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Superstition Ridgeline, AZ

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Guide 348 Triplogs  23 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
4.6 of 5 by 89
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Difficulty 5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Shuttle 11.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,290 feet
Elevation Gain 2,820 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,480 feet
Avg Time Hiking 8 - 11 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 26.43
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2019-03-28 caragruey
7  2019-03-17
Reverse Flatiron
7  2019-03-09
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
26  2019-03-03 Vashti
10  2019-02-02
Superstition Peak 5057 via Hiero
12  2019-01-22 chumley
9  2019-01-22 Pivo
4  2019-01-22 LindaAnn
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 24
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → 5 AM
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
31 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Kakatak Tamai
by joebartels

Up Siphon Draw passing the Flatiron, across the ridgeline, over to Superstition Peak 5057, down to West Boulder Saddle, down to the old Carney Springs Trailhead and finish on the Lost Goldmine Trail to Peralta Trailhead. A vehicle shuttle is necessary for a day hike. A 2-3 day backpack might be to loop down to Weaver's Needle or further.

Other Routes
You might consider a 12.5mi route from the free Crosscut Trailhead to Peralta Trailhead via Siphon Draw and Carney Springs / Lost Goldmine. Personally I'd consider a reverse Flatiron beginning with a Cave Trail ending to be the ultimate journey.

This is a hardy day hike. There are a couple escape routes to keep in mind. Hog Canyon has a couple options but leaves you in an area that is difficult to access without prior knowledge. Hieroglyphics Canyon is more worthy. Better thinking is to just be prepared to complete the hike. The escape routes would likely cause more trouble without prior experience.

Unless you're a skilled route finder I suggest hiking both ends first to get familiar with the area. Hike the "Flatiron" end, then on another day, hike to West Boulder Saddle on the "Dacite Super Loop". I think you'll agree, both of these hikes fall into the strenuous category. Of course you'll only need to go up one of these trails and come down on the other. Plus you'll need to setup a car shuttle at one end. You can hike this trail in either direction. Either direction starts out shaded from the morning sun. I prefer to go from the Flatiron end to Peralta Trailhead. It seems like there's less head on sun, especially at the end of the hike. If you're not into the shuttle thing then split it up into two hikes.

I do not believe this hike is a route finding nightmare. My personal opinion is it's more of an endurance issue. When you go beyond your limits you start making mistakes on any trail. I really enjoyed being up on the northwestern ridge. I found several sections of trail coupled with rock cairns in indistinct areas. Not once, was I worried about getting lost. The views are stunning in all directions.

Let's Hike!

From Siphon Draw
Hike up to towards the Flatiron.(see Flatiron hike for more details) When you break from the canyon, on to the deck, leading over to the Flatiron itself, do not go towards the Flatiron. Instead, continue UP and over the saddle above you. Over the saddle it's likely you're looking into unseen territory. Basically any unseen territory in the Superstitions is always a pleaser. It only gets better. You will notice there is a trail going down and out the other side. This is it, the Ridgeline Trail, now how hard was that? At the saddle you could take a left and go up to the top of Superstition Mountain and bag the peak. The side excursion can be time consuming if you are not familiar with the route. Continuing on the trail is fairly overgrown for a short section. Which reminds me, throughout this hike pay close attention to the cacti lining the trail. This is not a maintained trail. I hiked it in teva sandals. Leather boots might be a better choice. Jeans aren't necessary as there's little bushwhacking and they're not much defense against needles.

Wedge Rock Saddle to the Ridge
The trail goes down to a group of pine trees. It appears the trail will go in-between two pines. In reality that's a camp site.( between trees 2 & 3 in the photo) The trail goes around the right. Looking back on the area is a good idea. You will notice there is actually five pines in all. Four mature and a fifth small pine as of 2001. Wedge Rock Saddle is seen further beyond the pines. So... if you return this way or hike the trail in the opposite direction you'll be going left of the trees. It's a good idea to check the trail and scenery behind you every ten minutes or so to keep orientated. If you are doing this in the reverse it is important to know your way back to the Flatiron, since you can't see it from the ridge.

The trail curves back north before actually jumping on the ridge. Between Monument Canyon and Hog Canyon fanning down below to your right is another canyon (I'm not sure of the name) coming up to this indent in the ridge. Here I crossed over a small stream, that comes down from Superstition Mountain. I was really surprised to find running water up here, especially over a week since the last rain. Before the stream was a very lush section of trail. Felt like I was near Parson's Spring more then on the brutal ridge of the Superstitions. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it was quite the contrast. I encountered a couple seeps along the way too.

