Superstition Mountains Backpacking

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$899 for REI Members
$999 for non-members
Departures Mar 2021-Dec 2022

Backpack through one of the premier hiking destinations in the Southwest.

The Superstition Mountains boast quintessential high desert landscapes: Saguaro cacti rising from the earth, craggy wilderness and rugged peaks against a backdrop of bright blue sky. Beginning at an elevation of 2,420', we climb past the towering Miner’s Needle, an imposing spire of weathered lava. Led by our expert guides, we hike over incredible volcanic terrain and relish panoramic desert views, learning about the history and geology of the area as we venture northward.

Hike through deep, narrow chasms, exploring eroded rock spires and blocky sheer-walled mesas. Venture into hidden 19th-century gold mines in the spirit of the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold. Explore the marvels of West Boulder Canyon, dropping our packs for a journey into the narrows of La Barge Box. Ascend the Boulder Canyon trail, which leads us out the eastern ridge of the canyon before cresting and descending back to Canyon Lake. We return home inspired by mountain folklore and fueled by adventure.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Superstition Mountains on a four-day backpacking trip
  • Hike through beautiful terrain filled with bright cacti and towering mesas
  • Learn or expand upon backpacking skills while staying at lovely campsites


This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing 35 to 40 pounds distances of 5 to 7 miles daily over varied terrain.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen before the trip. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Meals as indicated on the daily itinerary. Professional guide services. Transportation to/from our host hotel and trailheads. See this trip’s Gear List for details regarding any equipment that may be provided for your use during the trip.


Backcountry camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Meet at REI Chandler store for a trip orientation and group dinner.

An orientation and gear check is held at the REI Chandler store at 5pm. You can walk or transfer to the store on your own. Because the guides hold a gear check, distribute group gear (10 to 15 pounds per person comprised of tents, cooking equipment, and food), and talk about efficient packing and preparation tips, it's important that you bring your loaded pack to the store with you.

The pre-trip orientation will give you a chance to meet fellow travelers and provide your guides an opportunity to walk through the trip itinerary. This is also a good opportunity to pick up some last minute items. Over dinner we get to know each other in eager anticipation of our adventure. Picnic style dinner included.

Tonight's lodging is not included in your trip cost. We recommend booking the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Chandler. Transportation back to the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Chandler or your hotel is on your own.

Day 2

Hike to breathtaking panoramas of the Superstition Mountains desert landscape.

After breakfast, we meet at 7am in the hotel lobby to begin our backpacking adventure. We'll leave our cars at the hotel and shuttle to our starting point on the southern side of the Superstitions Mountain Range. Beginning at an elevation of 2,420', in a sea of Saguaro cactus, we climb past the imposing Miner's Needle. Today's traverse continues through incredible volcanic geology to bring us past panoramic views dominated by the towering Weaver's Needle, an enormous volcanic plug whose unusual presence has inspired legends galore. In the late afternoon we arrive at our first campsite, where the presence of ancient cottonwood and sycamore trees stand in stark contrast to the surrounding desert. Breakfast on your own. Lunch and dinner included.

Backpacking: 7.20 miles +1,260' / -1,285'

Day 3

Explore the marvels of Le Barge Box and West Boulder Canyon.

After breaking camp, we will continue through Marsh Valley and on to West Boulder Canyon. Our guides will provide a wide variety of side adventures and detours throughout today's hike. Drop your pack and venture into the narrows of La Barge Box. Remember to bring your bathing suit if you're feeling brave! West Boulder Canyon will serve as home for the night. All meals included.

Backpacking: 5.93 miles +392' / -930'

Day 4

Traverse the Boulder Canyon trail, with views of Weaver's Needle.

We ascend the Boulder Canyon trail, which leads us out the eastern ridge of the canyon before cresting and descending back to Canyon Lake. The views are expansive and Weaver's Needle dominates the landscape. This imposing spire of weathered lava, named after famed frontier scout Pauline Weaver, has challenged the imagination for more than a century. Most versions of the legend of the Lost Dutchman gold mine claim that the lost mine lies somewhere under the Needle's shadow. After we are picked up at the trail's end in Canyon Lake Marina, your guides will prepare a delicious picnic lunch before returning to the hotel between 3pm and 5pm. Please do not schedule a departing flight out of Phoenix prior to 7pm. Breakfast and lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Backpacking: 3.83 miles +955' / -1,213'

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.