Superstition Ridgeline in Tonto National Forest

Superstition Ridgeline


Mileage: 10.6
Elevation gain: 4860 feet
Time to complete: 8-12 hours
Stars: ★★★★★
Difficulty: 5/5 (Ratings explained)
Very strenuous, long, some route-finding and scrambling

If I had to choose just one favorite hike in the Superstition Wilderness, this would be it! The Superstition Ridgeline hike is very physically demanding, but it gives you 360-degree views for miles and miles and makes you feel alive. This route travels between Carney Springs on one end and the Flatiron on the other end with the option to visit Superstition Peak 5057 along the way.

Trail Description

Behold the crown jewel of the Superstition Wilderness, the Superstition Ridgeline Trail. You can do this trail in either direction, but I’m going to make a case for starting up the Carney Springs Trail and coming down the Flatiron: the view of the sunset on the way down (if you’re doing it in December like we did), hitting the Siphon Draw trail later in the day when there are fewer crowds, and a shorter drive to burritos afterward. If you have an awesome spouse like we do, then you’ll also be able to get valet service to and from the trailhead and avoid paying the fee at Lost Dutchman State Park. Boo-yah!

The Carney Springs Trail is always a beast, no way around it. I’m so sorry. Just power through it because you’re fresh and the anticipation of this hike has you pumped! Once at the Carney saddle, you’ll begin going left toward Superstition Peak 5057. Wahoo! You’re on the ridgeline! If you get an early start, chances are you’ll be at Superstition Peak 5057 before noon.

Summit of Peak 5057 on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail
One of my worst life choices was forgetting my hat and having to wear Hillary’s baby boy beanie

Superstition Peak 5057

Stopping at Superstition Peak 5057 is optional and adds a little distance to the hike, but how can you pass by without sitting on top? This is where we broke out the Jetboil and the hot cocoa bar (yes, we did!). It tastes better at 5057 feet, and the views are absolutely killer.

Jetboil on Peak 5057 on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail
Preparing hot cocoa on Peak 5057

At this point, you’ll be thinking you’re “all that” because you’re already half way there and it’s all downhill from there. Resist the temptation, my friend! You are not half way, and it is nowhere near all downhill from there! Your trials are just beginning, but your incredible surroundings will buoy you up and carry you through.

Hoodoos on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail
The hoodoos on the Superstition Ridgeline are super weird and cool

The trail is pretty obvious these days, but there are still some confusing spots, so you should definitely bring GPS. The trail is rugged, and there are a few sections with some fairly easy scrambling. Heather calls them the fun parts.

Section of scrambling on the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

After you leave Peak 5057 you can get a view of the rest of the ridgeline extending out before you. I can’t even look at this without wishing I was there.

A view of the Superstition Ridgeline Trail

Keep going and going, and when you think you should be there, go some more. It’s a long way, and it’ll break your heart a few times when you realize how many times you have to go down only to go back up again. As you get closer to Siphon Draw Trail, it’s not super obvious where to go, so keep an eye on that GPS.

Flatiron and Siphon Draw Trail

Before long, you’re going to crest your final hill, and the Flatiron will gloriously come into view before you. You know the way from here, right? Find the entrance to the Siphon Draw trail, and you’re on your way down.

Descending Siphon Draw Trail below Flatiron on the Superstition Ridgeline

And if you’re lucky, hopefully you’ll get a special dusky view of this beautiful area that you normally only see in the daytime. Don’t be like April, though—bring a headlamp just in case.

Finishing the Superstition Ridgeline hike in the dark

If you left a shuttle car here, you’ll head to the Siphon Draw Trailhead in Lost Dutchman State park. But if you’re smart, you’ll get that awesome spouse to pick you up in the nearby neighborhood for free (as shown on our map). Then tell your valet driver just how hungry you are, and go enjoy a burrito while you laugh and reminisce about the day’s adventure.

Map & Directions

Location Superstition Wilderness, Tonto National Forest, Lost Dutchman State Park, Gold Canyon, Arizona

This is a point to point hike between Carney Springs Trailhead and Siphon Draw Trail that can be done in either direction. Leave a shuttle car at one end and then drive to the other end or have someone drop you off and pick you up.

Carney Springs Trailhead

To get to the Carney Springs Trailhead, take US60 to Peralta Road and go north. Fork left, and then find the Carney Springs Trailhead on the left side before you reach Peralta Trailhead.

Fees/Passes A recreational permit is required from the Arizona State Land Department (didn’t I say to have someone drop you off anyway?).

Trailhead Facilities None

Siphon Draw Trailhead

The Siphon Draw Trailhead is located inside the Lost Dutchman State Park. Take US60 to Idaho Road and go north. Then turn right on Highway 88 and follow it until you reach the park on the right.

Fees/Passes There is a fee to enter unless you have the State Parks Pass. Alternatively (I’m just sayin’!), you can have someone pick you up at the neighborhood location shown on our map, but be aware there is no parking there.

Trailhead Facilities Flushing toilets (fancy!) and water available.

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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