Lost Dutchman State Park
Lost Dutchman Now Offers 24/7 Online Campground Reservations or Call Reservation Center!
Reserve your spot (campground RV or tent site) from the comfort of your home, anytime of day. Make online reservations Site reservations for this park are also available by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 non-refundable reservation fee per site.
Get the November 2014 calendar here. ( 1.2 MB PDF)
7 - 9 pm. see planets, stars, comets, galaxies, and more through Astronomers telescopes! Bring a folding chair, red light, sweater or jacket, enthusiasm to enjoy and conserve our beautiful night skies! Event supported by the Superstition Mountain Astronomical League! Camping is available at the park (additional fee). Reserve campsites online. Or Learn about Star Parties, watch video, and see other park event dates.
October 25: Beginners Mountain Bike Clinic
9 am - Noon. The park recently completed 4 miles of a singletrack Mountain Bike Trail ( 1.2 MB PDF). To kick off the Fall riding season Amy Regan from Arizona Mountain Biking (AzMB) will be hosting a Beginners Mountain Bike Clinic. Bring your bike, riding gear: helmet, snacks, and at least 70 oz of water. Cost for the program is $85. Register for the event on Amy’s Meetup page: http://www.meetup.com/mountainbikeskillsclinics/events/200857342/
AZ Mountain Biking was founded in December 2009 by former pro rider and endurance world record holder Amy Regan. Amy has been organizing rides and teaching skills clinics since 1996, and holds certifications in training, teaching and emergency care. In her mountain biking Meetup group, Amy has lead over 700 guided rides in a little over three years. She is a member of the Mountain Bike Patrol for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and this year, Amy was elected to the Board of Directors for the MBAA (Mountain Bike Association of Arizona), as Recreational Director.
Optional Group Camp: Expand your fun arrive on Friday at the park and camp in the Parks’ Group Camping Area for the weekend. Camping Fee of $15.00 per night can be paid upon entering the Park and is not included in the Mountain Bike Clinic fee. You can ride the trails on Sunday or really challenge yourself with a hike to the top of the Flat Iron. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to sharpen your cycling skills and renew your Spirit in the shadow of Superstition Mountain.
November 5: Medicinal Plants of the Sonoran Desert
9 am This approximate 2.5 mile, 2 hour round trip hike with volunteer hiker Erica will introduce medicinal plants of the Sonoran Desert. Tea made from creosote bush to ease arthritis, nuts from the Jojoba bush to nourish the skin, gum from Brittle bush to combat bronchitis, just a few of the healing plants found in our desert. This is a moderately easy hike with elevation change of 500 feet. Bring water, snack, sunscreen, hat, and proper hiking shoes. We will forage along Treasure Loop, east on Jacobs Crosscut and return. Meet at Cholla Day Use area.
November 5: Full Moon Hike
7pm-9pm - There is a limit of 100 hikers, so please call in advance to reserve your space: 480 982-4485. Join us for a guided 2.5 mile hike on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail at the base of the mysterious Superstition Mountains. Hikers should dress appropriately and wear trail shoes or boots. Please bring a flashlight in case of cloudy conditions (no headlamps, please). Some parts of the trail are rocky and uneven with occasional steep grades (elevation gain: 120’). Participants should be in good health with no walking or night vision difficulties. Trail is NOT suitable for strollers or walkers. After the hike gather round the campfire for a marshmallow roast (marshmallows and sticks provided). All ages welcome. No pets, please. Parking in Cholla Day Use area.
November 7: Date Night - EVENT CANCELLED
"Date Night" at Lost Dutchman SP. Please contact the park for more information at 480-982-4485
November 8: Conrad Storad
1:30 pm Conrad J. Storad, the award-winning author of more than 40 science and nature books for children and young adults will be at the Cholla Ramada to share his newest titles including the picture book Fang and Stinger (An Arachnid Story), Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, and Arizona Way Out West & Witty, fun history and activity books for young readers co-authored with Linda Exley, and Arizona Color Me Wacky, a fun coloring/learning book for beginning readers. AZ Witty was named One Book Arizona for Kids in 2012 by the Arizona State Library. We welcome young children and their parents while Conrad introduces some of his books and stories. Come and spend a special time together!
