Prospectors View - Treasure Loop, Lost Dutchman State Park, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona
Prospectors View - Treasure Loop - 2.85 miles
Lost Dutchman State Park
|Round-Trip Length:||2.85 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,115' - 2,620' (max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+505' net elevation gain (+545' total roundtrip elevaiton gain)|
Prospectors View - Treasure Loop - 2.85 Miles Round-Trip
The Treasure Loop, Jacob's Crosscut and Prospector’s View trails form an easy 2.85 mile lollipop loop through a diversely vegetated bajada at the base of Superstition Mountain.
The route is highlighted by rangy panoramas across the bajada, and up-close views of the Green Boulder outcrop and Praying Hands spires. The following description begins at the Treasure Loop Trailhead within Lost Dutchman State Park and travels counter-clockwise:
The Treasure Loop Trail rises quickly up the bajada to Jacobs Crosscut Trail (.4 miles : 2,170’). Bear right on Jacob’s Crosscut, which undulates mildly to the Prospectors View Trail split to begin the loop (1.15 miles : 2,232’).
The Prospector’s View Trail bends NE and rises over an arroyo cut into the upper-bajada. Views of the 4 Peaks Wilderness (north) and Camelback Mountain (west) improve as you gain elevation.
The trail crests at the Prospector's View – Treasure Loop Trail junction (1.75 miles : 2,606’), located over the Green Boulder outcrops.
Turn left on the Treasure Loop Trail, which weaves down through the boulder complex to rejoin the Crosscut Trail and complete the loop (2.45 miles : 2,170’).
Retrace your steps on the Treasure Loop Trail back to the trailhead (2.85 miles).
Note you may take either branch of the Treasure Loop; the second branch adds nominal distance but additional views of Praying Hands and the Superstition Mountains.
The Superstition Mountains took shape about 40 million years ago as eroding sedimentary layers exposed a Pre-Cambrian granite foundation. Subsequent pressure from underlying magma thrust this solid, overlying rhyolite interior 2000’ into the air in what is called a resurgence.
About 25 million years alternating volcanic steam eruptions and collapses formed a huge caldera filled with rhyolite rock formations. The entire area was covered by volcanic ash that has since eroded to expose the remains of the resurgent dome and Superstition Mountain we see today.
- If you don't wish to pay the entrance fee to Lost Dutchman State Park, you may begin travel from the Jacob's Crosscut Trailhead, located on the Second Water Trailhead access road just north of Park boundaries. Doing so adds a little over a mile of easy hiking to the route.
- Bajada means 'below' in Spanish. A bajada is the area between steep mountain slopes and the flat valley below. Bajadas form when soil and loose rock are washed down from the mountains and pile up at their base.
- The bajada's deep, loose and mineral-rich soil provides ideal growing and draining conditions for many types of cacti, trees and shrubs. Mountain peaks and valley floors are often too rocky or compact for these plants to effectively root; the bajada's soil provides adequate support while allowing root systems to radiate out and collect percolating rainwater.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $7 entrance fee to Lost Dutchman State Park.
Directions to Trailhead
Lost Dutchman State Park is located just east of Apache Junction, 7.1 miles north of Highway 60 on Highway 88.
From Highway 60, take the 88 / North Idaho Road exit. Continue 2.2 miles to a fork and bear right. Continue to Lost Dutchman State Park (7.1 miles) and turn right.
Pay the fee and follow signs (left) to the Treasure Loop Trailhead #56.
Lost Dutchman State Park
6109 N. Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85119