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
- City of Rocks State Park, NM – RV Camping in the Hoodoos!
- Goblin Valley, UT – Where the Ghosts Are
- Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, New Mexico – A Dog’s Eye View!
- RV Camping with the Rock Art Petroglyphs in Gila Bend, AZ
- Sand Hollow State Park, Utah – An Oasis in the Desert!
- Valley of Fire, NV – A Cauldron Cooled
- Wupatki Nat’l Monument – Ancient Indian Ruins & Great Camping in AZ!
- Zion NP, Kodachrome Basin & Snow Canyon, UT – Great Red Rocks!
More fun places we’ve visited on the Apache Trail:
- Arizona’s Stunning Apache Trail Scenic Drive
- Dolly Steamboat – Gliding Through the Arizona Desert on Canyon Lake
Our most recent posts:
- Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ – SPECTACULAR! 05/25/23
- Lynx Lake, Arizona – Great RV Camping Near Prescott! 05/17/23
- How to Fix a Car or Truck Key Fob in Minutes! 05/04/23
- RV Keyless Entry Door Lock Problems? Try this quick fix! 04/28/23
- Fossil Creek Waterfall – A Pretty Hike to a Scenic Cascade 04/14/23
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We enjoy Lost Dutchman Park as well. My brother used to Winter in Apache Junction so was always a good stop to see him. We also enjoy Cave Creek Park north of Phoenix. The town of Cave Creek is also a nice town to visit. We hope to head south in two weeks. We always enjoy your articles on this site as well as in Trailer Life
Thank you for reading our articles both here and in Trailer Life, Dick. Apache Junction and Cave Creek are both fun towns, though changing fast, along with all of Phoenix. Maricopa County does a great job with all their Regional Parks (campgrounds), including Cave Creek and Lake Pleasant. The residents of Phoenix and its winter visitors are all very fortunate that the county built those parks way back when. Enjoy your time down south!
Wonderful pics, Em. I think Puppy Chow is taking over the RLT blog, slowly but surely. Soon, he will need his own section to keep up with his loyal followers. 😉
Thanks, Bob! Maybe he’ll have a special corner of the blog — “Puppy Chow’s Choice Morsels.”
A hobo and his dog. That’s too funny. Loved the post.
It was so classic… goin’ down the train tracks… 🙂
Always enjoy your wonderful pictures and narrative, Em & M! And especially when you’re in our back yard, enjoying the scenery, sights and sounds of the Valley of the Sun…
You probably have explored the area north of Roosevelt Lake, around Young and Pleasant Valley – beautiful country. If not, take a enjoyable wander, while you’re in the area.
Good to see you added a precious little friend to your family, as they are greatest of companions. Buddy needs company though, as one is not enough – based on our experience in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and now, Aryzona. We have two canine camperneros, and have had two (different, of course); for over 45 years. Unfortunately, their lives are much too short, for the amount of love and companionship, they give to their human caretakers But then, you have discovered that, haven’t you?
Again, always enjoyed seeing and reading about your adventures…..keep it up, both of you….from Bette & Glen, in Sun City, Aryzona
So good to hear from you, Bette & Glen. We’ve been thinking of you as we’ve been enjoying beautiful Arizona. We have driven halfway to Young but turned back when the road turned to dirt. We really want to explore it more. Not sure if this will be the year. We love leaving new discoveries for “next time,” especially since Arizona is on our itinerary most years.
Buddy is loving life. He’s a great little hiker and loves to play fetch. He has many adorable quirks. One is that he’s a late sleeper. We are early birds, but he likes to go back to bed after he does his morning business. Right now he’s back under the blankets getting a few extra winks while we go about our morning routine!!
Absolutely the best Traveling website there is on the internet. Always well described with great photos and information.
This is always my go to site for reading viewing and dreaming of when I can visit many wonderful places in America
I myself live in Calgary Canada and I was so happy to read about your trip going through Banff And Jasper
Thanks for sharing so much with us
Wow!! Brian, you have made my day and Mark’s too! We are just delighted to know our stories give you inspiration for your own future adventures. We LOVED the Canadian Rockies and will be going back for more. Not sure exactly when, but we know we just barely scratched the surface there. Thank YOU for reading and appreciating what we do, and have a blast when your day comes and you are out exploring the hinterlands of America and Canada yourself!!
Gorgeous sunrises/sunsets ! And, understandably, Buddy is becoming the star….
We were blessed with some great sunrises and sunsets during our stay, that’s for sure, and Buddy was a little trooper in the early morning hours and got up to see them with us!!
I finally got a chance to read this issue. Great photos and I felt warmer just seeing the photos of that beautiful desert state! Another great sunset photo, but those western skies are way too easy for those views!
We had a lot of warm weather here in sunny Phoenix for a long time this winter, but we got swept up in that huge cold snap that just swept the country this past week, so we’re back in long pants and jackets again and continuing our daily hunt for great sunrises and sunsets!!
Definitely one of our favorites too! We come here each year as we spend most of Jan – Mar somewhere in AZ (I have inlaws here). So much hiking to do, I love it!
Every time we visit Lost Dutchman we realize we’ve still hiked only a small part of it, even after exploring new trails… we’ve just gotta keep coming back!!!
You guys are the best. The pictures are so beautiful and makes me long to hit the road once again. Bought a large Class-A when I retired and got to take one long trip across the U.S. and then my wife had a major stroke. Praying someday we will get to travel some more, but for now your pictures and stories are such a blessing. Keep up the good work and we will continue to look forward to sharing your next exciting adventure.
Wow! I am so sorry you’re not able to travel at the moment, Danny, but have faith and I’m sure the opportunity will arise again. In the meantime, we are both really touched that our pics and stories brighten your day and give you inspiration. It’s a beautiful world out there, and we are very grateful we can bring you some of the highlights we see!