The Superstition Mountains are the largest of the mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix. Located east of the Phoenix Metropolitan area easily accessed off the HWY 60. The highest peak is Superstition Mountain at 5,059 feet. The area is true desert, endangered Saguaro cactus dominates the lower elevations, with other shrubbery and cacti enveloping the rest of the range. The area is home to multiple scenic hiking trails and of course, treasure hunting!
Some 25 million years ago volcanic activity formed the Superstition Mountains. The turmoil left behind welded tuff, breccia, granite, dacite, basalt, and some conglomerate. Deposits of gold are found throughout the range. After initial eruptions the volcanoes collapsed in on themselves, trapping the only partially emptied magma chambers. The resulting up-thrust of lava from these calderas created the Superstition Mountains of today.
Where or when gold mining actually began in the Superstition Mountains is debatable. Some trace it back to the Aztecs, as early as the 1500’s while others would credit it to the Peralta family during their expedition North around 1850. Perhaps the most famous story of the Superstitions involves Jacob Waltz, and what became known as The Lost Dutchman Mine.