Lost Dutchman State Park offers spectacular desert and mountain scenery for campers and hikers visiting central Arizona!
Arizona is home to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery I've ever encountered.
Sure, there are the big names – national parks like the Grand Canyon or Saguaro. Some of our greatest memories are from truly epic hikes at the Grand Canyon. It's on a lot of people's bucket list, and rightly so!
But we've also been absolutely delighted by the lesser known gems of Arizona – spots that allow us to explore wild and beautiful scenery that we didn't anticipate.
Lost Dutchman State Park, a relatively small park, is one of our favorite discoveries for that reason. Its close proximity to Phoenix makes it just perfect for a day or weekend trip if you're in the area!
Getting to Lost Dutchman State Park
The park is open year-round, but it's particularly appealing in the winter months. Daytime temperatures will often be in the 60s (Fahrenheit) during the winter, which is a great escape if you're coming from a colder climate.
The entrance to the park is off North Apache Trail/State Highway 88. Check the park website for the current entrance fees and visitor center hours.
The visitor center is close to the entrance, and there's also a park store that sells gifts, snacks, and books about the area.
We stopped in to the visitor center as soon as we arrived, and the rangers were incredibly helpful with figuring out what trails we should go on.
You can reserve camp sites or cabins online before you go. There are over 100 campsites, and many of them have electric and water hookups.
We opted for tent-camping. It was such a peaceful spot!
We made a campfire and brought along some dehydrated meals to cook, but we also picked up food in nearby Apache Junction and brought it back to the park.
Looking for ideas on what food to pack? Check out my guide to the best freeze-dried meals!
The camping cabins sound quite comfortable, too, with electricity, heat and air conditioning (although restrooms and showers are still in a separate facility). Maybe a good option if the weather doesn't play nice!
Bear in mind that even though winter temperatures can be quite nice in the daytime, they still dip at night. When we camped in February, it got pretty cold (in the high 20s, Fahrenheit). We woke up with ice on our tent one morning.
So do pack warm if you're winter tent camping! You might want to layer up with some wool leggings. Check out my post on women's clothing for winter camping for more ideas, or learn how to shop for merino wool clothes.
Hiking at Lost Dutchman State Park
There are multiple trails to explore, some of which are loops, and some of which connect up with other trails.
You'll pay an entrance fee to go in to the state park for the day and hike, but if you're already camping here, you don't have to pay extra!
Treasure Loop Trail is a moderately rated 2.4-mile loop trail that gives you beautiful views of mountains and big sky. It even offers a couple of resting areas for you to stop and take in the scenery as you ascend 500 feet in elevation.
The Siphon Draw Trail is a moderately difficult 4-mile loop that takes you to Siphon Draw Basin, full of incredible rock formations. You'll gain about 1,000 feet as you hike.
You can continue past the basin if you want to go as far as Flatiron Rock, which will add a couple extra miles to your trip. The trail past the basin is not as well maintained, with a lot of rock scrambling and considerably more elevation gain.
Although we were intrigued by the idea of hiking to Flatiron Rock, we had to weigh our limitations that day, and decided it just wasn't going to happen. So we turned around at Siphon Draw Basin. Still impressed by the views!
Don't forget to hike smart when you're heading to this area. Check the weather: some of these trails will be treacherous when wet!
Make sure everyone has enough water to stay hydrated, especially if temperatures will climb high during the day.
I like to bring my Osprey daypack, which is comfortable and is equipped with my Osprey water bladder. I've learned over the years that a trekking pole is also a must for stability on rocky or slick terrain. My favorite are the Kelty trekking poles.
If you're looking for additional hiking in the Phoenix area, also check out Camelback Mountain, just northwest of the city.
There's no question about it: Arizona can be a hiker's (or a camper's) paradise! I hope you get to explore the famous, and not-so-famous, parks for yourself.
Have you ever been to Lost Dutchman State Park? Let us know in the comments!