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Superstition Wilderness/Tonto National Forest, AZ

Mar 9 - Mar 16, 2019 -- $1300 ★★★★★

Just an hour East of Phoenix, in the Tonto National Forest, lies a magical desert called The Superstition Wilderness. The Supes 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 iconic Western portion of this 160,000 acre wilderness to visit amazing places including the Weaver's Needle and the summit of Superstition Mountain.

Our journey will begin at the Peralta Trailhead, elevation 2395'. After a long uphill climb, we'll spend our first night near the base of the Weaver's Needle. We'll then hike Northwest to an old abandoned Miner's Camp and eventually on to Lost Dutchman's State Park. Then comes the most rewarding part, the climb up to the Flatiron with 270 degree unimpeded views throughout the wilderness as well as Phoenix. And finally, we'll hike to the summit of Superstition Mountain enjoying all-day views atop the ridge.

Why not escape your frigid climate and hike a warm and wild section of the country to amazing places that cars cannot reach?


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
Dan Shafto


$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, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, campground fees, permits, and awesome guides.


This is billed as a 5-star trip. The reason for this is because of the final 3 days and 2 nights. We will be ascending a very difficult section of trail to the Flatiron. We gain 2600’ of elevation in only 3.2 miles. It requires climbing on slickrock and using your hands to scramble up steep rocky sections. Please note: In steep sections, we will ferry backpacks up using a rope so you won't have to scramble up steep rocky trail carrying your pack There may be drop-offs and precipices, so if you are afraid of heights, this may not be for you.

The next day is a rocky, 8-mile, ridge of rocks that goes to the summit of Superstition Mountain. The ridge is completely exposed so there is no escape from the shining sun (or rain or hail for that matter). This is not to scare you away, but to set your expectations properly.

Many Phoenicians use this hike to train for the Grand Canyon. Furthermore, we’ll be carrying a full pack with a minimum of 8 liters (16 pounds) of water at the outset.

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. This is a signature hike through the Superstition Wilderness with incredible sweeping views of Phoenix and the surrounding wilderness and hopefully one you will treasure for a lifetime.

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Guides for this trip
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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)

Take free airport shuttle to Hotel Tempe/Phoenix Airport InnSuites at the Mall, 1651 W Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283, 480-897-7900

Equipment shakedown

Trip to REI Tempe, 870 N 54th Street, Chandler, AZ, 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 10, 2019

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 1.5 hours to the Peralta Trailhead, elevation 2395'

There is no reliable water tonight. Begin carrying 8 or more liters.

Start hiking the Peralta Trail (#102)

Hike 2.5 switch-backed uphill miles on the Peralta Trail (#102) to Fremont Saddle, elevation 3754'

Hike about 1.0 downhill miles on the Peralta Trail (#102) to the Weaver's Needle, elevation 3250'

Camp just south of the Weaver's Needle, about as close to it as you can find a flat spot

Miles today: 3.5 miles. Total to date: 3.5 miles

Possible Bailout: Peralta Trailhead

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hike about 2.9 downhill miles on the Peralta Trail (#102) to Upper Black Top Mesa Trail intersection, elevation 2500’.

Hike 0.8 miles on the Peralta trail (#102) to the Lost Dutchman’s Trail (LDM-65 & LDM-67) elevation 2250’.

Hike 0.2 miles on the Lost Dutchman’s Trail (LDM-65 & LDM-67) to the Boulder Canyon Trail (#103), elevation 2100’.

Hike 1.8 miles on the Boulder Canyon Trail (#103) to the Cavalry Trail (#239) elevation 2100’.

Hike 1.4 miles on the Boulder Canyon Trail (#103) to the Second Water Trail (#236), elevation 2100’.

Hike about 0.3 miles on the Second Water Trail (#236) to Second Water Canyon, elevation 1900’.

Turn left and hike 0.2 off-trail miles to an old miner’s campsite near Second Water Spring, with hopefully reliable water, elevation 2050’.

Note: There may be some bushwacking involved in finding the spring / miner’s camp.

Camp at the old miner’s camp, elevation 2050’.

If there is no water at the spring, continue on a few miles to the reliable Hackberry Spring a few miles away.

Miles today: 7.6. Total Mileage: 11.1.

Possible bailouts: Canyon Lake or Peralta Trailhead.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hike about 3.5 miles on the Second Water Trail (#236) to the trailhead, elevation 2250’

Hike 2.5 road miles on a dirt road to Lost Dutchman State Park.

Faucet water available here.

Camp at Lost Dutchman State Park frontcountry campground, site TBD, elevation 2080’

Miles today: 6.0. Total Mileage: 17.1

Possible Bailout: Lost Dutchman State Park

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Fill up all your water vessels with 8+ liters of water.

Drink a FULL LITER (or 2) of water just before we leave camp.

Hike 3.2 grueling uphill miles from the Siphon Draw Trailhead to Flatiron, elevation 4648’.

The first 1.5 miles will be reasonably flat and easy. After that, the terrain may be near vertical, requiring scrambling and pulling yourself (and you pack full of water) up by your hands. There will be slickrock, obstacles and steep climbing.

Camp at Flatiron (no water here) with flat spots to camp and incredible sweeping views of Phoenix, elevation 4648’

Miles today: 3.2. Total Mileage: 20.3

Possible Bailout: Lost Dutchman State Park

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hike 5.2 miles along Superstition Ridge. The trail is a series of ups and downs with periodic peaks at 4562’, 4613’, 4642’, 4869’ and 4790’ before topping out at 5057’, Superstition Mountain Peak.

Hike 2.8 downhill miles to West Boulder Saddle, elevation 3860’

Camp at West Boulder Saddle (no water here), elevation 3860’

Miles today: 8.0. Total Mileage: 28.3

Possible Bailout: Hieroglyphics Trail

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hike 1.8 steep downhill miles to Carney Spring Trailhead, elevation 2702’

Hike 1.9 road miles to the Peralta Trailhead, elevation 2395’

End of hiking

Miles today: 3.7. Total Mileage: 32.0

Possible Bailout: Carney Spring Road

Shuttle back to Hotel Tempe/Phoenix Airport InnSuites at the Mall, 1651 W Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283, 480-897-7900

"After" body composition measurements taken

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

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Free breakfast in Hotel

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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.

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