OverviewDifficulty of approach: Class 1 to mild Class 3
Difficulty of summit block: Class 5.5-5.7
Distance: 9 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 1228 feet
Miners Needle is located within the Superstition Mountains Wilderness and is a very prominent landmark along the Lost Dutchman’s Trail loop. It can be climbed in a day, or it can be done as an overnight backpack. I personally have done both, although I only climbed up to the top on a day hike. The backpack was what got me interested. Along the trail you can expect to see hundreds of lizards and you will literally be walking in a forest of Saguaro Cacti, somewhat comparable to the Saguaro Forest located in Tucson, AZ. The trail to Miners needle is actually very gradual at the beginning and then starts to climb a little bit more at about the 2 mile mark. But overall, 1228 feet elevation gain over 4.5 miles is hardly much of a climb for most avid hikers. BUT, couple that with 100+ degree heat that you may experience as well as no shade and it gets a bit tougher. Absolutely make sure that you bring plenty of water. I took 5 liters in and drank 4.5, which significantly reduced my pack weight on the way out, thankfully.
Getting ThereYou will drive East on Highway 60, about 8.5 miles beyond the city of Apache Junction. Highway 60 will start looking less like a major highway at this point. Take the well marked road to your left. It should say Peralta Trailhead or Peralta Road. You will follow this road for about 7.5 miles until you reach the main, large parking lot located at the end of this road. There will be a couple of pit toilets available there. Be Cautious as there is a school zone located along the way to the trailhead.
CampingThere is really not any great spots to camp along the trail until you reach the junction for Whiskey Springs trail at the 4 mile mark. This is an excellent place to camp out for the night and watch an amazing sunset and subsequent sunrise.
When to climbI would recommend climbing Miners Needle in the Winter or early Spring or between the months of November and Mid-April. Temperatures can easily reach above 100 degrees and there is next to no shade along this trail. You will pretty much have sun exposure the entire way. It would be extremely tough and dangerous to try this in mid-summer.
What to bringThere is no water source for the entire trail to Miners Needle except for a stagnant pool that I was even leery of filtering. So, that being said, I would bring the following for a one day climb:
4-5 Liters of water
First Aid Kit including a snake bite kit
Protection for your legs in case of a rattlesnake striking you
Trekking poles - These came in handy when going through the brush to ward off potential snakes
Plenty of snacks to replenish the electrolytes you are bound to lose in the heat
I brought a shirt to cover that back of my neck and ears as well. It brought the comfort level up significantly
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