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Lost Dutchman State Park – Apache Junction, Arizona

February 14, 2017.happynfull.0 Likes.1 Comment

Lost Dutchman State Park – Apache Junction, Arizona

If you find yourself visiting Phoenix on a cool day, I recommend taking a drive to the Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction (a town about 40 miles east of Phoenix). While the Phoenix area is quite brown and filled with sidewalk and cookie cutter homes, Apache Junction has a vibe straight out of a western movie. Phoenix people often describe “AJ”as a quiet town with a bad reputation for trailer parks everywhere. Whatever your opinions are, there is no denying the fact that it hosts a 320-acre state park with excellent views of mountains, hiking trails, green shrubs, plentiful cactus, and even an old mining town with rustic charm.

Lost Dutchman State Park - Free Things to Do in Phoenix

What is Lost Dutchman State Park?

The Lost Dutchman is a famous Arizona legend and the name of a 320-acre state park with hiking trails and campgrounds. Located between the Superstition Mountain Range, there is a tale about a rich gold mine being hidden somewhere deep inside. Some explorers have died on their search for the gold. A German immigrant named Jacob Waltz is said to have discovered this mine in the 19th century but kept its location a secret. Thus, it was dubbed the Lost Dutchman.

Lost Dutchman State Park Siphon Draw Trail

What is worth seeing at Lost Dutchman?

There are many hiking trails and routes to go on in this park. The most popular is the Siphon Draw trail which takes you to the Basin (2 mile hike one-way) or the famous Flatiron (an extra mile gaining 1700 feet in elevation — steep!). We unfortunately did not make it to The Flatiron as we had Kang Kang with us (ok… I couldn’t hang either, shh!). The park ranger told us at one point you need to boulder up big rocks as it gets really steep.

We’re going back next week without Kang Kang to attempt this!

Lost Dutchman State Park - Free Things to Do in AZ

Map of the Lost Dutchman trails

The best scenic trail is parking at the Palo Verde parking lot, taking the eastern #56 trail, then connecting over to the #58 Jacob’s Crosscut Trail, to the #53. You will know when you’re in the Basin because it will go from dirt gravel to smooth rocks. We were rewarded with a cool breeze once we got into the Basin. It’s definitely worth it! (You can download the map here.)

Lost Dutchman State Park Siphon Draw Trail

When is the best time to visit Lost Dutchman?

Lost Dutchman State Park Siphon Draw Trail

The park is open year round from sunrise to 10pm. I would highly recommend checking the weather. Because the park doesn’t have tall trees anywhere, shade is VERY limited. It is miserable on a hot scorching day. Luckily, the day we went was cloudy and the sun didn’t come to greet us much. The afternoons in Arizona can start to get very hot, so I highly recommend setting out around sunrise.

How long does the hike take?

Lost Dutchman State Park Siphon Draw Trail

Keep in mind the hike to the Basin takes on average 4 hours roundtrip, the Flat Iron will add another 2 hours, making it a total of 6 hours.

What should I bring with me to Lost Dutchman State Park?

Lost Dutchman State Park Siphon Draw Trail

A CamelBak where you can have ample amounts of water!

With minimal shade on the trail, I would certainly bring a sunscreen with SPF 30+.

Chris doesn’t believe in faceblock, but I swear by using a different sunscreen for the face. A hat is always good to block the sun on your face as well.

Don’t forget to bring trail mix or fruit, and if you have a bigger backpack, a picnic at the top would be nice while you admire the views and pat yourself on the back.

Where is Lost Dutchman State Park?

Lost Dutchman State Park Location

Lost Dutchman State Park
6109 N Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85119

How much does it cost to enter Lost Dutchman State Park?

The park entrance fee is $7 per vehicle and you will receive a full-day pass and a map. The map outlines the various camping grounds, restrooms, and parking lots. If you tell the attendant which trail you want to park, they will help map out the best parking lot to go to.

We arrived at 10am on a Saturday in the winter, and they mentioned the lots were quickly getting full. I would try to get there earlier, even though the trails are open until 10pm.

READ MORE: Wrigley Mansion Tour – Free Things to Do in Phoenix, AZ

All in all, it’s a great hike and more scenic than Camelback Mountain. It’s an equally strenuous hike where I would put the difficulty level at Hard. As a longer hike, I do feel you get more of a workout in, and the views are more of nature than city views. I highly recommend going here, especially if you live in the East Valley!

Lost Dutchman State Park View
Categories: Travel Guides, USA

Comments (1)

  • Noelle . February 15, 2017 . Reply

    Looks like a great hike with beautiful views!

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