TOUR DESCRIPTION (Passage Map)

Experience some of the wildest mountain ranges in central Arizona during this scenic seven-day trip. Although it’s a short distance from the greater Phoenix area you’ll never know it. This itinerary is unique in that it crosses two designated wilderness areas and the AZT in this area has been upgraded over the past few years, making a formidable path through the mountains a more pleasant experience. After seven days, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the two iconic mountain ranges east of Phoenix, including the east side of the Superstition Mountains where people rarely visit.

 

We created this trip for those who don’t want a guide, don’t want to be supported during the week and generally just want their own self-serve adventure with a bit of logistical assistance. Each day we relocate a very deluxe camp setup (provided by Ready Camp) of (2) 10×10 canopies, full kitchen, dry firewood, camp chairs, fresh water, coolers of food and beverages (you purchase prior to trip) and all your personal gear like tents, bags and clothing. You can go as cheap or deluxe as you want on food, beverages and amenities!!

Arrival Day

 

Our meeting point for this trip is Best Western in Apache Junction, AZ. The day before the trip starts you can pick up a cooler (if needed) from us to do your shopping for the week.

 

Day One

 

There is no easy way to tackle the Superstition Mountains, and today’s brutal start is not for the faint of heart. You’ll walk up 2,200 vertical feet in just 3 miles to gain the highpoint of this passage. Looking south on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Santa Rita Mountains near the town of Patagonia. Your legs and lungs will get some respite along a forest road as you descend toward Roger’s Trough Trailhead, the entrance to Superstition Wilderness. Camp in the dense piñon-juniper forest and rest your body for the big day ahead. Hike length about 7 miles.

 

Day Two

 

The forest envelopes you as you climb 500 feet in elevation before a gentle descent toward Reavis Ranch, named after homesteader and master gardener Elisha Reavis who settled here along a reliable creek around 1874. Rich soil and a favorable climate helped Reavis grow apples and vegetables, which he sold at mining towns in the area. Many of the apples trees still remain. At the intersection of the Reavis Gap Trail, leave the AZT and hike downhill toward the Reevis Mountain School – one of the hidden gems of the Superstitions. Hike length about 12.5 miles.

 

Day Three

 

After a pleasant night’s sleep at the oasis of the Reevis Mountain School, hike back up the Reavis Gap Trail to the AZT, then continue your journey north. The trail crosses four minor canyons, so you’ll trudge up and down rugged terrain for 10 miles before your long descent toward Roosevelt Lake in the distance. The trail is rocky and tough, so choose your footing carefully as you pick your way downhill. Leave the AZT on a side trail toward Frazier Campground. You’ll feel a grand sense of accomplishment as you soak your tired legs in the lake while looking back at the ominous mountains you have tackled over the past two days. Hike length is about 17 miles.

 

Day Four

 

After yesterday’s big effort, today’s shorter day is a welcomed sight.  We use the same camp tonight (we’ll shuttle you back at the end of today’s hike), so you don’t even have to break down your tent and gear in the morning!  Your hike today is dominated by Lake Roosevelt behind you as you climb higher and higher and further and further away from it.  The terrain is a mix of saguaro cactus and desert scrub as you wind yourself up to the Mills Ridge Trailhead.  Today’s hike is about 9 miles.

 

Day Five

 

We will hop in the van and shuttle the first 6 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain to the Mills Ridge Trailhead. From there, it’s time to hike one of the most memorable 13 miles anywhere in central Arizona. The first three miles hurt, climbing 2,000 vertical feet. Then the trail gets really good and levels out for the next 10 miles, rising and falling gently along the foothills of Four Peaks. These quartzite peaks are stunning, and even though they’re clearly visible from Phoenix, this passage of the AZT sees few visitors. As you walk the final few miles toward Lone Pine Saddle and Pigeon Spring you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the Superstitions and Four Peaks. Hike length is about 13 miles.

 

Day Six

 

From camp at Lone Pine Saddle, today’s hike follows Forest Road 422 (Pigeon Spring Road) across the Tonto National Forest. Roosevelt Lake, Bartlett Reservoir and the mighty Mazatzal Mountains dominate much of the views during this walk. Although your boots won’t touch trail on today’s hike, the road walk gives you an opportunity to enjoy your surroundings without having to always focus on the tread in front of you. It’s also a great reminder of the value of wilderness areas that remain roadless and genuinely wild. Surprisingly, there isn’t significant elevation gain or loss today. Camp near Circle M Spring. Hike length is approximately 11 miles.

 

Day Seven

 

Lace up your boots and head north on a splendid singletrack segment of the Arizona Trail. After a short climb the trail begins a long descent toward Sycamore Creek. Numerous opportunities for creekside breaks present themselves as you’ll cross Boulder Creek several times then eventually walk alongside it. Granite boulders and lush chaparral vegetation define this passage of the AZT. Portions of the AZT have been meticulously rebuilt over the past five years, transforming it from an eroded mess into a pleasant hiking experience. After crossing Sycamore Creek, walk another two miles to Bushnell Tanks and Highway 87 to complete this passage. Total mileage is 8.5 miles.

What’s Included

 

  • Shuttle Van and driver
  • Luggage, gear and cooler/food relocation
  • Ready Camp kitchen and general gear

Not Included

 

  • Alcoholic Beverages – we can haul and keep them cold though!
  • Lodging
  • Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
  • Weather Control – Mother Nature has a mind of her own

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and then a shuttle to Apache Junction, AZ.