienced, in good shape, and you fully believe in their climbing abilities.

Read the full trail guide: Ultimate Guide to Hiking Flatiron via Siphon Draw Trail


Superstition Mountains Hikes

TREASURE LOOP

Distance: 2.4 miles RT
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead: Treasure Loop Trailhead
Permit: $7 Entry Fee
Dogs Allowed: Yes

If you’re looking for a great beginner hike in the Superstition Mountains, Treasure Loop is a the perfect choice. This trail loops around the foothills of the Superstitions without getting into anything crazy, but still provides you with some beautiful desert views.

Flat Iron and Treasure Loop begin in relatively the same area, both within the Lost Dutchman State Park. That is why the $7 entry fee is required. If you’re looking for a base camp to stay at, reserve your camping spot ahead of time! Then you can explore the trails right from your campsite.


Superstition Mountains Hikes

BROADWAY CAVE

Distance: 4 miles RT
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Trailhead: Broadway Trailhead
Permit: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes

An easy and very underrated cave located right on the edge of the Superstition Mountains is Broadway Cave. It won’t take you very long to hike, so pack your headlamp and visit for sunrise or sunset if you dare! The darkness makes this cave even more eerie and exciting. It actually goes back surprisingly deep- just watch out for the bats. I’m not kidding.

Read the full trail guide: How to find Broadway Cave in the Superstition Mountains, AZ


Superstition Mountains hikes

MASSACRE FALLS

Distance: 5.6 miles RT
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: Massacre Grounds Trailhead
Permit: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes

If you time it right you’ll get to witness a magical waterfall within the Superstition Mountains. The kicker- it only appears after rainfall, which as we all know, is very unpredictable and sparse in the desert. But when it does snow or rain, you’ll want to be ready to rush on over to Massacre Falls and catch the waterfall in action. A small pool of water is created at the base of the falls and is extremely cold but refreshing!

Read the full trail guide: Massacre Falls | A magical waterfall in Phoenix’s Superstition Mountains


FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS HIKES

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to trail options within the Superstition Mountains. The wilderness is vast and has many different routes you can piece together for both day hikes or a backpacking trip. The options are almost endless!

If you’re new to the desert and this wilderness, I’d suggest starting with a beginner trail or one of the shorter trails such as Wave Cave. This will give you a great introductory into these mountains, and then you can go from there!

As always, please be considerate of the environment so we can keep enjoying it and remember to leave no trace.

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4 thoughts on “9 Amazing Superstition Mountains Hikes for your Bucket List

  1. Kim says:

    Thank You loved The article have been looking for some good trails at the Superstition Mountains going to give some of them a tryWith my hiking Buddies

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