Apache Junction

Whether hiking the Superstitions to find hidden gold, or simply to enjoy the surroundings, visitors find that Apache Junction lives up to its rugged reputation.

In the northeast region of Phoenix, Apache Junction is a town surrounded by wilderness—ideal for travelers seeking the scenic route to discover historic towns or tour a nearby lake aboard a steamboat.

Learn the legend

Legend has it that during the 1800s, Jacob Waltz—who went by the nickname "the Dutchman" (though he was actually German)—and his partner, Jacob Weiser, located a gold mine that once belonged to a wealthy Mexican family. Not long after the pair hid their gold riches in the surrounding mountains, Weiser mysteriously died—whether at the hands of Apaches or a greedy Waltz, no one is certain. On his deathbed, Waltz described the location of his hidden gold to his caretaker who, despite her best efforts, was never able to locate "the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine."

In the years since thousands have tried to locate the gold without success, some leaving poorer than before and others dying in their pursuit of the treasure—each attempt further contributing to the legend.

Superstition Mountain Museum

Today, Lost Dutchman State Park offers hiking and mountain biking trails that lead to great wildlife viewing areas, plus campsites for outdoor adventurers who want to extend their trips. Just outside the park, visitors learn more about the lore at the Superstition Mountain Museum. This local spot features several exhibits and outdoor structures, including a barn and the eye-catching white Elvis Chapel—the last surviving structures from Apacheland Movie Ranch. There's more on the Lost Dutchman Mine (of course), as well as the people who've called this region home from centuries past: the Salado, the Hohokam and the Apache tribes.

Hike or seek

Try the moderately easy 2-mile Treasure Loop Trail, which can be accessed via the Cholla (northern side) or the Saguaro (southern) day-use areas. Don't get too focused on what's ahead or you'll miss the beauty of the Superstition Wilderness of the Tonto National Forest around you. More difficult, but arguably more rewarding, the hike to the Broadway Cave leads you to a picturesque nook from which to take in the view. Be warned, though: The final climb to the cave is a challenge, to say the least.

Go further afield to experience Goldfield Ghost Town, a historic mining outpost that today welcomes visitors with a mine tour, loop railroad journey and gold panning. Tortilla Flat is another Old West town in the Superstitions captured in time, where visitors come to experience the restaurant, saloon and mercantile. On nearby Canyon Lake, visitors go sightseeing aboard the Dolly Steamboat to appreciate this natural wonderland from a fresh perspective.

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