Stargazing and Superstition – Lost Dutchman State Park
Known as “the Gateway to the Superstitions,” Lost Dutchman State Park is a 320-acre park full of spectacular views, star-filled skies, beautiful Sonoran Desert scenery and plenty of mysteries. Here are three reasons you should make Lost Dutchman State Park a stop on your Arizona vacations.
1. A Feast for the Eyes
Lost Dutchman State Park gives you plenty to see whether you’re looking down at the glowing expanse of Phoenix city lights or up at the constellations and galaxies of the wide-open sky. This is true Arizona big-sky country and it offers some excellent stargazing. There are regular events for watching the sky, as well as special events when there are meteor showers or other heavenly goings-on. The scenery here is incredible and there are many great spots for watching the sun set over the desert.
2. Enjoy the Sonoran Desert
The park is at the foothills of the Superstition Mountains in the Sonoran Desert and desert beauty is all around. The Superstition Mountains have dramatic cliffs and colors of many hues. Located throughout the park are unique and iconic rock structures like Green Boulder that inspire the imagination.
There is also plenty of Sonoran plant and animal life to enjoy in the park. Animal sightings include coyotes, mule deer, bobcats, jackrabbits, javelin and more. The park is filled with saguaro cactus and desert wildflowers.
3. Hiking in the Wilderness
All over Lost Dutchman State Park there are hiking trails that are great for hikers or mountain bikers. Several of the trails lead out of the park and into the Superstition Wilderness and Tonto National Forest.
The variety of trails offers everything from easy jaunts to challenging treks. The Native Plant Trail takes you on an easy walk to see many kinds of desert flora. The challenging Siphon Draw Trail takes you to the top of one of the park’s iconic flatirons. When you enter the park, be sure to get a trail map. You can hike many of the trails partially and loop back when it’s convenient for you.
The Legends of Lost Dutchman State Park
Beyond the natural beauty, the Superstition Mountains are full of legends, stories, and mysteries. These legends span from ancient times to only decades ago.
The “lost Dutchman,” for which it was named, was a Dutch entrepreneur who claimed to have found the hidden Peralta Mine, but he took its whereabouts with him to the grave. Expeditions into the mountains to find the lost mine have resulted in much frustration, waste of time and money – and sometimes foul play or even death.
You can enjoy the history and atmosphere of the area at the museum, which is full of photos and relics, and the ghost town of Goldfield near the park entrance.
The park also has a large campground as well a day use areas. The campground is known to offer some of the best camping in Arizona. Just an hour’s drive from Phoenix, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy the nature and history of the Sonoran Desert and Superstition Mountains.