Last week hubby and I completed one of the best hikes we’ve ever done. The scenery was great, the weather cooperated, and we both felt strong and prepared for it. We knew the Peralta Trail would be our most ambitious hike to date but after a couple of weeks conditioning on the trails near Lost Dutchman State Park we felt ready.
On a personal note; what made this hike even more special and rewarding was the fact that a year ago I had difficulties walking a Walmart let alone a rugged trail.
The first half of 2014 had me struggling with some health issues and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to hike a trail like this. I won’t bore you with my medical woes…even I don’t want to hear it about it LOL.
Suffice it to say; WOW, what a difference a year makes. I feel great and can’t believe I managed this hike without issue!
This amazing hike begins at the mouth of Peralta Canyon and climbs steadily through a varied terrain. The area is stunning and has a complex volcanic origin. The rugged trail starts amongst oak and mesquite scrub then eventually changes to cacti and rock.Although the trail is rated moderate – strenuous, that doesn’t stop hikers from making it one of the most heavily used trails in Arizona. Most folks take the trail up 2.2 miles (1,380 foot uphill trek) to the crest at the Fremont Saddle to enjoy a dramatic view of Weavers Needle then retrace their steps back down to the trailhead. That’s exactly what Al and I did.
Al and I took a 20 minute break at the Fremont Saddle to have a snack while admiring the view of Weavers Needle.There’s a stark rugged beauty to the Superstition Wilderness Area that has a draw about it, not to mention all the rumors concerning lost gold mines and secret maps.
This is harsh inhospitable terrain to those not equipped to meet natures own terms.
As a matter of fact, the Superstition Wilderness Area keeps Search and Rescue busier than they’d care to be. The stories are endless of those who have either disappeared, required rescuing, or have actually perished. The land is unforgiving.
Al and I came prepared with plenty of water and a snack and although we were tempted to hike out to the “lone pine tree” for an even more spectacular view, we knew that would add about another half hour to our hike, but more importantly might require more water than we were carrying. Not worth chancing.
We promised each other the next time we hike Peralta Trail, we’ll hike to the lone pine.
Weavers Needle is a dramatic volcanic plug that rises 4,443 feet. It’s surrounded by hoodoos in all directions adding a sense of unique drama to the already stunning landscape. The photos just don’t do it justice.
As we marveled at incredible views in all directions, we took our time enjoying this fabulous hike. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to complete…. 3 hours of hiking with a 1/2 hour of stopping. After all, I needed photos for proof I completed this hike… more so for me, than for you!
We tackled this hike on a Sunday in March (Spring Break) and although this is considered an extremely popular trail especially on weekends, we thought the trails at the State Park seemed much busier. That said, we were off the trail by noon. So maybe it got busier as the day progressed. Personally, we wouldn’t hesitate hiking it again on a weekend.
We can’t wait until we’re back in the area in the fall to tackle this trail again…. it’s a butt burner 🙂
If you’re interested in visiting Weavers Needle but looking for a trail less popular, check out LuAnn’s post over at Paint Your Landscape.
Location of the Peralta trailhead: located off US Highway 60 east of Phoenix, Arizona. At the traffic light in the town of Gold Canyon, head north on Peralta Road. There’s a brown directional sign for the trailhead. The road starts off paved and then the last seven miles are gravel. The road ends at the trailhead. There’s a vault toilet but no water. Leashed doggies ok.
Superstition Wilderness Trails West: Hikes, Horse Rides, and History
The Legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine