Hiking: The Lost Dutchman State Park

Dear Students,

The 320 acre Lost Dutchman State Park features my favorite mountains (so far) in the Valley of the Sun. I love the name “Superstition Mountains”.  Now that my youngest is 4 we decided to tackle a family hike.

I planned for the best case (hike) and worst case (drive). We decided to hike a portion of the Treasure Loop Trail and then drive on the Apache Trail to the Tortilla Flats restaurant. What I like about this plan is that the drive features the Apache Trail Scenic Byway.

We paid an entrance fee ($6.00). The park has amenities. You can camp here, reserve ramadas for day use. If I had to do it over again, I would have prepped my Junior Rangers a little and downloaded activities for the boys. Next time.

This hike was a roller coaster of emotion for them. The were alternately defiant, then starving, then passive, then very weak and must be carried. They flopped in the dust complaining. Then they recovered and ran full steam towards the rocks. My little one tried to cut across the park towards a particular rock configuration that looked like a throne to him. He was devastated when I told him to “stay on the highlighted route”.  We corralled them and soldiered ever closer to giant boulders in great cliff walls and rock towers. Very cool. We wended a steep and narrow trail and finally halted in a cluster of giant rocks. We could see trail layers extended upward and closer to the rocks but we had already been walking for an hour and little boys were whipped. Do you find my vague and non technical description of the hike lacking in useful descriptions? Hiking is new to me. Future posts will be littered with helpful asides like “jojoba” and “basalt” but all I can offer you now is starved desiccated plant things and big rocks. I need to get my Junior Ranger badge.

The nice thing about stopping at that point was the way down was easy. It was all downhill. I daydreamed as I carried my younger one down the mountain about the legendary lost gold mine and how epic would that be if our inept little crew solved a hundreds year old mystery and found it. Perhaps next time.

Once at the bottom of the trail we used the restroom (clean) and the water fountain (cold!).

The little one was nodding off as we pulled out of the lot. We took a right onto the Apache Trail and enjoyed amazing scenery. The road was crowded with cars and motorcyclists but that did not detract from the beauty of the drive. Tortilla Flats is about ten miles beyond the park. It was crowded so we didn’t stay. We’ll be back when we have out of town guests, but in the meantime, two sleepy boys meant it was time to head home.

With sore feet,
Mrs. Kenney