Magical, Spiritual, or just Beautiful

As we approach the Lost Dutchman State Park, we are awed by the imposing Superstition Mountain looming in the distance.  We are on the far east side of Phoenix near the town of Apache Junction, Arizona.   Lost Dutchman State Park sits at the base of the intriguing Superstition Mountain and campers are graced with its beauty.

Superstition Mountain

Lost Dutchman State Park….we’re the first rig on the right – Jan 2013

I’m drawn to this place.  There’s something magical, maybe even spiritual about the Superstition Mountain and camping at its base at Lost Dutchman State Park affords a visitor an up close experience to its varying personality. Weather and light have an impact on the character and mood of this unique mountain.

Superstition Mountain

Camping with a view….Lost Dutchman State Park at the base of the Superstition Mountain

The campground has 104 campsites, 35 of which have electric and water.  Most of the sites are level and paved.  There’s nice spacing between sites and all offer great views.  Yep, it’s all about the view!

Our first visit to this lovely place was in the Spring of 2011.  The campground was booked but we were able to dry camp in the overflow lot.  We planned on staying four days but ended up staying ten.  I remember talking to my dad on the phone who lives in the Chicago area.  It was mid March and my dad was enjoying a warm 80 degree day and wearing shorts.  I was sitting in Phoenix, Arizona, wearing a winter coat and watching snow fall.  What’s wrong with this picture?  It was a very funny situation and although initially I wasn’t too thrilled about the cold temps, witnessing the rare beauty of it all was well worth the bundling up that was required.

camping near Phoenix

A rare spring snowstorm hits the Superstition Mountain – March 2011

camping near Phoenix

The many moods of the Superstition Mountain – March 2011

I tell you, there is nothing like waking up to this vision.  As the sun rises on the far side of the Superstition Mountain, it lights up the valley leaving those of us camped at the mountain’s base still clouded in its shadow.  As the day progresses, shadows seem to play a game of hide and go seek…. a constant moving of shade.  Later in the day when the sun is to the west, the mountain glows in a varying array of color.

camping in Phoenix

As the sun sets, the Superstition Mountain glows

RVing in Phoenix

As the sun moves throughout the day, so does the shade and shadows on the Superstition Mountain

Lost Dutchman State Park offers a picnic area for day use for those unable to spend the night.  So whether you are an overnighter or a day user, you will love the hiking and photographic opportunities here. I know it is one of our favorites. There are trails for every level of hiker.  If you only have time to pass through the area, I would highly recommend a short stroll on the “Discovery Trail”.  This easy interpretative trail meanders between the day use parking lot and the campground.  Along the way are plaques detailing sights, vegetation, and wildlife.

Camping near Phoenix

The sundial along the Discovery Trail

Superstition Mountain

The Superstition Mountain – photographed near the coyote sundial

I believe the best vantage point for capturing the entire Superstition Mountain is at the Coyote sundial located off the Discovery Trail.  I found myself meandering along this trail several times a day throughout our past visits.

Another plus to staying at Lost Dutchman State Park are all the other sights to see in the area.  That in itself will require a separate post(s).  We were never at a loss of things to see and do, but our favorite time was spent enjoying meals at the picnic table or drinks around the campfire.  With a view like this, what’s not to love!

camping in Arizona

dining with a view!

No trip to the Phoenix metropolitan area would be complete without a visit to the Superstition Mountain.  Whether you find it magical, spiritual, or just plan beautiful, this is a sight not to be missed.  I’m saddened that our adventures this year will not include a stop at Lost Dutchman State Park.  The memories of our past visits will need to hold me over until next years journey.  For now, I remain camped on the far west side of the valley watching the cotton being harvested  🙂

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60 thoughts on “Magical, Spiritual, or just Beautiful

    • Aw, thanks Mike. Last week we had freezing temps and last year we were in Tucson when it snowed. So like anything in life, no guarantees, just odds 🙂

  1. That mountain is amazing looking! Unfortunately, the last time I was in the southern AZ area, we passed by Lost Dutchman and didn’t really even look into it.I am REALLY regretting it now. Man, I wasn’t even aware Superstition Mountain even existed! It just goes to show you, no matter how many times you look into an area, there are always things you missed. Amazing photos as well by the way!

  2. YES! I love when the Sun does that! I love it when the sun provides that natural photograph tool of lighting esp. when it comes to mountains. I had a luck with it when I was in Joshua Park NAtional Park. What’s the deal with the name “Superstition” mountain?

