Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Gold Canyon with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This trail is absolutely stunning! I couldn't stop looking around in awe. There are a few things that I would caution future hikers about: going counter clockwise, you start on Dutchman's but then after you cross a creek and see a sign for trail 235 (bluff springs?), you take that left, don't continue on Dutchman's.

Also both my my and my husband's phones read 12 miles when we finished (12.5 if you count our wrong turn) and going at a moderate pace it took 6.5 hours. Even on a relatively cool day (90 degrees as the high) with a steady breeze, we still ran out of water with about 20 minutes left, even after rationing while we hiked. We only saw one other couple the ENTIRE route, so getting hurt or running out of water would be very dangerous.

All that to say, as rough as we felt when we finished (we're used to 1-3 hour hikes) we still want to go again in the fall. It seriously was one of the most beautiful hikes!

Hiked up to Fremont Saddle with my wife to get the awesome view of Weavers Needle. Started out about 7:30 am to beat the heat and other hikers. Had the whole view up at the top to ourselves for about a half hr. Made our way back down about 9:30 and met the flood of other hikers making their way up. Very nice moderate hike. Path is wide open and easy to maneuver.

loved! hoping this stays a secret, not many ppl on the trail. A little hard to navigate and long but worth it if you're looking to get away from all the noise of civilization =)

Beautiful day spent in solitude. Went counterclockwise starting at 11am, and ran into 3 people coming the other way. Finished around 530. Stopped halfway for a 30 minute break.

Loved the changing scenery on this hike. Went from rolling hills, to a dry riverbed, up and over the trail to Peralta.

Hiked in late April, and thought I could get away with 2.5 to 3L of water. Ran out about 2 hours before the end of the trail, making it a real adventure! I would bring 4L for this hike in the future. That first taste of cold water from the gas station was refreshing to say the least.

Would absolutely come back to this location and try it clockwise next time.

First let’s start out that this is a great trail with lots of EVERYTHING you could look for in a trail. As the previous hike noted, past the saddle there IS NO trail, and barely any markers. And since no water was to be found except for some pools in the river canyon. Navigation thru the washes was very time consuming. Running low on water, I ended up loosing the trail at the SW boot trying to navigate the boulder canyon and needed to call 911 to get SAR to help me. The red line GPS on the AllTrails app was extremely unreliable after the saddle. You are on you own navigating and finding the trail to the west side loop trail. As the GPS line will tend to drift you away from the loop trail on the SW corner. Do yourself a favor and download and use the SAT layer map to find the trail again. THIS TRAIL IS NOT FOR UNEXPERIENCED HIKERS

trail running
1 month ago

I highly recommend this loop. We started at 6 am in mid April and the temperatures were perfect. I ran the loop in shorts and my new balance street running shoes. After reading other reviews i chose to go counter clockwise and upon reaching the last half mile or so i am glad i did. It would have been very difficult to climb that last section and them finish the loop i think. Overall the trail was easy to follow, well designated, interspersed with technical and non technical sections, most of which was non technical. I run trails in the Houston TX area so take that to heart. I was able to finish this loop in about an hour and 45 minutes with and average pace of 11 min/mile. I run a lot, but nothing like this. The scenery was breathtaking and moving. Get there at sun up, start early, stop to take in the view from time to time, and enjoy a moderate technical trail with some great sections to fly through. I clocked the loop, counter clockwise, at 9.4 miles on my apple watch.

As mentioned below, I recommend taking the trail Clockwise starting on the Peralta side. (Trail 102 to 104 to 234 to 235) If you start early enough, you will have a great view of Weaver’s Needle at sunrise. The trail is pretty well defined and you will notice when you start getting of course and I just always looked for footprints to help me find my way. There’s quite a bit of loose rocks along the 234/235 trail which is another reason why I would recommend going clockwise because I would not want to be going down hill on that part of the trail. The rest of the trail however is dirt path and easy to hike. Like everyone else has said, bring lots of water and snacks! It is the desert and this hike is long- took me about 5 and half hours or so with minimal stops and keeping pace. It’s an awesome challenging trail though and highly recommend!

