dogs on leash
The Superstition Wilderness area is open only to hikers and equestrians; no 4wd vehicles, ATVs, dirt bikes, or bicycles are permitted in the wilderness area.
The first part of this trail is nice and easy for all ages, but the true adventure starts when you pass the petroglyphs. Take the canyon through to the ridge trail for a great adventure with lots to see, but I would rate that second section as hard. For the experienced hiker
A solid trail from start to finish. Starts out super easy, going through a flat bajada that, in February at least, was super lush and green with chollas, saguaros, palo verdes, and some sections with grassy lawns! The trail isn’t too tricky to follow despite other reviewers’ comments—just make sure that once you reach the fence that cordons off the Superstition Wilderness in Tonto National Forest to pass through at the U-shaped gate passageway.
The second half really gets your heart working; although the trail isn’t as steep and intense as Piestewa Peak in Phoenix, my thighs were shaking once I reached the Wave Cave itself. Lots of boulders and large rocks slow you down on this section of the trail, but it really isn’t “bouldering” per se, it just breaks things up. Make sure to show courtesy to hikers ascending the trail as it’s only wide enough for single file.
The Wave Cave is a really satisfying climax to the steep summit trail: a vast interior space opens up in the hillside where you can enjoy some shade and an occasional breeze and get cheesy silhouette photos of yourself “surfing” the wave or doing yoga. Not sure if this was carved by wind erosion or not but the cave floor is covered in dusty sand. Towards the back of the cave there are several moisture seeps—true to form, there are tiny mineral deposits forming just as they would in an underground cave! Don’t forget to pack out your trash, as I saw pistachio shells and orange peels all over the ground.
Hiking time: 45 minutes to the top, 15-20 minutes rest in the cave, 30 minutes down
Word to the wise: if parking at the Wave Cave trailhead, make sure you have an Arizona State Trust Land parking permit displayed on your dashboard. They cost $15 per person for a year and you can purchase them online & download a PDF. Even though the trail itself runs mostly on Forest Service land, you are actually parking on AZ trust land, so make sure to follow state laws here.
Very rewarding trail. All of the comments regarding occasional difficulty staying on trail were accurate, (thankfully I had this app and I mapped it!).
The parking area is small, but there is additional parking available further down Peralta road and you can connect to the trail from there also.
Great views throughout and the cave was awesome.
I would definitely rate the last quarter of this trail as difficult because of the loose rock/gravel and steepness of the trail.
Would definitely do it again.
The trail is kinda confusing easy to follow the wrong path. As long as you see the cave you can stay on track though. This trail was rated moderate I personally thought it was hard. Pack lots of water nd snacks. Once you get to the top the view is amazing.
This is an awesome trail to bring your kids or dog with you. The walk itself is only 30-40 minutes but you could easily spend double that hanging out and exploring once you get to the waterfalls. Wear non-slip shoes (even my hiking boots were slippery). I would do this hike over and over again!
The hike itself is easy-moderate. The scenery is gorgeous (as is anywhere in the Superstitions). The cave is really cool and a great spot to get out of the sun, relax, and enjoy the views. I brought my golden retriever but I would be careful if bringing a pup. If they're not used to hiking don't take them! And bring lots of water for them...and maybe some for you too : )
The trail is really confusing but you can basically see the cave from where you start, so at least if you get lost you know what direction to head. My only complaint about that is when you have a bunch of hikers getting lost and going off trail it starts to have a negative effect on the surrounding environment. There also tends to be a decent amount of people so I recommend going on a week day or early morning.
I would not say this is a "moderate" trail. AllTrails rated Wind Cave as moderate and I was expecting the same here, but was worked SO much harder. This is a hard trail to hike and to follow. Pack PLENTY of water and snacks to keep your energy up.
Also, last 5mi is is all dirt roads. ATVs are recommended for the road.