Location: Gold Canyon, Arizona
Difficulty Rating: Moderate
Route Type: Out & Back
Length: 5.0 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation: 2,400 ft.
Elevation Gain: 1,380 ft.
Park Fee: No fee
Trailhead Amenities: parking, restrooms (portable), trail map and information
Directions: From Phoenix take US 60 east all the way to Gold Canyon. Turn left on E Peralta Road. Follow E Peralta Road north east. After about a mile it turns into a dirt road. Follow the road for about 7 miles, all the way to the end where you’ll find the trailhead parking lot.
The Peralta Trail is a 5.0 miles out and back trail along the southwest side of the Superstition Wilderness. It passes through a diversely vegetated canyon capped by Weavers Needle, an iconic 4553′ spire that towers over the landscape.
It will take a total of about 3 hours for the entire hike.
This hike begins at a popular trailhead which is equipped with restroom facilities. Parking fills up quickly!
The trail climbs 1360′ in just 2.5 miles to Fremont Saddle, which is where most hikers rest and turn around.
Visitors will enjoy varied terrain, terrific views from Fremont Saddle and useful insight to the canyons’ complex volcanic origin.
The trail begins at the mouth of Peralta Canyon and climbs steadily on a rugged, heavily vegetated path. Oak and mesquite envelop portions of the trail along the canyon’s seasonally flowing creek.
The trail gets pretty rugged in places where you have to scramble over rocks and you have to watch where you are stepping with the loose rocks.
Brush recedes and grades steepen past 1 mile (2,902′) with a chance to study columns of volcanic rock needles that top the canyon walls.
At 1.7 miles (3,428′) you’ll cross (right) over seasonal pools and resume a steep, shifting course through open rock and cacti gardens on the east side of the canyon. Note the prevalence of agave and contrasting light and dark rock in the upper canyon.
Light rock on this section is welded tuff, a composite of hot volcanic ash and cinder that fell back to earth and lithified. The dark needles above are remnants of magma columns that solidified under ground and were exposed through differential erosion.
The hike up usually ends on Fremont Saddle (2.5 miles : 3,754′) with dramatic views north of Weavers Needle, Boulder Canyon and a labyrinth of washes, mesas, buttes and peaks in the backcountry. You can however follow the trail another 4 miles all the way to the Peralta – Dutchman Trail junction on the floor of Boulder Canyon.
Once you reach the “Saddle”, you have an option to hike out an extra 0.5 miles to the “Lone Pine Tree”, visible to the east of the Needle. You will not regret it. The panoramic views from there are phenomenal.
On the way back you’ll definitely enjoy the view of the canyon. If you’re hiking in the afternoon, most of the way down will be shaded, which makes the hike much more relaxing.
If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these hiking guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!