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On the Map


Treasures Lost and Found
Exploring the Lost Dutchman State Park
By Seth Muller

During an early winter trip to Lost Dutchman State Park, my wife and I took the steady and stunning ascent up the Siphon Draw Trail. We did not know much about what to expect, as we did little research about the Lost Dutchman Trails or the famed Superstition Mountains. What I knew most prominently about this sturdy tower of geologic wonder is the treasure—always the treasure.

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is Arizona’s most prominent of mysteries. The mine is tied to prospector Jacob Waltz—a German immigrant, who claimed to have found a rich gold mine in the Superstitions or somewhere in their vicinity. The possible location and the tales of this mine vary widely, and many believe it doesn’t exist. Still others search for it. Some have died on the search.

For scoring a jackpot, one likely has a better chance with the lottery (and it’s likely a less dangerous option). But the good thing about Lost Dutchman State Park is that a visit and a hike among its wondrous trails is its own kind of great reward. One of the best state parks of the southern half of Arizona, Lost Dutchman features the great hikes, a perfect stop for winter camping and a chance to bask in the Sonoran joys during its cooler months.

On our hike up Siphon Draw, we found a great place where rock outcrops conceal great alcoves. Some not-so-bright teenagers tried rock climbing without ropes or crash pads around us, but we found a few easy and safer scrambles of our own. The trail climbs the canyon, known as Siphon Draw, up into the stunning outcrops of basalt. The 2,000-foot rock features are impressive and can be seen for miles. The stunning geology is the result of a collapsed volcanic caldera.

The Superstitions actually lie within the Tonto National Forest and are part of a wilderness area. The state park is developed and proper gateway and great launching point for day hikes into this mountain wonder. With December here, it’s a great place to explore.


Trip Planner

Directions: Take Interstate 17 south to Phoenix. Go from 17 to the 101 to the 202. Take Exit 26 and follow signs for Lost Dutchman and Route 88.

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