Think of a flamboyantly colorful landscape.
What just came to mind? The Caribbean? The Greek Islands? Hawaii’s North Shore? The California coast?
Well, prepare yourself to add a new landscape to that colorful image – the Arizona desert!
I know, hearing “colorful” and “desert” in the same sentence is probably an oxymoron for most people. But trust me, visiting the Arizona desert in the springtime is sure to expand your horizons and open your mind.
There were many, many yellows …
Plenty of oranges …
And a variety of reds, whites, and purples …
Add to that the colors that weren’t exactly floral: the intense yellow-green of the teddy bear cholla, the vivid leaves of the Palo Verdes, and the amazingly blue, blue hue of the Arizona sky.
Of course, hiking in the Superstition Mountains is not just about the colors. There is also the history and mystery of the Lost Dutchman Mine (a gold mine purportedly discovered and then lost in the late 1800s), the stunning scenery offered by Weaver’s Needle and Miners Needle, and the challenge of the various hikes, which meander through the Tonto National Forest.
On this gorgeous April Sunday, I chose the Dutchman Trail, a 9.5-mile loop that passes by Miners Needle, a hole visible high up in the craggy rocks.
Other rock formations are equally compelling.
Even the road into the Peralta Canyon trailhead is stunning. You’ll find yourself stopping (too many times!) for photos and to soak up the desert terrain.
If you’re not up for a hike, I would still recommend taking the drive, a portion of which is on is a fairly well-maintained dirt road. To get there from Phoenix, take Highway 60 (the Superstition Freeway) toward Mesa, and continue east through Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. Turn northeast onto Peralta Road, passing through the small Peralta Trail development, and continuing on the dirt road for seven miles to the trailhead.
I promise, a hike in the Superstitions is guaranteed to change your mind about the desert. Just beware of the conditions. The cacti can get a little too up-close and personal sometimes. (Yes, that’s my elbow). 🙂
And the trail can get a little rugged. But all in all, I’d say it’s worth the risk.