I am a southern Texas girl living in the beautiful mountains here in Arizona. Truth is, it took me a while to appreciate the dirt and cactus that surrounds us. That was until I moved back to Texas and came back to Arizona. I missed hiking, the mountains and the sunshine!
I have been on so many hikes over the 12 years I have lived in Arizona. Here is a list of my favorite hikes in the East Valley.
Massacre Falls Trail
So this one had me so confused because if you look up Massacre Trail it says it is a 0.9 mile trail and if you look up Massacre Falls it’s 5.8 miles out and back. Don’t think you are just going for a quick stroll. This is a pretty good climb and gets the heart rate up the whole way up. I highly recommend going in the spring when it’s green and possibly after a rain or snow. The waterfall it creates is all worth it when you reach the end.
This trail is located off the First Water Trail dirt road off the 88. It will be your second parking area. This hike is a part of the Superstition Mountains. There is no fee for parking but that dirt road can get pretty rough after a good rain.
This trail is also a great spring hike after rain or snow. It’s located off Peralta Rd. down at the Peralta Trail Head in Gold Canyon off hwy 60. This trail starts off with stairs and an incline to get your heart rate going. The trail will go and become parallel with a stream running through a canyon. It’s beautiful when there is running water. It’s not shaded at any point so this would not be a great hike in the summer.
Watch out for wildlife. We seen a rattle snake on this trail in January. The Superstition Mountains are the only trails I have seen a rattle snake, a Gila monster and tarantula. Always be aware of where you step because they can blend in pretty well.
The Superstition Mountains are a great place to explore. Siphons draw is a great hike overall. If you are wanting something a little more challenging keep climbing to the top (Flat Iron). This hike is located in the front and center of the Superstitions. You can cut a little time off your hike if you enter through Lost Dutchman State Park and pay the fee. You can also reach this trail by parking off First Water Trail Rd. and adding a little more to your hike.
This hike is the most amazing right after a good rain fall. It’s the perfect spring hike if done in cooler temps on a cloudy day. You can look up this hike on All Trails as Peralta Trail to Freemont Saddle. It is a 5.8 mile hike out and back and moderate level. This hike would be really hard on a warm day. The first half of the hike is steady up hill and scrambling over rocks. When we went after a good rain we had many creek crossings and hiked up waterfalls the entire hike. It was beautiful and challenging. The road up to the trail head had river crossings that our Jeep got over just fine. The views at the top are worth the hike!
San Tan Mountains
This is my favorite hike I do a few times a week. The BEST way to get the most out of this hike is start off the North side off Wagon Wheel Rd. Take Gold Mine Trail Head and stay to your left, climb up the side of the mountain and swing back around to San Tan, looping around back to Gold Mine until you reach the parking area.
This trail takes about 1 1/2 hours and 4.5 miles. The climb up the side of the mountain can be pretty intense, but once you are at the top, it’s smooth sailing from there. You do need to pay to park at this trail head. I have the annual pass that can be obtained at the station off Thompson Rd. at the front of the park. There is a self pay station as well, they do check to make sure everyone pays!
- Make sure to always let someone know where you will be hiking
- Make sure to bring enough water
- Apply sunblock, bring hat, wear comfortable clothing
- Bring snacks such as protein bars, nuts, fruit, etc.