November 12: Getting to Know the Birds Around You
8 am Meeting in the Saguaro Day Use area, there will be a brief discussion about how to tell one bird from another; then we’ll be looking for resident birds (from hawks to hummingbirds) and for any late migrants stopping by on their way south. After birding the Saguaro Day use area, we’ll look for birds as we walk up toward Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. We’ll make the short loop around and back to Saguaro Day Use lot, birding as we go. This is more of an “amble” than a hike as we let the birds come to us. Bring binoculars, water and wear sturdy trail shoes. No dogs, please. Led by volunteer Birder Babs.
November 14: Star Talk
7:30 pm Learn about the night sky, constellations and planets with local astronomer Bill Dellinges. Parking and seating at campground amphitheater.
November 15: Mark Fogelson
6pm Mark Fogelson, a song writer of Folk Music: music of the people and musical stories focusing on human stories, emotions and triumphs, will sing songs harkening back to an era when storytellers handed tales down through generations. These songs remain a powerful commentary about the rapidly changing world in which we live. Listeners find his music approachable, heartwarming, humorous, and thought provoking. Sit back, listen and enjoy under the Hunter Moon at the Palo Verde Ramada.
November 19: Sunset Hike
4pm Following the Treasure Loop trail to Jacobs Cross Cut and intersecting with Siphon Draw Trail will find hikers marveling at the mountain and the sky full of color, especially when there a few clouds. Elevation change is 102 ft. on very well maintained trails. Easy, 2 hour hike. Bring a flashlight for return to parking lot. Meet at Saguaro Day Use area. Led by volunteer hiking leader Nancy.
November 22: Star Party
7pm Members of the Superstition Astronomical League will provide telescopic views of the night sky and will answer questions about astronomy and astronomical equipment. In short, this is an opportunity to see the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena using a sophisticated telescope and also talk with very knowledgeable and experienced local astronomers! What will be in the sky tonight? Saguaro Day Use area.
November 26: Exploring Siphon Draw Trail
9am Join us at Siphon Draw Trailhead for a 4.2 mile round trip hike to the basin (slick rock waterfall area). Along the way we will pass some remnants of an unsuccessful mining attempt, identify strangely named rock formations, and look at layers of rock from the volcanic explosion that make up this portion of the Superstition Mountain. All of this while hiking the steady uphill grade on a less than smooth trail. Elevation change: 1030 ft. Wear sturdy trail or hiking shoes, carry at least 2 bottles of water and bring a snack for a 3 hour moderately strenuous hike. Led by volunteer hiker Barb.
November 29: Amazing Night Under the Skies
7-9pm Join Dr. Sky, a radio/TV journalist based in Phoenix, for An Amazing Night Under the Skies. What planets will we see in the dark desert sky? Dress warmly and be prepared to be amazed at the sightings. Palo Verde Day Use area (weather permitting).
Introductory Park Video
About the Park
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman is located in the Sonoran Desert at an elevation of 2000 feet. The park is a short drive east of Phoenix. Photo taken March 3, 2010.
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 mule deer, coyote, javelina and jackrabbit. New for 2014! A four mile Mountain Bike Loop Trail has opened at the park -- this is a great way to enjoy the park's beauty!
The park offers a variety of hiking trails, nature trails, picnic facilities, 72 campsites, a dump station, restrooms, showers, and group use areas. The visitor center sells maps and other publications.
Before you hike, be prepared with enough water and proper footwear as the trails are steep and challenging.
Please join us for exciting interpretive ranger and volunteer naturalist guided hikes and family-oriented programs, weather permitting, at Lost Dutchman State Park. Fees for guided hikes and programs are included in the park entry fee of $7 per vehicle or with your annual pass. Reservations are not required unless specified in the program description. 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ. Park Phone 480-982-4485.
Saturday, October 11: Amazing Night Under the Skies, 7-9 pmJoin Dr. Sky, a radio/TV journalist based in Phoenix, for An Amazing Night Under the Skies. What planets will we see in the dark desert sky? Dress warmly and be prepared to be amazed at the sightings. Palo Verde Day Use area (weather permitting).
