Superstition Mountains

Coordinates: 33°28′41″N 111°14′20″W / 33.47806°N 111.23889°W / 33.47806; -111.23889
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Superstition Mountains
Superstition Mountains is located in Arizona
Superstition Mountains
Highest point
PeakSuperstition Mountain, 33°24′40″N 111°24′03″W / 33.411016967°N 111.400765347°W / 33.411016967; -111.400765347
Elevation1,542 m (5,059 ft) Edit this on Wikidata NAVD 88[1]
Prominence1,817 ft (554 m)[2]
Coordinates33°28′41″N 111°14′20″W / 33.47806°N 111.23889°W / 33.47806; -111.23889
Superstition Wilderness
Praying Hands Formation
LocationMaricopa / Pinal / Gila counties, Arizona, US
Nearest cityApache Junction, Arizona
Coordinates33°28′41″N 111°14′20″W / 33.47806°N 111.23889°W / 33.47806; -111.23889
Area159,757 acres (646.51 km2)
Governing bodyUnited States Forest Service

The Superstition Mountains (Yavapai: Wi:kchsawa) is a range of mountains in Arizona located to the east of the Phoenix metropolitan area. They are anchored by Superstition Mountain, a large mountain that is a popular recreation destination for residents of the Phoenix, Arizona, area. They are roughly bounded by U.S. Route 60 on the south, Arizona State Route 88 on the northwest, and Arizona State Route 188 on the northeast.

History and description[edit]

The mountains were once known in Spanish as Sierra de la Espuma ("Foam Mountain").

The range has a maximum elevation of 6,266 ft (1,910 m) and prominence of 1,706 ft (520 m) at Mound Mountain in the far eastern section of the range.[4][5][6]

The mountains are in the federally designated Superstition Wilderness Area, and include a variety of natural features in addition to its namesake mountain. Weavers Needle, a prominent landmark and rock climbing destination set behind and to the east of Superstition Mountain, is a tall eroded volcanic remnant[7] that plays a significant role in the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. Numerous hiking trails cross the mountains from multiple access points, including the Peralta Trailhead, the most popular.[8] Peralta Canyon, on the northeast side of Superstition Mountain, contains a popular trail that leads up to Fremont Saddle, which provides a very picturesque view of Weavers Needle. Miner's Needle is another prominent formation in the wilderness and a popular hiking destination. Lost Dutchman State Park, located on the west side of Superstition Mountain, includes several short hiking and mountain bike trails.

Circlestone includes ancient stone monuments.

As with most of the terrain surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area, the Superstition Mountains have a desert climate, with high summer temperatures and a handful of perennial sources of water. The elevation in the more remote, eastern portion of the wilderness is higher than the western portion, which lowers temperatures slightly.


The legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine centers around the Superstition Mountains. According to the legend, a German immigrant named Jacob Waltz discovered a mother lode of gold in the Superstition Wilderness and revealed its location on his deathbed in Phoenix in 1891 to Julia Thomas, a boarding-house owner who had taken care of him for many years. Several mines have been claimed to be the actual mine that Waltz discovered, but none of those claims have been verified.[7] Waltz was a miner at Vulture Mine, where he likely stole the gold and came up with the secret mine to explain his theft. The legends and lore of the Superstition Mountains can be experienced at the Superstition Mountain Museum[9] on the Apache Trail where artifacts of the Lost Dutchman are on display.

Some Apaches believe that the hole leading down into the lower world, or hell, is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole are supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the metropolitan region.[10]

Nearby towns and cities[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Superstition". NGS Data Sheet. National Geodetic Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "Superstition Benchmark, Arizona". Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "Maps | Data Basin". Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  4. ^ "Mound Mountain, East Superstition Mountains". Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  5. ^ "East Superstition Mountains". Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  6. ^ "Superstition Mountains Benchmark, Western section". Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  7. ^ a b Kollenborn, Tom (1990). "Weaver's Needle or Picacho?". Archived from the original on 2004-10-30. Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  8. ^ Carroll, Doug. "Hiking the Supsertitions". Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  9. ^ Heim, Dave. "Superstition Mountain Museum".
  10. ^ Vitaliano, Dorothy. 1973. Legends of the Earth, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 170–171.

External links[edit]