Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona is named after a legendary lost gold mine and borders Tonto National Forest. It is especially beautiful in the spring when you are treated to a carpet of desert wildflowers. Lost Dutchman State Park offers plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, and simply enjoy the epic views of the Superstition Mountains.
Several trails lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. They range from the ¼ mile, flat Native Plant Trail to the challenging Flatiron via the Siphon Draw Trail. The 5.5-mile out-and-back hike with 2527′ elevation gain is no easy stroll, but the views from the top are worth the effort. It is a pretty even uphill to the Basin, after that it was some serious rock scrambling. The trail is marked on rocks in these places. This is a very popular hike, and the heat can get pretty brutal in the afternoons, so start early! Make it to the top and you will be rewarded with stunning scenery, and if you’re like me, a pretty good sense of accomplishment.
Around the outer edge of the park is a 4-mile single-track mountain bike loop. The trail is pretty smooth and flat in most places, but also has a few good ups and down through the various washes. It was never too crowded, but always a nice diversion.
The Lost Dutchman campground offers 134 campsites. Half of the sites provide electricity and water. There are also paved non-hookup site pads that can be used for tents or RVs. Every campsite has a picnic table, barbecue grill, and a fire pit. There are no size restrictions on RVs and pets are welcome. There is also a small bathhouse and a dump station.
Other nearby options include Usery Regional Recreation Area, McDowell Mountain, and a slew of commercial parks filled to the brim with snowbirds each year.
Also close, the Apache Trail offers a nice drive on an old stagecoach trail. What starts as a calm drive through a sea of Saguaro, becomes an adventurous drive through one of the most amazing canyons via the historic Apache Trail, aka State Route 88. The original narrow, rugged trail was converted to transport heavy equipment and supplies a distance of nearly 60 miles from the town of Mesa to the Theodore Roosevelt Dam site. Today the Apache Trail itself is just less than 50 miles. The northern 22 miles of it are unpaved. Because the road is well maintained and graded, 4-wheel drive is not a requirement for this drive. However, there are several switchbacks over sheer cliffs, so it is not for the faint of heart.
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