February 2018 – Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona, just east of Phoenix, is one of our favorite RV campgrounds. Back when we first started RVing with our popup tent trailer, we visited Lost Dutchman State Park frequently.
We recently returned and were blown away once again by the beauty of this State Park and campground that is smack in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, tucked up against the stunning Superstition Mountains.
Not only are the campsites spacious and often positioned with a great view of the Superstitions, but there are hiking trails leading out from each of the campground loops that invite you into the desert. On one afternoon we were greeted by a pair of horseback riders as we hiked.
The sunrises and sunsets are colorful and dramatic, and we enjoyed walking the campground loop in the early morning and early evening light.
For a change of pace from the hiking, mountain biking and desert scenery inside Lost Dutchman State Park, there are two popular tourist attractions just outside the gate: Superstition Mountain Museum and Goldfield Ghost Town.
The Superstition Mountain Museum has lots of buildings and artifacts from the early gold mining days of the mid-1800s and tells the story of Jacob Waltz, “the Dutchman” (actually German) who made a big gold strike in the Superstition Mountains but took the details of its whereabouts to his grave.
I loved climbing into the stagecoach!
There is a saloon and a jail and lots of gold mining equipment too.
The Superstition Mountain Museum is a non-profit organization that works to preserve the history of the Superstition mountains. Just a mile or so away Goldfield Ghost Town brings history to life with a replica of a gold mining town, complete with a brothel, bank and apothecary shop.
Between the buildings at Goldfield Ghost Town we caught glimpses of the Superstition Mountains.
There are lots of things to do at Goldfield Ghost Town, including taking a gold mine tour. There are also various rides and guided tours that go out into the desert both by jeep and on horseback.
There’s also a narrow guage railroad train ride around the property. As I looked down the tracks to see if a train was coming I saw a hobo and his dog walking towards me on the tracks!
There was even an old outhouse with a moon shaped window.
A certain someone decided to check out the facilities and then peeked out the window.
A couple dressed in period outfits sang old folk songs by the side of the dirt road.
A deceased fiddle player accompanied them in a nearby boutique shop!
There were lots of fun photo ops at both the Superstition Mountain Museum and Goldfield Ghost Town.
For RVers staying at Lost Dutchman State Park who appreciate a yummy cuppa joe and a muffin in the morning, there’s a terrific espresso coffee shop and bakery at Goldfield Ghost Town.
As we approached the door one morning, someone yelled from the deck, “Hey Mark and Emily!” It turned out our dog-loving friends Dick & Katie–who we hadn’t seen in two years–had noticed Buddy trotting up to the coffee shop and instantly recognized him from his pics on this blog. “I know that dog,” Katie said to Dick. Then they followed his leash up to our faces and recognized us too!
Lost Dutchman State Park is the only public government-run campground in the greater Phoenix area that has a dry camping loop with big-rig friendly non-hookup sites. The terrific benefit for winter RVers is that even though all the dry camping sites can be reserved in advance, the hookup sites are much more popular and get booked up before the dry sites do.
So, unlike other campgrounds in the area, it is possible to stay at Lost Dutchman in a beautiful campsite without reserving a campsite months in advance. If you decide to stay there at the very last minute, there is an overflow area in a paved parking lot too, so you most likely won’t be turned away.
For photography buffs, the Superstitions light up with a beautiful golden glow in the late afternoon just before sunset.
Sunrise is also very lovely at Lost Dutchman, with pink and orange skies framing the silhouette of the Superstition Mountains.
Here are some books about the mystery of the Lost Dutchman and a hiking guide to the Superstition Mountains:
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More info about Lost Dutchman State Park, the Superstition Mountain Museum and Goldfield Ghost Town:
- Lost Dutchman State Park Campground
- Superstition Mountain Museum
- Goldfield Ghost Town
- Location of Lost Dutchman State Park, Superstition Mountain Museum & Goldfield Ghost Town – Google Maps
Other special campgrounds we have enjoyed:
- Boondocking at Big Bend National Park – Cheap & Scenic RV Camping 03/26/15
- City of Rocks State Park, NM – RV Camping in the Hoodoos! 12/03/15
- Goblin Valley, UT – Where the Ghosts Are 10/16/07
- RV Camping with the Rock Art Petroglyphs in Gila Bend, AZ 04/21/17
- Sand Hollow State Park, Utah – An Oasis in the Desert! 11/21/17
- Valley of Fire, NV – A Cauldron Cooled 09/25/09
- Wupatki Nat’l Monument – Ancient Indian Ruins & Great Camping in AZ! 08/25/11
- Zion NP, Kodachrome Basin & Snow Canyon, UT – Great Red Rocks! 10/31/07
More fun places we’ve visited on the Apache Trail:
- Arizona’s Stunning Apache Trail Scenic Drive 02/09/15
- Dolly Steamboat – Gliding Through the Arizona Desert on Canyon Lake 02/09/18
Our most recent posts:
- East Glacier Scenic Drive – Treasures OUTSIDE Glacier National Park 06/15/18
- Montana Road Trip – Wildflowers, Bison, a Mission Church + Good Eats! 06/08/18
- RVing Wyoming – Lakes, Mountains and Waterfalls 06/01/18
- Lessons Learned in the Full-time RV Lifestyle – Tips & Ideas! 05/25/18
- Wyoming Back Roads by RV – Rugged, Remote and Wild! 05/18/18