backpacking peralta trail az

Peralta Trail Backpacking


Overview: A stunner of a 13-mile loop that highlights some of the most iconic landmarks in the Superstitions, primarily Weaver’s Needle. Plenty of great places to camp, but water is seasonal and summer can be deadly hot and dry.

  • Peralta Trail  – 6.2 miles
  • Dutchman Trail – 1 mile
  • Terrapin Trail – 3 miles
  • Bluff Springs Trail – 2 miles


Starting the Loop at Peralta

peralta trail backpacking

Get your desert hiking fix in a beautiful wilderness packed with Old West lore.

The Peralta Trail is the most popular in the Superstition Wilderness and provides some of the best views of Weaver’s Needle, the area’s most iconic towering rock formation.

During hiking season the trailhead fills up fast with day hikers heading out for a view of the Needle from Fremont Saddle. If you’re starting a backpacking trip on a weekend, you’ll definitely need to get there early.

In mid-April, I set out with a group of ten for an overnight adventure by way of the Peralta Trail. We decided on doing a loop that would take us from Peralta, to the Dutchman Trail, up Terrapin Trail and on to Bluff Springs Trail for the final leg of the trip.


Not a lot of shade out here, so protect yourself from the sun.

It’s only about 2.5 miles from the trailhead to Fremont Saddle and it also happens to be the busiest section of trail. For more solitude, start your trip on a weekday. Our group set out on a Saturday to accommodate the nine-to-fivers.

You’ll definitely know you’re gaining elevation but there’s nothing particularly grueling about the hike. On the way toward the saddle you’ll see wide open views of the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks Wilderness.


Weaver’s needle is the centerpiece for much of this Superstition Wilderness loop.

Fremont Saddle

This is a great place to throw off your pack and wander around for a little while. It’s also where you catch your first glimpse of Weaver’s Needle. Once you’ve soaked in the views and snapped a few photos, keep heading down the Peralta trail.

You’ll start heading into a valley and leave the crowded part of the trail behind. We found a great campsite just a mile or two before the end of the Peralta trail. The well-used site provided plenty of shade and room for our large group, with a great view of Weaver’s Needle.


The camping is good once you get past Weaver’s Needle. Plenty of good, established spots.

Day 2

Day two started by knocking off the last couple miles of the Peralta before jumping on Dutchman for a mile en route to Terrapin Pass, which would take us to Bluff Springs trail for the final leg of the loop.

The most challenging leg of the loop is definitely Terrapin Pass. There’s a lot of elevation gain, but you’ll be rewarded with world-class views.

General Backpacking Info

  • Backpacking in the Superstition Wilderness is free and does not require a permit
  • Fire restrictions may be in effect so contact the ranger station before heading out
  • Get a water report from the ranger station and plan accordingly. Water is not always available.
  • Keep your group size to less than 15 people
  • Get to the trailhead early as it fills up fast on the weekends during peak season (Spring, Fall, Winter)

Getting There

Take US 60 east until the freeway ends and you hit Peralta Road, FS 77. Take the dirt road all the way to the trailhead. You can get there in any type of car.

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