Make Superior your Arizona Trail pit stop!
We have all heard so much about the Appalachian Trail which starts in Georgia and ends in Maine on the eastern side of the US and the Pacific Crest Trail which traverses California to Canada on the western side.
What about the Arizona Trail?
The Arizona National Scenic Trail is a complete non-motorized path, stretching 800 diverse miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, history, communities and people. The Arizona Trail Association’s mission is to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the natural environment.
Arizona Trail History
The Arizona Trail was the dream of Dale Shewalter who envisioned a cross-state trail in the 1970s, and in 1985, while he was working as a Flagstaff schoolteacher, walked from Nogales to the Utah state line to explore the feasibility of a trail traversing Arizona. Immediately thereafter, Dale began traveling around the state giving presentations on his vision of a trail connecting communities, mountains, canyons, deserts, forests, public lands, historic sites, various trail systems, wilderness areas, and other points of interest. The idea was embraced by all types of trails users throughout Arizona, and by Arizona State Parks and the Kaibab, Coronado, Coconino, and Tonto National Forests, the Bureau of Land Management, and National Parks Service.
Inventory work was needed on determining the existing trails that could be interconnected to be designated as part of the Arizona Trail, and at the same time, where new trails would be needed to traverse Arizona’s diverse landscapes. In the late 1980’s, Dale was hired by the Kaibab National Forest to be the first paid coordinator for the Arizona Trail, and all agencies began establishing segments of the Arizona Trail.
Superior, a gateway community to the Arizona Trail
Set in an area with a rich mining history and cultural significance, the town of Superior sits between the impressive mass of Picketpost Mountain and the cliffs of Apache Leap.
Explore the Arizona Trail near Superior in the map below.
You will see there are multiple segments to hike and discover.
Click the pdf link below to view a high resolution image of the map above.
Located on mile 301.6 – Superior is 5 miles East on Hwy 60.
Superior sits above sea level at about half a mile at an elevation of 2,888 ft.
The Town of Superior's population was recorded at 3,319 during the most recent census.
Send out postcards and your snail mail from 25 N. High School Ave., 85173, (520) 689-5790
Get connected at the Superior Public Library (99 Kellner Ave.), (520) 689-2327
Restock your supplies so you can continue on your journey!
Save Money Market (420 W. Main St.), (520) 689-2265. Good selection of resupply items and fresh produce.
Family Dollar (580 W. US Highway 60), (520) 689-5480. Basic groceries and packaged dinners. No fresh produce.
Superior Farmer’s Market (798 W. US Highway 60), (520) 689-5845. Small convenience store with some fresh produce.
Bella's Marketplace and Cafe ( 203 Main St.) (203) 297.1182. Coffee, baked goods, unique local gifts and wonderful patio seating
Circle K on US Hwy 60
Fuel up with a delicious prepared meal at one of Superior's restaurants. For the most up to date list of places check out our food and drink page here.
Take a break from the trail for a night or more at one of Superior's lodging options. For the most recent list of best places to stay check out the lodging page here.
Be Yonder Haus-BeYonderHaus@gmail.com; 651-206-1605 (text preferred). MJ, the ‘Purple Angel’, provides shuttles to/from the trail and can help with supply runs too! Additionally, MJ offers trail users a spot to do laundry, shower, sleep, and enjoy a homecooked meal.
Cobre Valley Superior Clinic Emergency Room (1134 US-60), 24 hrs, (520) 689-2423
Boyce Thompson Arboretum (37615 E. Arboretum Way, Superior, Arizona 85173), (602) 827-3000 – Founded in the 1920’s, this is Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden. A great place to visit if you want to learn more about the many strange and wonderful plants of the world’s deserts. This location serves as a haven for trail users, with showers, camping, and package acceptance. Please call to confirm availability. For more information on BTA click here for their website.
Legends of Superior Trail (LOST) – The Legends of Superior Trail (LOST) connects the historic mining town of Superior with the Arizona Trail, 6 miles to the west. Along the way it passes through the high Sonoran Desert, the remains of the abandoned town of Pinal, and the riparian forest along Queen Creek, all while under the gaze of the majestic Picketpost Mountain to the south and Apache Leap to the east. For more information and maps of LOST click here.
World’s Smallest Museum (1111 W. US Hwy. 60) – Next to the Buckboard Café, discover what wonders await at the world’s smallest museum.
Queen Creek and Devil’s Canyon – Some of central Arizona’s greatest rock climbing can be found along the rhyolite cliffs near Superior. Devil’s Canyon is a world-class canyoneering destination, featuring Arizona’s largest natural plunge pools. For more info on the Queen Creek areas click here.
We hope you will end up exploring some of the Arizona Trail in and around the gateway town of Superior Arizona or maybe you will end up hiking the entire trail someday. Remember to recreate responsibly, the 10 essentials below and to not only pack it in but also pack it out.