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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