Superstition Ridge, Arizona, February 2018

During the last week of February Linda and I camped at Lost Dutchman State Park, on the east side of the Phoenix metropolitan area northeast of Apache Junction. We spent three nights camped there. On our second day, Tuesday February 27, I hiked Superstition Benchmark (Peak 5057), the highpoint of Superstition Ridge. Superstition Benchmark is the 90th most prominent peak in Arizona with 1817 feet of topographic prominence and 5057 feet of elevation.

Evening view of Superstition Mountain from Lost Dutchman State Park

Evening view of Superstition Mountain from Lost Dutchman State Park

Superstition Benchmark was accessible from the State Park. But by driving to the Carney Springs Trailhead on the south side the route was shorter and more likely I would reach the summit my first time in the area.

Superstition Ridge from Peralta Road. Superstition Benchmark is the high peak on the left.

Superstition Ridge from Peralta Road. Superstition Benchmark is the high peak on the left.

The route started on a closed road, then entered the Superstition Wilderness. The trail system was confusing at this point and I took the most traveled and incorrect route before realizing my mistake. I turned back and found the unmarked Superstition Ridgeline Route which I followed upward.

My first view of Superstition Benchmark on the left from the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

My first view of Superstition Benchmark on the left from the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

Superstition Benchmark from higher on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

Superstition Benchmark from higher on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

The trail was steep and rocky as it climbed to the Superstition Ridge. Eventually I saw what I thought was the summit ahead. As I climbed the route I saw the summit area was surrounded by hoodoos, pillars of rock.

Summit hoodoos from the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

Summit hoodoos from the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

I passed between the hoodoos and enjoyed a short class 3 climb up rock slabs to the summit. I was glad the summit was not on the top of one of those hoodoos.

North along the Superstition Ridgeline Trail from Superstition Benchmark

North along the Superstition Ridgeline Trail from Superstition Benchmark

I had seen no one since leaving the busy trail system below and thought that perhaps I would not see anyone until I returned. But after entering my name in the new summit registry and while I was having my lunch another hiker arrived from another route.

Looking down on the hoodoos from Superstition Benchmark

Looking down on the hoodoos from Superstition Benchmark

A cold front was approaching from the west and the summit was getting windy. The valley below was starting to get dusty. I began my descent, stopping frequently for photos of the peak behind me and surrounding peaks and towers in the Superstition Wilderness.

Four Peaks on the left and Weaver's Needle on the right from my descent of the Superstition Ridgeline Trail.

Four Peaks on the left and Weaver’s Needle on the right from my descent of the Superstition Ridgeline Trail.

We enjoyed camping at Lost Dutchman State Park. Should we ever return I would like to hike the Siphon Draw Trail to gain the Superstition Ridgeline and see how the route to the summit goes from there. It would be a very scenic hike.

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Paul McClellan

About Paul McClellan

I had the good fortune to have spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, where I discovered the joys and addiction of hiking and climbing in the Cascades Range and other ranges in the Western United States.
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