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Superstition Wilderness, AZ


Just an hour East of Phoenix, in the Tonto National Forest, lies a magical desert called The Superstition Wilderness, which is known for many beautiful trails and iconic features such as the Weaver's Needle, LaBarge Box, Miner's Needle, Angel Basin and Supstition Mountain itself. We will hike through the seldom visited Eastern portion of this 160,000 acre wilderness to visit amazing places like Reavis Ranch, Angel Basin, Plow Saddle, the mystical Circlestone Ruin and the highest point in the entire wilderness, Mound Mountain. Here is a video of Circlestone. Why not escape your frigid climate and hike a warm, wild and largely unseen section of the country to places that cars cannot reach?

Our journey will begin at the seldom used Tule Trailhead at the lightly traveled East end of the wilderness. After a long uphill climb, we'll join Two Bar Ridge to Walnut Spring. We'll then hike the solitary Reavis Gap Trail, Campaign Trail and Fireline Trail (where we'll summit Mound Mountain which at 6266' is the highest point in the Superstitions) to get to the magically lush Reavis Ranch, where water is plentiful and an orchard of apple trees still exists (it's March, so don't expect any apples, unfortunately). Eventually we'll head past ancient cliff dwellings to the scenic and wild Angel Basin. We'll head up the Frog Tanks trail to Plow Saddle before ending our trip at the Reavis Trailhead along the famous Apache Trail. Note: These places aren't actually very famous, so chances are you don't know where any of them are.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Historical March weather averages in the mid-70s during the day and 30s-40s at night. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 90s and freezing temperatures at night. We even experienced freak snowstorms in 2006 & 2011 and 100 degrees in 2015 & 2017 so anything can happen. But overall, expect a warm respite from your end-of-winter blues.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Chris Frey


$1300 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Phoenix, AZ (PHX) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.


The Superstition Wilderness is the site of the very first Fitpacking trip back in 2005. It is also a favorite destination even if it doesn't have the same name cachet as say, the Grand Canyon.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)

Take free airport shuttle to Comfort Suites Phoenix Airport, 1625 S 52nd St, Tempe, AZ, 85281, 480-446-9500

Equipment shakedown

Trip to REI Tempe, 1405 W Southern Ave, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Distribution of trail mix

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out to dinner (Dinner not included in trip cost)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Second set of before body composition measurements taken

Free Hotel Breakfast

Check out of Hotel

Your spare bag(s) for safekeeping at the home of Fitpacking guide, Deb.

Drive 2 hours to the Tule Trailhead at the East end of the Superstition Wilderness

Begin Hiking on the Tule Trail #122, elevation 2800'

We must carry 2 gallons (8 lbs) of water since there is no reliable water on this part of the trail and tonight will be a "dry camp"

Hike about 3.7 uphill miles on the Tule Trail #112 to a relatively flat area, elevation 4500', a reasonably difficult start to this trip.

Dispersed camp just off the Tule Trail practicing Leave No Trace principles, elevation 4500'

Miles today: 3.7 miles. Total to date: 3.7 miles

Possible Bailout: Tule Trailhead

Monday, March 12, 2018

Hike about 1.0 miles on the Tule Trail #112 to the Two Bar Ridge Trail #119, elevation 4800'.

Hike about 4.0 miles on the Two Bar Ridge Trail #119 to to Walnut Spring, elevation 4600'.

Water at Walnut Spring is reliable, but it's in a square cement cistern that might have plants growing in it.

Dispersed camp just before Walnut Spring on the West side of the trail practicing Leave No Trace principles, elevation 4600'

Miles today: 5.0 miles. Total to date: 8.7 miles

Possible Bailout: Two Bar Ridge Trailhead (not a great option). Tule Trailhead is farther but a much better road

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hike about 0.3 miles on the Two Bar Ridge Trail #119 to Reavis Gap, elevation 4750'

Turn left and hike 2.2 miles Reavis Gap Trail #117 to the Campaign Trail #256, elevation 3500'

Turn right and hike 4.3 lonely uphill miles on the Campaign Trail #256 to the Fireline Trail #118 intersection, elevation 4500'

Reliable water can be found in Campaign Creek on the way to camp or possibly at Black Jack Spring about 0.1 beyond camp.

Dispersed camp near Black Jack Spring practicing Leave No Trace principles, elevation 4500'

Miles Today: 6.8. Total to Date: 15.5

Possible Bailout: Campaign Trailhead (not a great option because it's a 4x4 road with little traffic).

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hike about 1.8 uphill miles on the Fireline Trail #118 to a spur trail, elevation 5450'

Drop packs and day-hike / scramble 2.6 round trip miles to the summit of Mound Mountain, elevation 6266' the highest elevation in the Superstition Wilderness for a (hopefully) commanding view of the entire range.

Along the way to Mound Mountain, visit Circlestone Ruins. Here is some information about the Spur Trail Hike.

Hike about 1.6 downhill miles on the Fireline Trail #118 to the Reavis Ranch Trail #109, elevation 4850'. This is also part of the 800 mile long Arizona Trail.

Water is reliable here.

Miles Today: 4.3. Total to Date: 20.7

Possible Bailout: Reavis Trailhead 1 day away

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hike 4.6 miles on the Reavis Ranch Trail #109 to the Rogers Canyon Trail #110, elevation 4350'

Along the way, go past Reavis Saddle and stop at Elisha Reavis' grave

Hike 2.7 downhill miles on the Rogers Canyon Trail #110 to to Angel Basin, elevation 3650'

On the way to camp, explore the nearby Rogers Canyon Cliff Dwellings.

Camp in Angel Basin, elevation 3650'. Water is reliable here.

Miles today: 7.3 miles. Total to date: 28.0 miles

Bailout: Rogers Trough Trailhead, (not a great option because it's a 4x4 road with little traffic).

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hike 5.5 miles on the Frog Tanks Trail #112 to Plow Saddle Springs, elevation 4400'

Expect several water crossings all along Rogers Canyon

Plow Saddle Springs is seasonal but generally reliable this time of year

Fill all vessels with water. There is no more water the rest of the trip.

Hike 0.4 uphill miles on FST Trail #287 to Plow Saddle, elevation 4800'

Dispersed camp on Plow Saddle practicing Leave No Trace principles, elevation 4800'

Miles today: 5.9 miles. Total to date: 33.9 miles

Bailout: Reavis Trailhead

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Hike 6.4 miles on the Reavis Ranch Trail #109 to Reavis Trailhead, elevation 3600'

End of Hike

Miles Today: 6.4. Total to Date: 40.3

Shuttle back to Comfort Suites Phoenix Airport, 1625 S 52nd St, Tempe, AZ, 85281, 480-446-9500

"After" body composition measurements taken

Dinner and Awards Ceremony (cost of dinner not included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Free breakfast in Hotel

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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