Lost Dutchman State Park
Reserve a campground RV or tent site from the comfort of your home, anytime of day. Make online reservations Site reservations for this park are also available by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 non-refundable reservation fee per site.
Friday, Dec 6: Star Talk
7:30 pm. Learn about the night sky, constellations and planets with local astronomer Bill Dellinges. Parking and seating at campground amphitheater
Wednesday, Dec. 11: Sunset Hike
4:30 pm. Following Treasure Loop trail to Jacobs Cross Cut and Siphon Draw Trail will find hikers marveling at the mountain and the sky full of color, especially when there are few clouds. Elevation change is 102 ft. on very well maintained trails. Bring a flashlight for return to parking lot. Easy, 2 hour hike. Meet at Saguaro picnic area. Led by volunteer hiking leader Nancy
Sunday, Dec. 15: Ranger Led Moonlight Hike
7-9 p.m. There is a limit of 100 hikers, so please call in advance to reserve your space: 480 982-4485. Join us for a guided 2.5 mile hike on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail at the base of the mysterious Superstition Mountains. Hikers should dress appropriately and wear trail shoes or boots. Please bring a flashlight in case of cloudy conditions (no headlamps, please). Some parts of the trail are rocky and uneven with occasional steep grades (elevation gain: 120’). Participants should be in good health with no walking or night vision difficulties. Trail is NOT suitable for strollers or walkers. After the hike gather round the campfire for a marshmallow roast (marshmallows and sticks provided). All ages welcome. No pets, please. Please arrive early for parking in Cholla Day Use Area.
9 am at Siphon Draw Trailhead. Easy 2.5 miles. Learn about desert flora and fauna and the history of the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine. For those hikers who want a challenge, the group will break away at the Jacob Crosscut and Prospector View intersection with volunteer hiking leaders. Their hike will continue on to Green Boulder and down Treasure Loop back to Siphon Draw Trailhead. This will be a moderate 3-mile hike (due to elevation changes) that will take about 2-3 hours. For either hike, bring water, dress in warm layers and wear sturdy trail shoes or hiking boots. In case of rain, the hike will be cancelled. Read about other park's First Day Hikes
Introductory Park Video
About the Park
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman is located in the Sonoran Desert at an elevation of 2000 feet. The park is a short drive east of Phoenix. Photo taken March 3, 2010.
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman State Park is located in the Sonoran Desert, 40 miles east of Phoenix. Several trails lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. Take a stroll along the Native Plant Trail or hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the Flatiron. Depending on the year’s rainfall, you might be treated to a carpet of desert wildflowers in the spring. Enjoy a weekend of camping and experience native wildlife including mule deer, coyote, javelina and jackrabbit.
The park offers a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, picnic facilities, 72 campsites, a dump station, restrooms, showers, and group use areas. The visitor center sells maps and other publications.
Before you hike, be prepared with enough water and proper footwear as the trails are steep and challenging.
Please join us for exciting interpretive ranger and volunteer naturalist guided hikes and family-oriented programs, weather permitting, at Lost Dutchman State Park. Fees for guided hikes and programs are included in the park entry fee of $7 per vehicle or with your annual pass. Reservations are not required unless specified in the program description. 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ. Park Phone 480-982-4485.
Adopt A Cactus Program Helps Keep Park Open
Friends of Lost Dutchman SP Volunteer Patricia Carter shares her story and explains about the New Adopt a Cactus program, which allows individuals and groups to adopt a Saguaro cactus to help to raise funds for the Friends Group's continuing efforts. Learn More.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Is this a Medicinal Plant?
9 a.m. This guided hike will follow Jacobs Crosscut Trail as we discover medicinal plants of the Sonoran Desert and talk about their healing capabilities. Hiking leader Georgy will point out the medicinal plants and discuss their uses, such as tea made from creosote bush to ease arthritis, nuts from the Jojoba bush to nourish the skin, or gum from Brittlebush to combat bronchitis. Hike will last about 3 hrs. This is an easy hike with an elevation change of approx 120 ft. Please bring water, a snack, sunscreen, a hat, proper hiking shoes and curiosity. Like the Pima and Papago Indians before us, we will forage along the Discovery, Siphon Draw, Jacob’s Crosscut and Treasure Loop Trails to see varied vegetation. Meet at Cholla Parking lot.
Wednesday, Dec. 18: Getting to Know the Birds Around You
9 am. Meeting in the Saguaro Day Use area, there will be a brief discussion about how to tell one bird from another; then we’ll be looking for resident birds (from hawks to hummingbirds) and for any late migrants stopping by on their way south. After birding the Saguaro Day use area, we’ll look for birds as we walk up toward Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. We’ll make the short loop around and back to Saguaro Day Use lot, birding as we go. This is more of an “amble” than a hike as we let the birds come to us. Bring binoculars, water and wear sturdy trail shoes. Walk will last approximately 90 min, 1 mile easy. No dogs or small children, please. Meet at Saguaro Day Use at 9 a.m. Led by volunteer birder Babs.
Learn More About Apache Junction
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Lost Dutchman Legend
The Superstition Mountains (their name inspired by Pima Indian legends) have been a source of mystery and legend since early times. The area is dotted with ancient cliff dwellings and caves, many showing signs of former habitation. It is not certain who these people were; some believe they were Salado or Hohokam Indians who populated this part of Arizona several centuries ago. Later, Pimas and "Apaches" (some of whom may have been Yavapais) occupied parts of the region. However, the name "Apache" came to be closely associated with the Superstitions, and the mountains became an Apache stronghold in the 1800s.
During the 1840s the Peralta family of northern Mexico supposedly developed rich gold mine(s) in the Superstitions. Their last expedition to carry gold back to Mexico occured in 1848. According to legend, the large party was ambushed by Apaches, and all were killed except for one or two Peralta family members who escaped into Mexico. This area is known today as the Massacre Grounds.
A number of other people were supposed to have known the mine's location or even to have worked it. Numerous maps have surfaced over the years, only to become lost or misplaced when interested parties pressed for facts. Men who claimed to have found the Peralta mine were unable to return to it or some disaster occured before they could file a claim, all adding to the lore of a "lost mine."
In the 1870s Jacob Waltz, "the Dutchman" (actually a native of Germany) was said to have located the mine through the aid of a Peralta descendant. Waltz and his partner, Jacob Weiser worked the mine and allegedly hid one or more caches of gold in the Superstitions. Most stories place the gold in the vicinity of Weaver's Needle, a well known landmark. Weiser was killed by Apaches, or according to some, by Waltz himself.
In failing health, Jacob Waltz moved to Phoenix and died some twenty years later in 1891. He supposedly described the mine's location to Julia Thomas, a neighbor who took care of him prior to his death. Neither she nor dozens of other seekers in the years that followed were able to find the "Lost Dutchman's Mine." Subsequent searchers have sometimes met with foul play or even death, contributing to the superstition and legend that surround these mountains.
Many versions of the "Lost Dutchman Mine" story exist, and several books and films have been done on the subject.
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