Not being one for tail-gating, my Fiesta Bowl pre-game ceremony included a
trail run up Superstition Peak. I headed out from the Tempe area and found
the trailhead easily enough off Peralta Road. I instantly concluded that
this was some of the most interesting and rugged terrain within 1 hour of a
major metropolitan area. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. As a
visitor from Idaho, it was also great to have a pair of shorts on and be trail
running up a mountain in January. The weather was sunny with temperatures
in the mid 60's and I was ready for a good, steep run.
From the Carney Springs Road turnoff, the sheer
vertical cliffs on the southeast side of the Superstition Ridgeline were very
impressive. I parked here and followed a washed out road for about 1/2 mile
until it became a foot trail. As I peered up I thought the trail would
take me just west of Point 3826, but it actually went just east of this
prominent point. The slope steepened dramatically as I went up the Boulder
Trail. There was some Class 2-3 scrambling just before the saddle at 3200
feet. Just past the saddle, the trail flattened briefly before it reached
the Superstition Ridgeline proper at 3700 feet. From here, the high point is
visible complete with impressive summit rock fins. The terrain becomes
even more rugged as you pass Point 3826 and make your way up and down and around
many rugged obstacles.
The presence of
prickly cacti increased once I reached the ridgeline. Certainly avoidable
if hiking, the trail running motion makes it harder to not get stuck.
Ascending wasn't bad, but coming down I got jabbed a number of times and had
parts of my leg get pricked, then numb. I read the warnings on other trip
reports and descriptions that said you had to wear pants, but I wasn't going to
give up a chance to enjoy shorts in January. The pain only lasts a few
minutes anyway. As I approached the summit block, I had hazy views of the
Phoenix area and points south. Also impressive was the view of Weaver's
Needle to the north. As the trail ridge traversed toward the fins, I
scrambled up to just below the summit where the last 30 feet or so were solid
Class 3 on excellent rock. The summit contained a register and
benchmarks. The views were excellent, but I had a football game to get to,
so I ran back down as fast as I could.
overall impressions of the peak were that it was a great place to get to easily
and quickly from the city where you could get away from most everyone. The
terrain was also more rugged than I thought and the progress on the trail took
longer with the ups and downs and avoidance of cacti. I also became very
thirsty and quickly ran out of water, so everything you read about carrying
ample water even in January is true. It took me 3 hours car to car and it was
great to get this peak run in before I went back and saw one of the greatest
college football games ever.
Thanks for reading the report and appreciating the trail running aspect of it. I always trail run any mountain where it's possible. Mountain running is the best possible training for true mountain climbing in my opinion.