The route shown is to Superstition Mtn. Robber Roost is a right turn when you get to the saddle above Carney Spring. Then like in the youtube video you continue over to Fremont Saddle. This is a very tricky trail to follow until you get out of the small canyon that you follow off the saddle. Basic rule is all ways go right at a junction, except for the couple of times when you go left when you are on top.

Great trail. Easy to lose the trail during the second elevation. Had to do some scrambling to find it. Definitely a tough trail. I saw about 20 big horn sheep when I hiked it yesterday. The view from the top is amazing.

1 month ago

Really great day hike - Incredible views the whole way, no people except on the Peralta side, and a pretty steady elevation (what goes up must come down) that made it difficult but more of a moderate-difficult. The difficulty was really in the length of the hike; it took me 15 miles due to an unintentional detour.

A couple things - I went counterclockwise and did have trouble staying on the trail. My recommendation is to look for the rock cairns and if you stop seeing them, go back. You shouldn’t be in the riverbed for too long (probably 15 min) before seeing the trail on the right of the riverbed. Also, bring enough water, food, and sunscreen. Take a picture of the map at the start so you can refer to it at each junction. When I was there, a park ranger was nice enough to provide some guidance. All in all, magical and worth it.

1 month ago

Challenging hike with gorgeous views. Geography and geology changes constantly making it even more beautiful. Trail is not well marked and it’s easy to be on a “trail” before realizing it’s not the trail! Bring more water than usual. Your calves will feel this hike for days!!

This trail will test your will to live haha. Absolutly beautiful views. I did get off course a few times more than Ide like to admit so it ended up being closer to 15 miles. Expect to get lost a little :) Bring lots of water and proper footwear.

2 months ago

Although this area is a bit far for me, I love exploring these trails whenever I can. Driving in, there is a long stretch of dirt that can get a bit rocky and then you eventually reach the parking lot. I usually try and get there before 8 or 9 and am able to snag a spot but when I leave it is typically packed. We started this hike going counter clockwise and I didn't personally think it was very tough although I could see it being a bit more challenging going clockwise. The views were really pretty especially during the last half where you got to see a ton of red/purple rocks in a canyon. The trail was easy to follow and we didn't have a hard time staying on track. It took us about 3.5 hours to finish and we were moving at a pretty average walking pace with a 20 minute break halfway through.

Great hike , fantastic views, bring water, sunscreen, map, portable phone charger etc. FYI there is no permit needed to park, hike or camp in the superstition wilderness, however you cannot camp in the parking lots. This hike is in the superstition wilderness and starts at peralta trailhead. You can leave your vehicles overnight in the parking lot. The superstition wilderness is part of the Tonto National Forest. The Tonto National forest starts at the sign about a third of a mile from the trailhead. That first 6.5 (approx) miles of dirt road is state land and you are supposed to have a permit to camp park etc on that land. Other rules for the wilderness are posted at the trailhead. During the hiking season, normally October to April there are volunteers at the trailhead to answer questions; usually until noon. Peralta trailhead parking lot fills up by 9am on weekends, but there is overflow parking about a quarter mile down the road.

Got stopped by search and rescue on the way to Whiskey Spring Red Tanks Miners Canyon Loop. Planned to do a over nighter there. Search and Rescue warned us not to go out there. They had said it is inhabitable and totally overgrown. So they advised us to do Weavers Needle and it was great.

Even having a physical hard copy map and the AllTrails App open the mileage markers are off. We ended up taking Peralta Trail up to Weavers Needle and camped out off the trail. I posted pictures of potential Weavers Needle back-country camp sites (see my completed list in the profile if you are planning to go back country camping). Great views around, it was a amazing time. It would be my luck though that it would rain. Which lasted 15 hours making the rocks in the morning slippery. The trail has lots of lose rock and minimal cover from the sun. I would agree with others in bringing enough water. Would definitely go back was a amazing experience. Enjoy.

Planned to back a over nighter but got stopped by search and rescue on the way to this trail. Search and Rescue warned us NOT to go out there. They had said it is inhabitable and totally overgrown. Just a warning for people that would want to attempt this.

It was gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful. Several
Hours of light bouldering as you cross the dry river bed. Important tip for planning: THERE IS NO WATER ACCESS!!!
Also - tough to find the trail once you get to the end of the boot and cut across the saddle. Could use some well-placed Cairns

2 months ago

Incredible trail with some gorgeous views throughout. IMO harder than it appears. Definitely bring more water than you think you need and sunscreen as exposed most of the route.

