Fremont Saddle - Weavers Needle Overlook, Superstition Wilderness: Peralta Trailhead, Phoenix - Scottsdale - Mesa, Arizona
Fremont Saddle - Weavers Needle Overlook - 4.4 miles
Superstition Wilderness: Peralta Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.4 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,395' - 3,758' (3,758' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,363' net elevation gain (+1,396' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Fremont Saddle - Weavers Needle Overlook - 4.4 Miles Round-Trip
Fremont Saddle is located 2.2 miles up the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Wilderness. The saddle offers sensational views of Weavers Needle, a 4,553' spire that towers over the landscape.
The Superstition Mountains were born inside the core of an ancient caldera, the result of a series of major eruptions that occurred 15 - 25 M years ago.
Though subsequent geologic activity and erosion have obscured the caldera's appearance, evidence such as lava flow channels and columns remain today. The vertical outer walls of Peralta Canyon are remnants of the original caldera.
Weavers Needle is an erosional remnant of the area's complex and tumultuous volcanic past:
The trail begins at the mouth of Peralta Canyon and rises quickly on a rugged, heavily vegetated path. Oak and mesquite veil portions of the trail along the canyon's seasonally flowing creek.
Grades steepen past 1 mile (2,902') as brush recedes further from the main water source, a chance to examine columns of volcanic rock needles that top the canyon walls.
At 1.7 miles (3,428') you'll cross (right) over seasonal pools and resume a steep, shifting course through open rock and cacti gardens on the east side of the canyon.
Note the prevalence of agave and contrasting light and dark rock in the upper canyon.
Light rock on this section is welded tuff, a composite of hot volcanic ash and cinder that fell back to earth and lithified. The dark needles above are remnants of magma columns that solidified under ground and exposed through differential erosion.
The trail crests on Fremont Saddle (2.2 miles : 3,754') with dramatic views north of Weavers Needle, Boulder Canyon and a maze of washes, mesas, buttes and peaks that comprise the backcountry.
Social trails emanate from the saddle to additional view points, some requiring a moderate scramble. The Peralta Trail continues 4 miles north to the Dutchman Trail in Boulder Canyon.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N33 23.858 W111 20.873 — 0.0 miles : Peralta Trailhead
- N33 24.237 W111 20.951 — .5 miles : Moderate climb through heavy brush
- N33 24.475 W111 21.212 — 1.0 miles : Grade steepens on rugged path
- N33 24.700 W111 21.521 — 1.5 miles : (3,243')
- N33 24.815 W111 21.659 — 1.7 miles : Cross (right) over seasonal pools
- N33 24.903 W111 21.746 — 2.0 miles : Open light rock surface in upper canyon
- N33 24.944 W111 21.889 — 2.2 miles : Fremont Saddle (3,758')
- What are all those tall stalks in the upper canyon? Parry Agave is variously referred to as the Century Plant. Century Plants bloom only once in their lives, sometime between 10-30 years. It begins with a thick, asparagus-like stalk that can grow 8" a day and reach over 10' in just two weeks. This process drains the plant of all its resources, killing it in the process. The seeded stalk dies too, but with a full stock of seeds that are re-distributed by wind and wildlife.
- The Peralta Trail sees heavy use, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds. Crowds typically thin north of Fremont Saddle
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Dispersed camping is permitted in the Superstition Wilderness. No fee or permit is required.
- Fires are not permitted along the Peralta Trail, and in most locations on the west side of the wilderness area.
- Camp only in established sites, which are not marked but intuitively found right along the trail, usually near a water source.
- Water is seasonally available along the trail, but always plan on carrying all of your own water. Treat all natural water sources before consumption. Note that Water Reports are usually posted at the trailhead, but may not be current.
- Contact the Mesa Ranger District (408.610.3300) for current trail information and potential restrictions before heading out.
- Group size is limited to 15 individuals.
Rules and Regulations
- There is no day-use fee to enter the Superstition Wilderness from this location.
Directions to Trailhead
The Peralta Trailhead is located east of Mesa AZ in the Superstition Wilderness, 7.3 miles north of Highway 60 (Superstition Highway) on Peralta Road.
Exit Highway 60 just past mile marker 204 onto Peralta Road, and follow this up to the trailhead.
Note the road turns to groomed dirt .9 miles from the turnoff, but is suitable for 2WD cars. The road forks suddenly after 5.5 miles - keep left. You'll pass the Lost Goldmine Trailhead (6.9 miles) before reaching the Peralta Trailhead (7.3 miles).
Mesa Ranger District
5140 E. Ingram St.
Mesa, Arizona 85205
Monday-Friday: 8 am - noon | 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm