A different view of the Superstitions

When I used to think of the Superstition Mountains, I would picture a desert landscape with rocky, bare mountains, like this:

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Photo credit: Meghan Duell

However, I recently learned that there is much much more to these wonderful mountains than that. For example, I would have never thought I could see this in the Superstitions:

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Now, I do not think I am alone in this skewed view of these mountains. It turns out between 80-90% of the visitors to these mountains only go to 1-2 trails: Peralta and First Water, which are both very desert-like and close to Phoenix. To get to the other parts of the Superstition mountains, you not only have to drive further, but you often find yourself on long tracks of 4×4 roads, which makes them inaccessible to most people. It is worth the trouble though!

Meghan and I hiked an amazing trail called Reavis Ranch trail, which can be accessed from Hwys 88 or 60 and leads to its namesake from both directions. We accessed this trail from the southern route, on Hwy 60. It was a beautiful trail, but also quite a work out with all of its ups and downs.

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The trail starts out in a more sagebrush-manzanita habitat, with some desert riparian areas. It reminded me of the Mazatzal Mountains in many ways.

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We also found many places with snow still on the ground!

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After many ups and downs and several switchbacks, we made it to the saddle of the first wave of taller mountains. Once we hit this point, the habitat dramatically changed. We were now entering the heart of the mountain range, and it was full of water and had a great diversity of trees and plants.

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We would hike through groves of ponderosa pine forests,

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Pinyon-juniper forests,

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And several areas that had many emory and Arizona-white oaks mixed in.

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And like I said, there was water everywhere. Most of this was probably snow melt, but it also made this hike ideal for backpacking.

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We ended up hiking along this trail for about 6 miles, and then turned around. This hike is now one of my favorite hikes in Arizona, and I hope to do it again soon – most likely backpacking! I really encourage everyone to try and seek out this completely different part of the Superstition Mountains! There are many trails that criss-cross this wilderness area, so you can also try something different!

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