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Superstition Wilderness/Tonto National Forest

Saturday, March 25, 2023 - Saturday, April 1, 2023 -- $1575 ★★★

Just an hour East of Phoenix, in the Tonto National Forest, lies a magical desert called The Superstition Wilderness. The Supes known for many beautiful trails and iconic features such as the Weaver's Needle, LaBarge Box, Miner's Needle, Angel Basin and Supstition Mountain itself. We will hike through this iconic 160,000 acre wilderness to visit amazing places including the Weaver's Needle, La Barge Box and Angel Basin.

Our journey will begin at the Peralta Trailhead, elevation 2395'. After a long uphill climb, we'll spend our first night near the base of the Weaver's Needle. We'll then hike Northeast to reliable Charlebois (Charley Boy as they say in 'Murica) Spring and eventually on Angel Basin before heading out to Plow Saddle in a quieter part of the wilderness. Although the description doesn't really indicate it, this is a Fatpacking favorite destination.

Why not escape your frigid climate and hike a warm and wild section of the country to amazing places that cars cannot reach?

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Historical March weather averages in the mid-70s during the day and 30s-40s at night. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 90s and freezing temperatures at night. We even experienced freak snowstorms in 2006 & 2011 and 100 degrees in 2015 & 2017 so anything can happen. But overall, expect a warm respite from your end-of-winter blues.

Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Julie Quibodeaux
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


The hardest part about this trip happens when the desert is experiencing a dry year. When water is scarce, we may have to carry 8 liters of it in anticipation of not finding any for two days. We will keep tabs on water availability as the trip approaches, but water is more important than just about anything else we carry.


$1575 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Phoenix, AZ (PHX) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 1 front country campground night, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, campground fees, National Forest permits, and awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


The Superstition Wilderness is the site of the very first Fatpacking trip back in 2005. It is also the favorite destination of the company's founder even if it doesn't have the same name cachet as say, the Grand Canyon. Our hike through the Superstition Wilderness features incredible sweeping views of the Weaver's Needle and surrounding wilderness and is hopefully an experience you will treasure for a lifetime.

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Important Note
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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fly or drive into Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). The best time to arrive is between 9AM and Noon, but if you have everything in order and are "ready to go" for a 3PM departure, you can arrive later.

We will pick you up at the airport and will attempt to consolidate trips so please be patient as you may be waiting up to an hour or possibly more for pickup.

We will assemble at: Guide Deb's House, 12419 S Suki Ct Phoenix, AZ 85044

While you should have already had a virtual equipment shakedown with one of our staff pre-trip, we will go over a few items again to make sure you are prepared.

If necessary, we will take a quick trip to REI Tempe, 870 N 54th Street, Chandler, AZ, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Make your own trail mix bar

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Your spare bag(s) will be kept at the home of Fatpacking guide, Deb. Please keep these to a minimum if possible.

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Lost Dutchman State Park, 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119. Site(s): 108 & 109 Elevation: 2000'

Shuttling will take about 1.5 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Lost Dutchman State Park, 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119. Site(s): 108 & 109 Elevation: 2000'

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Second set of "before" body composition measurements taken

Shuttle about 0.5 hours to the Peralta Trailhead, elevation 2395'

There is no reliable water tonight. Begin by carrying 8 or more liters.

Start hiking the Bluff Spring Trail (#235), elevation 2395'

Hike 0.7 miles on the Bluff Spring Trail (#235) to an unnamed trail, elevation 2950'

Hike 2.5 steep uphill miles on an unnamed trail to Fremont Saddle, elevation 3754'. We will stop along the way to check out Geronimo Cave (elevation 3788') as well as an iconic viewpoint overlooking Weaver's Needle.

Hike about 1.0 downhill miles on the Peralta Trail (#102) to the shadow Weaver's Needle, elevation 3250'

Camp just south of the Weaver's Needle, about as close to it as we can camp in a flat spot

Miles today: 4.2 miles. Total to date: 4.2 miles

Possible Bailout: Peralta Trailhead

Monday, March 27, 2023

Hike about 0.5 downhill miles on the Peralta Trail (#102) to a trail intersection, elevation 3200'.

Hike about 1.0 miles on an unnamed trail to the Terrapin Trail (#234) elevation 3370’.

Hike about 1.9 miles on the Terrapin Trail (#234), turn right and hike 0.8 more miles to the Dutchmans Trail (#104), elevation 2650’.

Hike 1.8 miles on the Dutchmans Trail (#105) to Charlebois Spring elevation 2550’.

Camp near Charlebois Spring (water reliable), elevation 2550’.

Miles today: 6.1. Total Mileage: 10.3.

Possible bailouts: Peralta Trailhead.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

If it is a particularly dry year, we will obtain and carry 8 lites from La Barge Spring along today's path.

Hike about 4.7 miles on the Red Tanks Trail (#107) through both the lower and upper La Barge box to the remote and seldom used Hoolie Bacon Trail (#111), elevation 3250’

Hike about 3.4 miles on the Hoolie Bacon Trail (#111) up and over 3920' Horse Ridge back down to Cedar Canyon, elevation 3320’

There is usually water at Cedar Canyon, but not always in dry years

Camp in Cedar Canyon, elevation 3320’

Miles today: 8.1. Total Mileage: 18.4

Possible Bailout: Lost Dutchman State Park

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

If it's a dry year, fill up all your water vessels with 8+ liters of water.

Drink a FULL LITER (or 2) of water just before we leave camp.

Hike 1.1 miles to the JF Trail (#106), elevation 3410’.

Hike 5.2 gradual, all-day uphill miles on the JF Trail (#106) to the Rogers Canyon Trail (#110), elevation 4480'.

Hike 2.3 mostly downhill miles on the Rogers Canyon Trail (#110) to Angel Basin, elevation 3675'.

Camp at Angel Basin (water here except in dry years) with flat spots to camp and incredible sweeping views, elevation 3675’

Less than a half mile upstream are fairly easily accessible cave dwellings that we'll visit

Miles today: 8.6. Total Mileage: 27.0

Possible Bailout: Tortilla Trailhead

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Hike 5.5 miles on the Frog Tanks Trail (#112) to Plow Saddle Spring, elevation 4430'. The spring is reliable and beautiful

Hump lots of water 0.5 uphill miles to Plow Saddle, elevation 4800’

Camp at Plow Saddle, elevation 4800’

Miles today: 6.0. Total Mileage: 33.0

Possible Bailout: Reavis Trailhead one day away

Friday, March 31, 2023

Hike 6.2 primarily downhill miles on the Reavis Ranch Trail (#109) to the Reavis Trailhead, elevation 3760’

End of hiking

Miles today: 6.2. Total Mileage: 39.2

Possible Bailout: Reavis Trailhead

Shuttle back to Phoenix and check into local hotel

Shuttle back to local hotel: Metro Tempe Apartments, 2301 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ, 85282, (480) 331-3630.

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Take free airport shuttle or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber

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