Superior, Arizona: The next town you have to ‘discover’
Some towns carve out unique spaces for themselves as a true mountain destination. They have just the right vibe as you walk down the street, the perfect trails that you can easily find and enjoy on foot or on bike, and food so special that certain dishes will forever remind you of your time there. It takes history, the great outdoors, and intentionality on the part of the community to create a place that sticks out like this. And we just found a new one: Superior, Arizona.
This story was created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.
In fact, Superior did actually carve this space out for themselves, as the town was born of silver mining. Its people have since filled it with creativity, activity, and overflowing gardens. Where the desert landscape of Arizona meets its rugged mountains, you’ll find peaceful trails to hike, dramatic rock walls to climb, and dirt routes to cruise on your bike. Located just far enough away from (and just close enough to) city centers like Phoenix and Tucson and plenty of state parks, Superior is within reach and waiting for you to discover it.
Part of the joy of going for a hike in a new place is that uncertainty about what’s around the next corner and the decision to hike just a little further before turning around. With trail names like the LOST (Legends of Superior Trail), Picketpost Mountain, and Montana Mountain Loop, you’ll find that rejuvenating thrill amongst pine-tree forests, waterfalls, saguaro cacti, wildflowers, rivers, and more. The variety of hikes means you can mix up your experience every day you’re in Superior, and you can pick and choose the best fit based on your skill or energy level.
… or Stroll
To take the options a step farther, take Highway 60 toward the Picketpost Mountain and find yourself in an oasis of plants from the Sonoran Desert as well as deserts around the world. Both the largest and the oldest botanical garden in Arizona, Boyce Thompson Arboretum covers 392 acres of bountiful beauty—perfect for a long stroll.
What better place to call home-base on your adventure-cation than the starting point on a 41.5-mile mountain biking loop? Even better, much of the riding in Superior is on the beloved Arizona Trail, and we’ve been told by the experts on MTBProject that this area holds some of the absolute best the Arizona Trail has to offer.
Towering spires and endless boulder projects adorn Queen Creek like the crown it deserves. Rock climbers will find a lifetime of routes and projects here—without the crowds. The nearby Oak Flat campground and Tonto National Forest provide easy access for the camp-climb lifestyle, and with Superior just four miles away, it’s easy to buzz into town for supplies or to share beta over a beer and burger.
Off-roading and Jeep tours promise to keep the stoke high while you rest your tired limbs from all the hiking, biking, and climbing. Opt for a Jeep tour with a local tour company to see the sights and learn about Superior. Or head out on your own over the 35 miles of dramatic landscape on the Montana Mountain Loop.
Dine and Crash
The keystone to a stay in an adventurous mountain town is the pre- and post-fun menu. On one of the most beautiful main streets you’ll ever stand on, you’ll find locally owned restaurants, a wine tasting room, murals, markets and more—all within a stone’s throw. Your taste buds and jelly legs will be thrilled with all the walkable options.
When the time comes to rest your delightfully exhausted head on a pillow, a historic hotel, campgrounds, a retro motel, a bed and breakfast, and more are ready to host your sweet dreams of what the next day’s elevated adventure will bring.
Casey A. Traveler, writer, editor