Popular | 3 Easy Superstition Hikes for Beginners

Whether you are new to the area, a first time hiker, visiting, or just looking to get some fresh desert air there are a few hikes that I always recommend to beginning hikers.  In my opinion the Superstition Wilderness area is the best place to start.  This incredible range offers some of the most beautiful and diverse Sonoran Desert landscapes in the greater Phoenix area and has plenty of hikes to choose from.  In this article I picked my go-to hikes that I recommend to every new hiker, visitor, or fresh air seeker.  Enjoy.

Hieroglyphic Trail

  • Length:  3 miles (round trip)
  • Trailhead Elevation:  2,100 ft.
  • Gain/Loss:  +580 ft.
  • Time: 2 hrs.

The Hieroglyphic Trail #101 is a short, fun little hike and a great introduction into the Superstition Mountain range.  On this hike you can expect to see great views of the East Valley as well as some well preserved hieroglyphics.

The Lost Goldmine Trailhead begins at at the foothills of the Superstitions in a neighborhood and is very easy to get to (and free!).  Just follow the trail signs which tell you where to turn.  From the TH you can choose to head left on Hieroglypic Trail or right to Lost Goldmine Trail.  From the get go, the trail climbs toward Hieroglyphic Canyon.  Along the way you will see great views of the East Valley and is a great trail for pictures.  As you approach the canyon, the trail will become more rocky and you may have to climb just a little bit (nothing grandma and grandpa can't handle).  After a rainstorm you will get pools of water in the rock formations which makes for a very pleasant view.   The hieroglyphs are the workings of Hohokam Indians, who inhabited this desert region around 1,500 years ago.  As always, take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Why it makes the list

  • Gradual climb to ancient hieroglyphs
  • Spectacular views of the East Valley
  • Short, easy hike with free parking accessible by passenger car

For a detailed description of this hike please visit the trail guide Hieroglyphic Trail

Massacre Falls

  • Length: 5.5 miles (round trip)
  • Trailhead Elevation: 2,100
  • Gain/Loss: +1,120
  • Time: 3.5-4 hours

Although I describe this as an "easy" hike, it could be considered more strenuous due to the total elevation gain/loss and length of the trail.

This short but sweet trail leads hikers to natural waterfalls and is best if hiked right after a rainstorm.  Massacre Falls has been given it’s name from legends of murders between Apache and Mexican families that occupied the Superstition Mountain range in the 1800’s.

The hike begins at the Crosscut Trailhead on the road to First Water Trailhead.  There used to be a road that took you directly to the fence line but has since been bulldozed over and returned to desert.  For a more detailed description of the hike please visit the Massacre Falls trail guide.  The trail is a straight forward hike that takes you into the depths of the western portion of the Superstitions.  The scenery is phenomenal especially in springtime when the wildflowers paint the desert floor.  Although this hike is great from fall until spring, I recommend going right after a good rainstorm so you can witness the flowing falls.

Why it makes the list:

  • Great introduction hike to the Superstitions and lower desert
  • Seasonal falls
  • Great views of wildflowers, Praying Hands rock formation, and desert scenery

Treasure Loop Trail

  • Length: 2.4 miles (round trip)
  • Trailhead Elevation: 2,000
  • Gain/Loss: +700
  • Time: 2 hours

The Treasure Loop Trail is a short, beautiful loop hike through the desert landscape of the Superstition Mountains. Along the hike you will see many unusual rock formations, benches to rest on, and great views of the mountain range itself. This is a great hike for beginners.

This well marked and well maintained trail is one of the more popular hikes that begins at the Lost Dutchman’s State Park.  The Treasure Loop Trail #56 can be found from the Cholla day-use area.  As of 5/20/15 their is a $7 entrance fee into the park.  From the trailhead inside the park you will pass through a gate and begin heading east.  You can choose to go clockwise or counter-clockwise.  Along the hike you will find 5 benches spread throughout the 2.4 mile long trail.  The trail ascends at a moderate climb towards the mighty base of the Superstitions.  For an added treat, take a side trip (an extra .6 miles) to the Praying Hands rock formation.  This formation is a favorite for rock climbers and a really neat geologic sight.

Why it makes the list

  • Easy loop hike with excellent views of the Superstition range
  • Wildflower haven in the springtime
  • Benches to rest
  • Great Sonoran Desert experience

Visit Treasure Loop Trail for a more detailed description of the hike!

There you have it. These hikes are perfect for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. Mark your calendars and make some time to get out on these fun, easy, and scenic trails. If you are new to hiking I suggest that you also read the following: