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Superstition Wilderness, Tonto National Forest, AZ (Mar 26th - Apr 1st 2017)

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"The wildflowers, the birds and the warm spring sunshine draw me back to the Superstition Wilderness each spring. I've been going there for about 19 years." -- Bill Sheppard, WV leader

Lush canyons with sycamore and cottonwood trees, rugged mountains with pinyon pines and alligator juniper trees, hidden canyons, creeks and waterfalls, majestic deserts and wildflowers, prehistoric ruins, abandoned mines, prospector camps and ranches – all these are found in a wilderness close to Phoenix. The Superstition Wilderness is unlike the image most people have of a desert. It's very mountainous with elevations ranging from about 2,000 ft to 6,250 ft. The famous Weaver’s Needle, a weathered volcanic spire, rises to 4,553 ft. We'll have some minor elevation changes on our hike to camp, both up and down, but nothing too challenging. The trails are generally in good condition, but we'll do some touch-up work to keep them that way. If this winter's storms bring a good rainy season in the southwest, we'll witness a colorful blooming desert with many species of flowers. It's a natural garden!

The history of the Superstitions is fascinating - from the early Spanish explorers and the Apaches to the crusty old gold prospectors. The legend of the "Lost Dutchman Mine" still inspires gold bugs to scratch around in the desert in search of the mysterious mine. Some experts think the Dutchman pulled off a successful hoax, so don't be fooled by any old timers who offer to sell you a "recently discovered" treasure map.

Our service project is maintaining wilderness trails in the Superstition Mountains, specifically the Campaign Trail. The backpack from the Miles Ranch Trailhead to our base camp at Oak Flat will be a moderate 2.2 miles with a net elevation gain of 230'. The project consists mostly of cutting back overgrown vegetation, and possibly some tread work. The local Backcountry Horsemen's group will provide pack support for tools, food and commissary equipment.

Trail maintenance in wilderness areas like this is a tool of both conservation and preservation. Involvement in this work allows one to connect to a wild place while simultaneously facilitating access for others to do the same.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

This will be a non-smoking project, and features a vegetarian menu with optional meat ingredients on many meals.

Check out more photos from our prior Superstition Wilderness projects in our gallery.


Mar 26th - Apr 1st 2017

Service Project

Trail maintenance, tread repair, erosion control

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Free Days

Day hikes, photography, wildflower viewing


Backpack camping

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Bending, lopping, cutting. 4 mile backpack


Bill Sheppard
Cass Hopkinson

Equipment List