Wednesday, October 15: Getting to Know the Birds Around You, 8 amMeet at the Saguaro Day Use area. There will be a brief discussion about how to tell one bird from another. Then we’ll be looking for resident birds (from hawks to hummingbirds) and for any late migrants stopping by on their way south. After birding the Saguaro Day use area, we’ll look for birds as we walk up toward Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. We’ll make the short loop around and back to Saguaro Day Use lot, birding as we go. This is more of an “amble” than a hike as we let the birds come to us. Bring binoculars, water and wear sturdy trail shoes. No dogs, please. Led by volunteer Birder Babs.
Wednesday, October 22: Sunset Hike, 4:15 pmFollowing the Treasure Loop trail to Jacobs Cross Cut and intersecting with Siphon Draw Trail will find hikers marveling at the mountain and the sky full of color, especially when there a few clouds. Elevation change is 102 ft. on very well maintained trails. Easy, 2 hour hike. Bring a flashlight for return to parking lot. Meet at Saguaro Day Use area. Led by volunteer hiking leader Nancy.
Friday, October 24: Star Talk, 7:30 pmLearn about the night sky, constellations and planets with local astronomer Bill Dellinges. Parking and seating at campground amphitheater.
Saturday, October 25: Star Party, 7 pmMembers of the Superstition Astronomical League will provide telescopic views of the night sky and will answer questions about astronomy and astronomical equipment. In short, this is an opportunity to see the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena using a sophisticated telescope and also talk with very knowledgeable and experienced local astronomers! What will be in the sky tonight? Saguaro Day Use area.
Wednesday, October 30: Treasure the Hike! 9 amThis hike along the Treasure Loop Trail offers the hiker opportunities to stretch the legs as the elevation changes approximately 500’ within the first mile, with views of the Four Peaks and downtown Phoenix (on a clear day), rock formations, and a gentle decline on the return of the loop trail. Considered a moderate hike due to elevation change and length of hike (2.5 mi.), the average hiker will find it a most enjoyable hike. Meet at Cholla Day Use area. Led by volunteer hiking leader Barb.
Friends of Lost Dutchman SP Volunteer Patricia Carter shares her story and explains about the New Adopt a Cactus program, which allows individuals and groups to adopt a Saguaro cactus to help to raise funds for the Friends Group's continuing efforts. Learn More.
Learn More About Apache Junction
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Lost Dutchman Legend
The Superstition Mountains (their name inspired by Pima Indian legends) 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. It is not certain who these people were; some believe they were Salado or Hohokam Indians who populated this part of Arizona several centuries ago. Later, Pimas and "Apaches" (some of whom may have been Yavapais) occupied parts of the region. However, the name "Apache" came to be closely associated with the Superstitions, and the mountains became an Apache stronghold in the 1800s.
During the 1840s the Peralta family of northern Mexico supposedly developed rich gold mine(s) in the Superstitions. Their last expedition to carry gold back to Mexico occured in 1848. According to legend, the large party was ambushed by Apaches, and all were killed except for one or two Peralta family members who escaped into Mexico. This area is known today as the Massacre Grounds.
A number of other people were supposed to have known the mine's location or even to have worked it. Numerous maps have surfaced over the years, only to become lost or misplaced when interested parties pressed for facts. Men who claimed to have found the Peralta mine were unable to return to it or some disaster occured before they could file a claim, all adding to the lore of a "lost mine."
In the 1870s Jacob Waltz, "the Dutchman" (actually a native of Germany) was said to have located the mine through the aid of a Peralta descendant. Waltz and his partner, Jacob Weiser worked 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, a well known landmark. Weiser was killed by Apaches, or according to some, by Waltz himself.
In failing health, Jacob Waltz moved to Phoenix and died some twenty years later in 1891. He supposedly described the mine's location to Julia Thomas, a neighbor who took care of him prior to his death. Neither she nor dozens of other seekers in the years that followed were able to find the "Lost Dutchman's Mine." Subsequent searchers have sometimes met with foul play or even death, contributing to the superstition and legend that surround these mountains.
Many versions of the "Lost Dutchman Mine" story exist, and several books and films have been done on the subject.
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge