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.
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: 6 miles; elevation gain: 1,000'.
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: 6 miles; elevation gain: 700'. (optional side adventures add mileage)
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: 4 miles; elevation gain 1000'+.