On the Ridge
This is the section most likely fear. On the contrary it's the most soothing worry free section of the hike. You can make good time across a majority of this terrain or you can easily let the hours melt away. The route is well worn or cairned across. A few sucker trails may tempt or swindle. However you really can't go over five minutes in the wrong direction. When you hear about people getting lost in the Superstitions it's not on this ridgeline, it's in Barks Canyon or the Red Tanks Trail. Enjoy the views and take your photos here or you'll end up with photos everybody has seen on either end.

Superstition Peak 5057 to West Boulder Saddle
This is the route finding section. As you are coming across the ridgeline approaching Peak 5057 cairns are your guide. Coming around the west side of topo mark 4790 is a maze of boulders. The cairns lead you up towards Peak 5057 then skirt the peak on the east. Here it looks all down hill. It is and it seems never ending at times. If you wish to bag Peak 5057 it's a short side excursion.

Route finding is fairly easy until you level out northeast behind the Three Sisters. The terrain turns to smooth rock slab and you cross a ravine. This is the actual origin of West Boulder Creek which eventually empties into Canyon Lake ten miles away. Finding the proper route out of the ravine is critical or you'll end up on an old alignment that's a total bushwhack.

Continue through the cairn maze. If you're on the proper route it's not a bushwhack and before reaching West Boulder Saddle you'll pass near a stumpy pipe with a brass cap. This is a general land corner section-marker. You'll know you're at West Boulder Saddle as you come around a huge bathroom sized boulder onto a saddle.

West Boulder Saddle to Peralta Trailhead
From here it's down West Boulder Trail to the old Carney Springs Trailhead. I suggest checking out the Dacite Super Loop prior to attempting this hike. First you head down to the false saddle. Next it's a cairn route and a practical slide down to the old Carney Springs Campground. This is followed by a mild brushy flat hike to the fence (old Carney Springs Trailhead). From the fence you turn east on the unmarked Lost Goldmine Trail and follow it to Peralta Trail. Be forewarned there is no signage to guide you in this section. Trails run rampant. At worst you'll end up on the road to Peralta Trailhead or at the Lost Goldmine Trailhead which simply means a slightly longer hike.

Wrap up
If you have the endurance you will really enjoy this trail. Be careful, stay calm in comprising situations and know when to turn around. You would be wise to know the surrounding area before attempting this hike. This should not be your introduction to the Superstitions or it could be your last. There is a cell signal from the whole trail. Keep in mind an air rescue is expensive. There's no shade up on the ridge. I got a nasty sun burn here in the winter. Sunscreen is necessary in February. I wouldn't recommend hiking this trail in weather over eighty degrees. Be sure to take plenty of water, 5-6 quarts in 70 degree weather.

-- Summary edited 2008-02-04 --

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a difficult hike. Arrive fit and prepared or this could get ugly.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2001-02-15 joebartels
  • 2018 Lost Dutchman SP Info
    area related
    2018 Lost Dutchman SP Info
  • 2018 Lost Dutchman SP Map
    area related
    2018 Lost Dutchman SP Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 82 deeper Triplog Reviews
Superstition Ridgeline
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We left the house at 5a to drop one car off at the carney springs TH, and then headed over to the lost Dutchman. We got started hiking just before 7a. As expected, there were a lot of people going up siphon draw. Luckily, for the most part, we left them all when we headed over the ridge. Yippee! Solitude!

Our favorite area was the couple of miles from just after our ascent. What a beautiful area with spectacular views! I think it was even more amazing given an the recent snow and rain! It is very green up there, and all the flowing water is magical!! :D

We met one backpacker coming from the east who told us that there was 2 feet of snow on the north ridge prior to 5057 and that he had to turn around after originally starting the day at flat iron... :/ we were concerned, but decided to press on and see for ourselves. We did see where he was in the snow, but the official route takes you around the south side not the north. Sure enough that was the easier way to go. I'm glad we decided to not take the snowy northern route!

Just after that, we met the one and only group we saw coming from the east. A group of 5 guys and a solo backpacker from Minnesota. After a quick break, we headed on and were near hieroglyphics springs. Just before that, we met two groups coming our same direction that had taken the snowy route on the north side. Both groups had done the Ridgeline before and said you could do either side. They said it was pretty slippery.