    • Not quite sure where it got it’s name. There is a lot of history surrounding the area though.

      I’d love to get to Joshua National Park and some of the other NP in CA. On our list 🙂

  3. I won’t bother mentioning our weather. With your Dad in the area, I’m sure you already know. This is such a beautiful park, Ingrid. It’s no wonder you’d like to return to it again and again.

  4. Great post. LOL – love your comment about the temperature disparity between Chicago and Phoenix. I think people forget that the desert has temperature extremes in both directions. I know the extreme usually hits towards the high end, but yes we do get below freezing a few times each year and snow or snow like precipitation although nothing that has to be shoveled thankfully. I’m sure the cold feels different here than in Colorado even at the same temperature…but it’s still cold.

    Where you here last week when we had the hard freeze? Each morning when I went to clean out the bird baths I had to chip out the water because it froze solid overnight. I’m not exactly thrilled about the warm up to the 70 degree weather this week, but I didn’t exactly enjoy covering all my plants and pipes last week either.

    I’m still a ways from Apache Junction, but I have a view of the Superstitions from my house. I’ve always loved those mountains.

    • Yep, we’ve been in El Mirage since October….opposite end of the valley from the Superstitions 😦 Yesterday I spent a couple of hours downtown photographing around the capital building. The weather was perfect. I’m loving it but we leave for Texas at the end of the month and I only hope the weather there will equally as lovely. We’ll be back in March for more awesome Phoenix weather 🙂

      • Oh, I bet you took some great photos around the capital. I used to work in the capital complex. There are a lot of hidden museums and such within some of those government buildings. Hope you include your pics in a future post!

  5. It’s interesting how sunlight and time if day change the character of a location. There is nothing lie early morning light to shoot a location – nice shots. It’s snowing here and I’m catching up on my reading. Take care and enjoy the cotton harvest.

    • Camping at the base of the mountain and being able to witness sunrise and sunset was quite special. The cotton harvest equipment was pretty interesting. Now the rose harvesting has started. I’m sure it’s strange to think about any kind of harvest when you’re sitting in freezing and snow covered country. Stay warm 🙂

  6. We’ve never stayed at Lost Dutchman but been to Tortilla Flats several times and love the magic of the mountain. Maybe that’s why I love the Phoenix area so much, every where you look there’s a majestic mountain range.

    • There’s something special about camping at its base. The Boomers usually have a rang in March there. I can’t find my newsletter….errrr. I think we’re going to try and attend. Tortilla Flat is always a fun little get away!

  7. You paint with words and photograph a pretty picture. Shame you couldn’t camp there this year. The cotton harvest sounds interesting. Have you thought of giving them a hand?

  8. Your photography is so beautiful!
    Yes, that was just wrong experiencing snow while your Dad experienced sunny weather in Chicago!
    The snow falling on your blog fits perfectly.

  9. We were there long ago ..before we began camping…I just love the history of the Lost Dutchman Mine…I get a very spooky aura when around it…The tales of the men who died on that mountain trying to locate that mine…amazing…Your photos were lovely, thanx for taking us back.

    • You’re right….a spooky aura. I guess that’s where I was going with the word ‘spiritual’. Search & Rescue are routinely called for injured or lost hikers. This mountain is not to be taken lightly – respect for the harsh land is a must for survival as all the history of the past proves.

  10. We love that area also. Paul and I were there in 2011. We hiked several if the trails in that mountain. You picked a perfect place to see nature at its best.

    I photo from 2011 with the fog is gorgeous!

    • So agree….. love the area and the hiking is awesome. The fog and the snow was so pretty – didn’t like the cold but once the sun came out it warmed up quickly.

    • Yes, the hiking is awesome…..everything from easy to difficult but all with a fantastic surrounding. And entertaining friends was most enjoyable, white table cloth dining at it’s best!

    • That’s awesome, Lisa. You and Hans will love the hiking. Some of the campsites are a little funky with the hook-ups but definitely workable and with the views – nothing worth complaining about.
      We stayed with the basic hikes; trail head accessed from the campground. Check out LuAnn’s blog at Paintyourlandscape for some other hiking ideas. I’ll also be doing some posts on sights to see in the area.

    • Photos don’t do it justice. Perhaps I’ll need to go back and play with some camera settings. Sounds like a good excuse to “have to” return 😉

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