LOST DUTCHMAN STATE PARK
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman State Park is located in the Sonoran Desert, 40 miles east of Phoenix. Several trails lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. Take a stroll along the Native Plant Trail or hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the Flatiron. Depending on the year?s rainfall, you might be treated to a carpet of desert wildflowers in the spring. Enjoy a weekend of camping and experience native wildlife including coyote, javelina and jackrabbit.
The park offers a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, picnic facilities, 70 campsites, a dump station, restrooms, showers, and group use areas. The visitor center sells maps and other publications.
Ranger CamBefore you hike, be prepared with enough water and proper footwear as the trails are steep and challenging.
A variety of desert wildlife inhabit the park. Mammals of interest include deer, coyote, javelina, bobcat, and jackrabbit. Most desert animals are nocturnal, so early morning and late evening viewing are best. Any of the park trails offer good opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
The Superstition Mountains have been a source of mystery and legend since early times. The area is dotted with ancient cliff dwellings and caves, many showing signs of former habitation by a number of different Native American groups, up until the 1800's. Even the name is inspired by Pima Indian legends.
During the 1840's, the Peralta family of northern Mexico supposedly developed a rich gold mine in the Superstitions. According to legend, an Apache ambush ended the family's last expedition, and the gold remained in the area. In the 1870's, Jacob Waltz ("the Dutchman") was said to have located the mine through the aid of the Peralta descendant. Waltz and his partner, Jacob Weiser, worked in the mine and allegedly hid one or more caches of gold in the Superstitions. Most stories place the gold in the vicinity of Weaver's Needle.
After Waltz's death in 1891, several people attempted to seek out the Lost Dutchman's Mine, all without luck. Later searchers have sometimes met with foul play or even death, contributing to the superstition and legend of these mountains.
The legend of the "lost mine" has been fueled by a number of people who were supposed to have known the mine's location or even worked it. Maps have surfaced over the years, only to become lost or misplaced.
The Lost Dutchman Visitor Center includes a gift shop and is open daily 8 am ? 4 pm. Summer hours vary. Restrooms are located inside. The park is open 365 days a year.
The campground currently has 70 non-hookup campsites on paved roads for tents or RVs. Each site has a picnic table and barbeque grill, but no fire pits. Sites are selected on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no size restrictions on RVs. Pets on leashes are welcome. Cigarette butts and animals waste must be picked up; no animals left unattended.Group: Camping Sites
A group camping area is available by reservation for RV or tent groups. A non-refundable fee is required to serve this area. Groups are encouraged to look area over for suitability prior to making a reservation.