From then on, it was quite a bit of up and down, including my all time favorite, the lone cairn 20ish feet up marking a little bit nasty climb. It wasn't bad, but I guess it's not for the faint of heart! I will say that I'm glad to be tall!! It makes life easier sometimes! :D

We saw the way to 5057, but we weren't moving fast and decided against adding on an extra trip. One of the groups of 3 guys that we saw went up. We were glad to have our solitude once again. :D. We looked down onto the campsite sheltered fire ring and we thought it was a throne constructed of rocks! Alas, we were somewhat disappointed to see the reality, lol, but the two pillar gatekeeper cairns were pretty cool.

Trekking along, we saw a good flowing waterfall. And before you know it, the valley (also with lots of water in deep pools) and then west Boulder saddle. Down, down, down to the TH and our car. :)

A glorious day for our first experience with the Ridgeline! :D. It was more arduous than we thought, but no less enjoyable! :D

Not a lot of wildflowers. Some scattered about.
Superstition Ridgeline
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Superstition Ridgeline Mini-Double
This hike is basically a variation of the Superstition Ridgeline hike. On this one, we avoid the whole car swap thing by starting at Lost Dutchman State Park; then taking the Siphon Draw trail up to Siphon Draw; then continuing up to Flatiron; and then going along the Ridgeline up to Superstition Peak 5057. From there, we retraced our route back to Lost Dutchman State Park.

This hike is called a mini-double because we do not hike the entire ridgeline twice, only a portion of it. The full double would be going from Lost Dutchman State Park to Carney Springs and back, but that is more than I care to tackle!

My Garmin GPS recorded this hike as being 16.8 miles with an AEG of 6,400 feet. After factoring in all of the rock scrambling, I will say that this is probably the most strenuous day hike in the Valley.

It was a super day to be up on the Ridgeline -- the temperature was nice and it was breezy enough to counteract the full sun. It was really hazy looking down below the ridgeline, especially when looking to the south.

Edith -- my hiking partner on this day -- should do fine on her upcoming one-day Rim-cubed hike at the Grand Canyon!
Superstition Ridgeline
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With the promise of some not quite Arizona friendly weather I decided to enjoy it by trekking across the ridgeline and back. I got a start around 6:10 from Lost Dutchman. It was incredibly windy all the way to the basin. From there until the ridgeline the mountain absorbed any winds being sent towards me. I changed out of my trail runners at the basin and threw on my approach shoes for the climb up to the second saddle. I usually switch back to trail runners when heading out onto the ridgeline but decided to stay in the approach shoes. Turns out I pounded out the rest of the trip in them.

The return trip back to Lost Dutchman was a race against the approaching weather, which I lost. Ducking down from the Second Saddle to return to the basin and the skies opened up on me again.

Superstition Ridgeline
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In anticipation of some interesting weather, we headed out on the spine of the superstitions hoping to encounter a little rain, clouds, and maybe some snow.

It was a great day to be out but the weather only provided a few periods of light rain. No snow, and we were off the spine before the most dramatic clouds of the day socked in. Oh well. It was a great day to be up there. I really enjoy seeing these places when they're not clear and sunny. You can find that pretty much any time you want!

I always enjoy this one, and as usual, it kicked my butt. It was nice to finally put a face to the superstitionguy avatar who helped us out with the shuttle. Thanks!
Superstition Ridgeline
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I thought that this was an awesome hike -- the views going up Hieroglyphic Canyon were great, and ditto for the views on the Ridgeline and at the top of Peak 5057. This hike was more strenuous than I thought it would be, largely due to the route finding and scrambling from the petroglyphs up to the ridgeline. I had hiked the ridgeline before, but I did not remember all of the rock climbing on the section of the ridgeline between the Hiero trail junction and Peak 5057. My garmin GPS measured the roundtrip hike as being 8.6 miles with 3,400 feet of elevation gain. I have uploaded a GPS track that shows a one-way hike up to the Peak.

Note that I did this as an out-and-back from the Hiero TH.

I will definitely do this one again!
Superstition Ridgeline
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I haven't been out since I lost my best friend a month and a half ago. I told myself I never wanted to go hiking again but the itch started and it turned out this was perfect therapy for me. I started at Carney Springs and made it up to the saddle in 1.5 hours. I was feeling that AEG pretty good there on the ascent. After the saddle, the trail is very overgrown but you can still make out the path on the ground and there are a few cairns here and there. Made it to 5057 in 3 hours and I knew it was going to be a long day so I decided to skip the peak as I have already bagged it. Now it was on to new territory for me! There was a brief scramble/down climb through some rocks right after 5057 and then its right on top of the ridgeline the whole way. Needless to say, the views were spectacular that far up. The trail was very easy to follow the whole way. Its a real roller coaster as the trail loses and gains 300 ft at a time. My calves were killing me. The coolest section, I thought, was when there was an actual ridgeline. You could see it snake its way down to flatiron and see all the hoodoos poking up from the top. The trail stays right on top here for the most part, though some sections do drop below a bit to the east. There were wasps everywhere up there. At first I kinda freaked but realized I had nowhere to run to, so just hoped they let me be, which they did. About 5 hours in I really started to feel the heat and the AEG catch up with me. When you start having thoughts about helicopters, you know you might have gotten in a little over your head. As I started seeing 5057 get further and further away and 5054 coming closer, my confidence grew and I made my way for the last few miles to the Flat Iron area. Kinda eerie that there was no one up there.. I mean this is Saturday, people!! I didnt see my first human until almost reaching the chute in Siphon Draw. At that point my knees were absolutely killing me on that decent.. I was so happy to be on the flat ground after this hike!! Made it over to the Mining camp where my Uber picked me up and begrudgingly took me back down the smoothest 5 miles of dirt road there is in Arizona, and back to my Jeep. I would have tipped her but she was really complaining the whole way.

Huge check mark for me! Really needed to get back out and I feel a lot better because I was able to accomplish something by myself that I have really been wanting to do for a long time. Time heals all wounds, and nature is the prefect catalyst.
Superstition Ridgeline
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Today seemed like the perfect time to check this one off of the list; and probably the last day I'd have the weather on my side to do it before Kilimanjaro. I started up around 7ish in the morning. Ran into a few familiar faces on the way up.

Reaching the second saddle I had a bit of difficulty locating the actual trail. Everything is so overgrown that it makes it hard to see. I started cruising once I found the trail and made it to 5057 in a little over 3 hours. I hung out on top of 5057 for a few minutes then made haste on my way back.

I unfortunately had a run in with a cacti and had to pull up to pull out the spines. It was just superficial damage and away I went as I still had several miles to cover. I reached the point of the ridgeline that I believe is the most photogenic and reach for camera, that was attached to my hip belt... but wasn't there. It had fallen off during the pit stop and now I was faced with the daunting task of retracing my steps to find it. I made my way back through the barren slick rock section about a mile from 5057, trying to retrace my steps. I couldn't find it and decided to turn back and follow the trail as best I could... and about a minute later, there it was. Disaster avoided.

I really need to come up with a better strategy for these high AEG hikes. I cramp up something fierce on these. If I picked my leg up past a certain point it would start to cramp. I drunk 32oz of powerade and a ton of water, 2 packages of gu, and several of the honeycomb thingamabobs. It is something I hope to solve before Kilimanjaro as the summit night is something like 15+ miles and 4k of AEG in the first handful of miles.
Superstition Ridgeline
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Connecting the Y - Wave Cave/W Boulder Sdl Lp
A beautiful day for a hike! We started off this morning from Carnie Springs TH, and arrived at Wave Cave under an hour later. We stopped briefly to take pictures of the coiled rattlesnake that was just off trail. We had no less than 15 people tell us about that snake. The snake was seriously PO'd that 30 people were walking by him, but not mad enough to move, I guess! We had a bite to eat at wave cave, and took the requisite surfing pictures. :) It was our first time here, after all! I kept thinking about that trip log that mentioned a board game convention had 50 people sleep over in the cave. Yikes. I mean the cave is big, but that is a LOT of people. After our snack, it was upward and onward to our real adventure!!

I am a lazy sort. I really wanted to see wave cave and west boulder saddle. In the same trip. And I didn't want to lose all the elevation we had just gained. So instead, we followed Joe & Eagle's route [ custom map ] where they cut up the ravine from wave cave. It was simple enough, but bush whacking is slow, especially with friends that maybe didn't understand what you said when you said there is no trail. Alas. It was a slog, but worth not going down and back up (see, lazy!!). I am very thankful for the rattles on rattlesnakes, as I almost stepped on one while bushwhacking. There is nothing like that sound!! The perfect warning signal!

We were ecstatic to see the top of the canyon and flat ground. :) A few more steps and we met up with the ridgeline trail (yay! a trail!). I was amazed at the sheer number of cairns on the ridgeline trail. Not that I am complaining, but wowzers! In no time, we were at the West Boulder Saddle. We enjoyed the silly sign there. But hey, it's descriptive! It needs a refresh, though, because the letters are fading out. Then, DOWN DOWN DOWN. That is some steep down. I guess it's no less steep than the wave cave trail, and I have to say I'll take the rock of west boulder saddle trail over the slippery dirt of wave cave on the steep parts, any day. It was pretty anticlimactic, just the usual downward momentum. We enjoyed the views and the plethora of wild flowers!! :) We saw a million people on wave cave trail, but past that, we saw no one from when we left the wave cave until we were almost back to the car. And wouldn't you know it, they were coming down from wave cave.

Before we knew it, we were back at the car, ready to get back to life's commitments!!!! :O ;)

Wildflowers were everywhere!!! So beautiful! The rainy spring bounty!
Superstition Ridgeline
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3rd trip, 1st from Lost Dutchman, always a joy!

My latest hiking adventure with Kevin from NE. We started just after 6am and finished at 3:30, right when I scheduled our shuttle (thank you Rhonda). We took our time, skipped the peaks (both of which we had done in prior hikes) and enjoyed a fantastic day. Awesome views start as soon as you reach the ridgeline trail and they never quit. The weather was just about perfect from start to finish. A nice breeze made it all the better.

We hiked up Siphon Draw with a lady named Julie, who was celebrating her birthday with a Flatiron/5024 hike. A jogger passed us on his way to 5057 and again on his return. We passed a group of four coming up the hill from the saddle at Hieroglyphics Canyon. We met a solo hiker as we enjoyed lunch below 5057 then another a half mile later. We chatted with a group of backpackers filtering water at the creek just east of the Sisters while we took a short break. From the OWB saddle we passed two hikers on their way down and four more on the way up. The wave cave train was full; we may have seen as many people headed to the wave cave as we had seen in the previous 10+ miles.

Wild flowers are looking good between the false saddle and the wave cave junction. The last stretch between the fence and the Carney Spring lot (now called the "Wave Cave Parking Area" on Google) looks like a golf course it's so green. There was a helicopter rescue in progress near Peralta TH as we neared the end of the hike. I don't know the outcome but I gave some applause to the EMT's as they drove past the Carney Spring parking lot on their way out.

This is my favorite hike in the Supes, probably Kevin's too based on the grin he had on his face all day, and we got to enjoy it on a gorgeous day. Thanks for a great hike, Kevin!

Mostly below the false saddle on the descent from OWB Saddle.
Superstition Ridgeline
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Ridgeline - 5057 - 5024
Back for some more Ridgeline therapy, but this time with plenty of sunshine and a couple of peaks!

We started off at a fairly brisk pace heading up Siphon Draw, but we bonked pretty quickly. :lol:

This hike is much better with the views! But plenty of fun either way. :D

It was a little warmer today than we are used to this time of year, but overall still really nice. Last time I brought over a gallon of water and used less than a liter, today I used all 3 liters that I brought. When that sun is beating down on you up on that ridge, you feel it.

Water is still available at 2 points along the Ridgeline trail, a drainage shortly after 5024, and the drainage you cross after dropping down from the ridge after 5057. Water also available off-trail below West Boulder Saddle.

Permit $$
Information is listed below

Map Drive
Info is below 'Directions to trail'

To Siphon Draw Trailhead
From Mesa follow Highway 60 East to Idaho Road. Turn North onto Idaho Road which is SR88 and follow North 2.2 miles. SR88 bends right just past Scenic St. and Idaho continues North. Be sure to go right and stay on SR88. Follow SR88 4.9 miles to the Lost Dutchman State Park. Turn right into the park. Pay the fee then follow the signs to the trailhead.

Free Alternative:
Utilize the Crosscut Trailhead 0.7 mi in on FR78. It is 2 miles on Jacobs Trail #58 to the junction with Siphon Draw #53. Which is 0.85 mi into #53.
2.00 - 0.85 = 1.15 mi extra each way

Mining Camp
This former free access point is now private as of Dec 2016.
2017 - cancel christmas, closed

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 41.3 mi - about 52 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 134 mi - about 2 hours 9 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 186 mi - about 2 hours 56 mins
3 pack - loud whistle
safety first
help comment issue

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