Lost Goldmine Trail, Superstition Wilderness: Hieroglyphics - Lost Goldmine Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona

Lost Goldmine Trail - 11.7 miles

Superstition Wilderness: Hieroglyphics - Lost Goldmine Trailhead

Dacite Cliffs frame the Lost Goldmine Trail

Dacite Cliffs frame the Lost Goldmine Trail

Round-Trip Length: 11.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,085' - 2,315' (2,560' max elevaion)
Elevation Change: +230' net elevation gain (+1,435' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Lost Goldmine Trail - 11.7 Miles Round-Trip

The Lost Goldmine Trail runs 5.85 miles east from the Hieroglyphics - Lost Goldmine Trailhead in Gold Canyon to Peralta Road. It passes through a rolling bajada in Barkley Basin on the southwest edge of the Superstition Wilderness.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail features an abundant collection of cholla, ocotillo, barrel cactus, saguaro, palo verde and mesquite. This food-rich ecotone supports jackrabbit, coyote, javelina and a variety of snakes and raptors:

The Lost Goldmine Trail splits from the Hieroglyphics Trail (.13 miles) and turns east. It undulates steeply across two major washes before moderating in the upper bajada (1.0 mile : 2,167').

Mild-moderate undulations continue east with expansive views across the bajada and surrounding mountains. The trail edges higher and wraps around the base of a protruding butte (2.05 miles : 2,181') to the K Trail split on the far side (2.75 miles : 2,251').

Rolling travel continues through prolific teddy bear and chain fruit cholla gardens to a gate (4.4 miles : 2,393'), and on to the west Lost Goldmine Trailhead on Peralta Road (5.85 miles : 2,315').

Cholla in the Bajada

Gravel and sand brought down from the mountains in arid climates form alluvial fans at their base. Over time these depositions grow and join to form broad, gentle slopes that may extend several miles from the base of a mountain range.

These loosely-packed, well-drained slopes create ideal conditions for cacti - especially the Teddy Bear Cholla. All cholla have woody skeletons and jointed branches. Stem segments are not truly cylindrical, but rather a series of connected, raised tubercles from which spine-bearing areoles emanate.

The spines of most cholla are covered with a papery sheath that reflects sunlight and protects the stems from overheating. This feature is especially pronounced in the Teddy Bear Cholla.

Teddy Bear Colla appear covered with soft beige bristles, which account for its common, innocuous name. However these bristles are hardened spines, each tipped with a microscopic barb, or glochid.

These imperceptible barbs earn it its second nickname, Jumping Cholla, because entire joints can detach and imbed a transgressor with the slightest touch.

Teddy Bear Cholla average 4-7' high with a dark base (where older joints have dislodged) and light colored extremities of new growth. Although Teddy Bear Cholla flower, they rely on fallen joints for reproduction, which root easily where they land. Through clonal propagation, a local population of teddy bear cholla may consist entirely of genetically identical individuals.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N33 23.389 W111 25.476 — 0.0 miles : Lost Goldmine - Hieroglyphics Trailhead
  • N33 23.415 W111 25.402 — .13 miles : Hieroglyphics - Lost Gold Mine Trail split
  • N33 23.583 W111 24.981 — 1.0 miles : Undulations moderate on bajada (2,167')
  • N33 23.434 W111 24.180 — 2.05 miules : Cross ATV road (2,181')
  • N33 23.323 W111 23.630 — 2.75 miles : K Trail split (2,251')
  • N33 23.434 W111 23.618 — 2.85 miles : Wrap around butte (2,278')
  • N33 23.592 W111 23.145 — 3.6 miles : Teddy Bear Cholla garden (2,396')
  • N33 23.602 W111 22.382 — 4.4 miles : Pass through gate (2,393')
  • N33 23.538 W111 21.243 — 5.85 miles : Lost Goldmine Trailhead (west terminal)

Worth Noting

  • The Lost Goldmine Trail is a popular recreation corridor. It's open to bikes, horses and runs by ATV roads; paragliders launch from the Dacite Cliffs; mild grades attract runners and families.

  • The Lost Goldmine Trail runs just south of the Superstition Wilderness boundary on State Trust Land.

  • The Hieroglyphics - Lost Goldmine Trailhead sees heavy use, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Dispersed camping is permitted in the Superstition Wilderness. No fee or permit is required.

  • Fires are not permitted on this trail, and in most locations on the west side of the wilderness area.

  • Camp only in established sites, which are not marked but intuitively found along the trail, usually near a water source. Note there is little-no water on the Lost Gold Mine Trail.

  • Always plan on carrying all of your own water. Treat all natural water sources before consumption. Water Reports are usually posted at the trailhead, but may not be current.

  • Contact the Mesa Ranger District (408.610.3300) for current trail information and potential restrictions before heading out.

  • Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

Rules and Regulations

  • There is no day-use fee to enter the Superstition Wilderness from this location.

Directions to Trailhead

The Hieroglyphics - Lost Goldmine Trailhead is located on Cloudview Ave in Gold Canyon on the SW edge of the Superstition Wilderness.

From Highway 60, exit on Kings Ranch Road and travel north 2.8 miles. Turn right on Baseline Ave for .3 miles, then left on Mohican Road for .3 miles, and left again Valley View Drive. Turn north on Whitetail Road for .3 miles, then right on Cloudview Ave for .4 miles to the trailhead.

Contact Information

Superstition Wilderness
Mesa Ranger District
5140 E. Ingram St.
Mesa, Arizona 85205
Monday-Friday: 8 am - noon | 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

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

Trip Reports

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