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  • kjrokey

The Superstitions: Camping spots less than an hour from Phoenix

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Coming in from out of town and don't have time to get to your final destination?

Need a night away from the city but don't feel like driving too far?

Need a place to camp but it's getting too cold up north?

Enter Peralta Road in Gold Canyon. This dirt road is a hidden gem about 45 minutes outside of Phoenix. Bonus, Peralta and the Wave Cave Trails are also along this route. The trailheads see a lot of traffic but there are numerous pullouts for boondocking. We did not see another camper the evening we went. This is a surprisingly quiet and empty place given its proximity to the city.

Peralta Road is located in the Superstition Mountains. The Superstition Mountains are a beautiful range just east of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. While there are many great adventures to be had in the Sups (as they are known locally) sometimes a quick night away from the city is all you need.

Getting There:

This is a super easy drive from Phoenix. To get to the turn off you need to take the 60 east. You will stay on the 60 until you have entered Gold Canyon.

The turn off is labeled for Peralta Road and there is decent signage as you head up. You will weave through a neighborhood and eventually it will turn into a dirt road . From there until the Peralta Trailhead there are ample spots to pull off and camp.

We picked a little side road about halfway up the road to Peralta Trailhead. There were multiple spots along this area to camp.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and made dinner in the brand new 144 van which is now ready to rent!

The dogs were able to run around off leash as there was no one else around.

It was in the 90s when we got there at 3 pm but by the time the sun went down temps cooled and it was lovely to sit outside.

Talk about a campsite and van with a view! It is amazing how many areas there are to explore just right outside of Phoenix.

Hikes in the Area:

  • Freemont Saddle via Peralta Canyon Trail is a 4.6 mile out and back moderately to heavily trafficked hike. The trail takes you up to a view of weavers needle and showcases the desert beauty that the Superstitions hold. It is a great hike to start or end the day if you are boondocking nearby. This hike has a bit of incline but it is steady and easy going. I saw a bunch of families on this trail and would say this is a good one for kids. The trail is mostly exposed but there are some areas to pull off and get into some shade. This trail is dog friendly.

  • The Wave Cave is a 3 mile out and back trail. This trail has become incredibly popular. It is a really cool hike but I recommend going before sunrise if you want to get the cave to yourself. I have not been there at sunset but I am sure that would be a viable option as well. The hike up is quite steep in some areas so it may not be great for younger children. It is also fully exposed without any shade so if you are going midday plan accordingly. This is not a hike to do midday in the summer. This trail is also dog friendly.

I would rate this an excellent place to take first time campers. It is accessible, there is cell service for most of the way, there are close hikes to do and in the winter / spring months the weather is gorgeous. It is a great place to feel far enough away but close enough to get home quickly.

The Wave Cave at Sunrise

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