Our Spring Break didn’t exactly go as planned. While driving in the desert, something on our car broke, something expensive and time consuming and on the second to last day of our trip. Unfortunately, with it being Spring Break, we couldn’t find a rent car anywhere, and our car was loaded down with all our luggage, camping gear and such. Our hotel happened to be very close to a car dealership, so we just ended up buying a new car, but we had to wait a day to take possession. Our hotel in Tempe couldn’t help us extend our stay there. In fact, almost no one could. But we lucked out when my daughter called Lost Dutchman State Park and they had just had a cancellation on one of their cabins. We knew nothing about Lost Dutchman or the Superstition Mountains, and we were so impressed when we arrived! Set in the desert, surrounded by saguaro cactus, with the mountains above us, it was amazing!
Unfortunately, we only had one day so we had to cram as much as possible in that one day. The park staff was the best at helping us out, guiding us to the best hikes and things to see in the park! I wanted to hunt for the rumored “buried gold” from a lost gold mine, but stories of lost treasure hunters searching off trails was enough to convince me to just enjoy the real reward of being in such a beautiful place! No, really I kept my eyes open for gold! Click HERE to visit the state park website and learn more about the history of the Superstition Mountains.
We took a nice little hike on a shared hike and bike trail. The park offers several hikes, from easy beginner hikes to more challenging ones up in the mountains and the Tonto National Forest. We took an easy one, enjoyed seeing several birds and kept an eye out for gila monsters, the only venomous lizard found in the United States, which are very rare, considered threatened as a conservation status and high on my wildlife bucket list! Unfortunately, they weren’t rushing out to say hello while we were there.
Home Sweet Home for a night. The cabin had 2 sets of bunk beds inside the main room, no kitchen or bathroom, and a back bedroom with a queen-sized bed. Before we arrived, the park advised us to pick up food as it’s a long way to the closest restaurants, and sheets and pillows for the beds. We had cabin #5, which while it was the furthest from the restrooms, it definitely had the best view and the most privacy!
We used the grill in the back to cook hot dogs for dinner, and sat out under an incredible blanket of stars and played Uno until bedtime. Being able to walk around and sit outside without any mosquito repellent was really nice, I do have to admit! We left the back door open for some reason, however when a very friendly little mouse appeared, searching under our table for something to eat, we quickly shut that door and kept it closed. Just another reason not to feed wildlife.
Lost Dutchman State Park is located about 40 miles east of Phoenix, and although it was completely unplanned on our Spring Break trip, it was one of my favorite things we did! I only wished we had more time to explore. The Goldfield Ghost Town is located nearby, and I’d have loved to have visited it as well. The Superstition Mountains Museum was once Apacheland Movie Ranch, and B Westerns were made there.
These cute Gambel’s Quail were located all over the park, and I really enjoyed watching them.
We woke up early this morning and decided to take another quick hike before we left to pick up our new car and head home. We told my son, 13, that we wanted to look for gila monsters, but when we didn’t find any, we decided to test the stories about the cholla cactus stories that it would jump on you if you walked by too closely! I offered him $20 if he would stand close enough for one to jump on him! To his credit, he stood very close, but never did get one to jump!
Lost Dutchman State Park
6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ
Click HERE to visit their website.
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