Superstition Mountains Women's Backpacking
4 days
From $ 849
Duration4 days

Fall in love with backpacking and the Superstition Mountains on a beginner-friendly adventure in the high desert. This trip is for women who want to see the Sonoran Desert and learn more about backpacking. Led by expert female guides, we hike into the Superstitions, a sublime volcanic landscape of mesas, canyons, wildflowers, Gila monsters and saguaro cactus, set against bluebird sky. In the distance, a rocky spire called Weaver’s Needle reminds us this is a place of legend. (The Lost Dutchman gold mine is said to lie in the spire’s shadow.) By the time the moon rises on the first night, you understand the desert has a beauty all its own. Each day, we backpack far enough to feel accomplished but not exhausted. The desert is our classroom: Our guides teach us about wilderness backpacking and accent the never-ending vistas with stories and facts about the area’s history, mythology, geology and wildlife. They also fuel us with hot, delicious meals. Side adventures reveal additional wonders, like petroglyphs and a swimming hole hidden deep in a box canyon. We sleep deeply under a blanket of stars. We return home exhilarated by the spirit of the Superstitions.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 4 days
    Service level: Standard
  • Physical Grading: Average
  • Ages: 18+
Superstition Mountains Women's Backpacking - Tour Map


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Day 1: Meet at REI Chandler store for a gear check and orientation.
An orientation takes place at the REI Chandler store at 5pm. Please transfer to the store on your own. Because the guides conduct a gear check, distribute group gear (10-15 pounds per person comprised of tents, cooking equipment, and food), and talk about efficient packing, it's important that you bring your loaded pack to the store with you. Our guides also provide tips about proper pack fitting for the female physique, and discuss various other gear necessities with women’s considerations in mind.
The orientation offers a chance to meet fellow travelers and provides your guides an opportunity to review the trip itinerary. This is also a good opportunity to pick up some last-minute items. A picnic-style dinner is included.
Tonight's lodging is not included in your trip cost. We recommend booking a room at the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Chandler. Transportation back to the Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Chandler or your hotel is on your own.
Day 2: Backpack through high desert landscapes and learn wilderness camping skills.
After breakfast, we meet at 7am in the hotel lobby to begin our backpacking adventure. We'll leave our cars at the hotel and shuttle to our starting point on the southern side of the Superstitions Mountain Range. Beginning at an elevation of 2,420', in a sea of Saguaro cactus, we climb past the imposing Miner's Needle. Today's traverse continues through incredible volcanic geology to bring us past panoramic views dominated by the towering Weaver's Needle, an enormous volcanic plug whose presence has inspired legends galore. In the late afternoon we arrive at our first campsite, where ancient cottonwood and sycamore trees stand in stark contrast to the surrounding desert. Before dinner, our guides provide a primer on wilderness camping that covers such subjects as proper tent set-up in all conditions, sleeping comfort, fire building and backcountry bathroom etiquette. Breakfast on your own. Lunch and dinner included.
Backpacking: 6 miles; elevation gain: 1,000'.
Meals: D
Day 3: Explore West Boulder Canyon and enjoy a primer in backcountry cooking.
After breaking camp, we continue through Marsh Valley and on to West Boulder Canyon. Our guides offer a variety of side adventures and detours throughout today's hike. Drop your pack and venture into the narrows of La Barge Box. Remember to bring your bathing suit if you're feeling brave and might enjoy an “invigorating” dip! Before dinner tonight, our guides discuss a variety of backcountry cooking tips and techniques including stove and fuel choices, lightweight ingredient options, caloric goals, basic recipes and backpacking drink options. West Boulder Canyon serves as our home for the night. All meals included.
Backpacking: 6 miles; elevation gain: 700'. (optional side adventures add mileage)
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Traverse the Boulder Canyon trail, with views of Weaver's Needle.
We ascend the Boulder Canyon trail, which leads us out the eastern ridge of the canyon before cresting and descending back to Canyon Lake. The views are expansive and Weaver's Needle dominates the landscape. This imposing spire of weathered lava, named after famed frontier scout Pauline Weaver, has challenged the imagination for more than a century. Most versions of the legend of the Lost Dutchman gold mine claim that the lost mine lies somewhere under the Needle's shadow. After we are picked up at the trail's end in Canyon Lake Marina, your guides will prepare a delicious picnic lunch before returning to the hotel between 3pm and 5pm. Please do not schedule a departing flight out of Phoenix prior to 7pm. Breakfast and lunch included. Dinner on your own.
Backpacking: 4 miles; elevation gain 1000'+.
Meals: B, L



  • Meals as indicated on the daily itinerary
  • Accommodation

    Backcountry camping, 2 nights

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