2 months ago

Began with an erroneous boondoggle most of the way to Wave Cave as we got to assisting a couple apparently right near the split in the trail. Knew something was wrong as there were too many people and then we came into visual of the cave....

3 months ago

Such an EPIC hike!! A lot of people say it’s much easier than Flat Iron, but keep in mind this one is much longer. The stats may seem easier on paper, but this hike is difficult! Many moments where you need to push yourself and keep going for the amazing reward at the end. You start out on the same trail as the wave cave, but it splits off at one point...GO RIGHT! It’s a little ways after the fence you walk through. There is a pile of rocks, but we missed it and had to backtrack a bit. Found our way though with GPS back to the trail. Definitely came in handy having the map downloaded. I added to lots of carins along the way, these helped tremendously. If you see some that have fallen or need a couple extra on top, add to them! And leave your mark :) it helps others who may adventure after you’ve considered this just a memory. It says 6.8 miles but man it felt like so much more...felt more like 11. We were out there all day, so plan for some extra time. Have fun and enjoy all the sisters have to offer :)

One of my favorite hikes. somewhat busy lots of other dogs on trail as well. noticed no one else went all the way to the lone tree. we were the only ones that kept going. that was my favorite part. the tree. sitting underneath. if you geocash there is a hidden surprise somewhere too :)

3 months ago

Gorgeous scenery, almost no one on the trail beyond the Saddle. It took 6 hours with a lunch break. I did it on a cloudy day and it was exhausting. Definitely bring more water than you think, food and sun protection!

Black Mesa part was a bit rocky. Glad forest service told us to go counterclockwise on 104.

3 months ago

February 2018. The loop itself is spectacular with many phenomenal vistas . The total mileage measured by my GPS was well over the 13.2 miles listed in the guide. We finished with approximately 17.5 miles. A bit more than we had bargained for and the other issue is that the people who maintain the trail had not been out and many portions were overgrown with vegetation and more problem-some, sticker bushes. This is especially a problem on the Rogers Canyon Trail. There is a huge field at Angel basin for camping. Only a few sporadic campsites on the Reavis ranch trail and none on the Rogers Canyon trail. We did this during dry conditions with no available stream water. We carried 1.5 gallons each.

Awesome ride up & down. Comes up as 17,000 steps in the 4x4 and 148 flights up on your Apple Watch. You can make your goal easy. Thanks Tóm and Louise for that rocky Jeep ride.

So we started on the 235 going around the right side of the loop and missed the turn off for the 234 because we went down the riverbed and missed the sign. We ended up going northeast on the 104 which we took for another 2 hours hoping it would switch back west so we could loop back around and make it back to the Peralta TH but we didn’t have the time so we turned back. Did about 15 miles in total but if we had kept going on the 104 it would have looped back to where we needed to be, we just didn’t want to be hiking in the dark. Just a warning to others. Make sure you see the 234 sign that turns west if you want to do the Weavers Needle hike. Or just take the left path at the start. Hope this helps others.

This trail was a delicious treat. The first mile or two was a little congested just until Fremont saddle and then for the rest of the trail I didn’t see another soul until I was back at the trailhead. I actually started at the trailhead with my boyfriend and we hiked the loop in opposite directions, passing each other at the midpoint. Beautiful landscape with soaring mountains and really dense and lush scrubby creek beds. Lots of changes in elevation for a good challenge and to keep the old ticker pumpin. Managed to clock in at around five hours, but hiking at a brisk pace. Will absolutely be back to hike another one of the many hikes that start at the Peralta trailhead. (Also passed a ton of dispersed campsites along the trail for backpackers doing one of the longer loops that connects to this trail!)

This is a really worthwhile hike both from an exercise and scenery perspective. We came out a bit under 13mi (maybe 12.5 miles and that included 1/2 mile total of a slight diversion) but AEG was right around 3000 feet. It's pretty quiet out there, and not many people past the saddle. Highly recommended.

This is a rough hike and should be rated as hard. It's beautiful but you definitely feel it the next day.

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