Photo: dougtone, Flickr

Lost Dutchman State Park

Famously named after a lost gold mine, the Lost Dutchman State Park, located 40 miles east of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, is a great place to escape to, especially for those looking for adventure and a chance to strike it rich.

According to legend, Jacob Waltz located a gold mine in the 1870s. He and a fellow comrade supposedly hid one or two caches of gold in the Superstition Mountains. In 1891, Waltz died and the location of the glorious gold mine died with him as well. Clues were left to where the location allegedly is, however, no one has been able to find the mine for the past hundred years.

The gold mine has drawn thousands of visitors that hope to get lucky. All searches end in disappointment and questions as to if Waltz really hid gold inside the mountains.

Besides the infamous, rumored gold mine, the park also offers a variety of trails that lead into both the Tonto National Forest and the Superstition Mountains. Visitors can hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of Flatiron. Those wanting a leisurely stroll through the park can walk along the Native Plant Trail and take in the desert scenery.

While camping or enjoying a picnic at one of the park’s facilities, one of the many native wildlife, including coyote, mule deer, jackrabbit and javelina are bound to be seen. With 72 campsites, the wide-open space is a great place to enjoy the natural wildlife and star gaze at night.

With a plethora of hiking and biking trails, nature walks and a chance to find gold, the Lost Dutchman State Park is a great place to visit for a few hours or even a few days, just don’t get lost trying to find the Lost Dutchman’s Mine.

For more information on the Lost Dutchman State Park, including driving directions and park fees, visit www.azstateparks.com.