- 4 days, 3 nights of self-guided trail running
- Mostly singletrack in southern Arizona
- This tour is appropriate for hikers with good fitness
- Includes daily gear transport, Ready Camp Kitchen gear and setup, water and firewood
- Trip starts and ends in Apache Junction, AZ
- Total group size limited to (12) per trip
- Cost: $415 per person
TOUR DESCRIPTION (Passage Map)
Experience some of the wildest mountain ranges in central Arizona during this scenic four-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 four 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!!
Our meeting point for this trip is Apache Junction, AZ at the Best Western on Apache Trail Rd. The day before the trip starts you can pick up a cooler (if needed) from us to do your shopping for the week.
The adventure begins by running along the AZT near the hulking mass of Picketpost Mountain. The desert is lush and beautiful near here, with volcanic rocks covered in lime-green lichen. The trail is in excellent condition, although rocky at times, and gently ascends toward the big mountains to the north. You’ll run through a variety of picturesque canyons, past colorful geology, and probably stop occasionally to soak up the views. Today’s mileage and overall ascent (800 feet) is gentle. Save your energy. Camp along the trickling creek and towering sycamore trees near Reavis Trail Canyon. Run length about 12 miles.
There is no easy way to tackle the Superstition Mountains, and today’s brutal start is not for the faint of heart. You’ll run and 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. The dense piñon-juniper forest envelopes you as you climb 500 feet then begin 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 run downhill toward the Reevis Mountain School – one of the hidden gems of the Superstitions. Run length about 19.5 miles.
After a pleasant night’s sleep at the oasis that is the Reevis Mountain School, run back up the Reavis Gap Trail to the AZT, then continue your journey north. The trail crosses four minor canyons, so you’ll run 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 tackled in a single day. Run length about 17 miles.
After a pleasant night’s sleep at the oasis of the Reevis Mountain School, hike back 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 run one of the most memorable half-marathon distances 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 run the final few miles toward Lone Pine Saddle and Pigeon Spring you’ll be able to count yourself among the short list of non-native people who have run through these two massive ranges in just a few days. Run length is about 13 miles.
- Shuttle Van and driver
- Luggage, gear and cooler/food relocation
- Ready Camp kitchen and general gear
- Alcoholic Beverages – we can haul and keep them cold though!
- Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
- Weather Control – Mother Nature has a mind of her own
Phoenix International Airport has plenty of flights each day.