It’s a quick and painless route into the scenic back country of the central Superstitions and offers one of the best views of Weaver’s Needle, a landmark rock spire in the center of this mountain range.
The trail follows the canyon bottom for more than a mile, climbing gradually and criss-crossing normally dry Peralta Creek. The last mile or so is a bit steeper as you climb out of the lush, narrow canyon to Fremont Saddle.
From here you can’t miss Weaver’s Needle to the north, hidden from view along the trail until the end. Weaver’s Needle, which dominates the western Superstitions, also dominates the legends of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, said to lie, still undiscovered, in the Needle’s 1220-foot shadow.
Peralta Trail continues into East Boulder Canyon and around the base of Weaver’s Needle to Pinyon Camp campground. The route follows the Peralta Canyon stream bed and crosses at various places.
There is constant topographic, vegetative and scenic variety along the entire trail. Early on, two small abandoned mines greet you. About 100 yards along, you pass a vertical stone wall to the left. Growing on this wall are two rare plants, Gila paritili and maple leaf mirandia, the latter found only in the Superstition and Usery Mountains.
The ascent is gradual and crosses the stream bed several times. Various shaded spots offer cool respite at the crossings. Large scrub oaks and sugar sumacs provide shade. As you ascend farther up the trail, Geronimo Cave comes into view on the right along a line of yellow volcanic tuff. The trail ascends away from the stream bed and up a series of switchbacks directed through layers of multicolored volcanic tuff and ash. This is a good spot for looking back over Peralta Canyon and part of Coffee Flat Valley.
Once at Fremont Saddle, the view of Weaver’s Needle is breathtaking. The trail continues for about 4 more miles but most people rest here before returning via the same route. An alternative return route would be along the Cave Trail back to the trailhead.
It is quite crowded on the weekends during the hiking season, so get to the parking lot early.
Directions from Phoenix:
Drive east on US Highway 60 (approximately 8.5 miles past Apache Junction) to the Peralta Road 77 turnoff. The trailhead is about 8 miles north on this road.