Amidst the serenity of the Sonoran Desert in Central Arizona lies Lost Dutchman State Park, which is a gem for RVers with beautiful Superstition Mountains views as the backdrop. At an elevation of 2,060 feet, the park stretches over 320 acres, featuring different desert vegetation at each altitude ranging from cacti to huge rolling bare cliffs at higher altitudes.
Located 40 miles from Phoenix, Lost Dutchman State Park is beaming with outdoor activities and serves as a popular getaway for RV explorers interested in sampling the beauty of the adjacent Tonto National Forest. Lost Dutchman is a must-visit for RVers, both for its hiking trails suitable for any skills level and for its invitingly beautiful landscaping.
Lost Dutchman offers an array of activities, including backpacking, cycling, hiking, and horseback riding. During your stay here, you can spot nocturnal desert wildlife, including mule deer, coyote, bobcats, foxes, and javelina. Birding enthusiasts will love the chance to spot hawks, owls, and hummingbirds. Gracing the Lost Dutchman scenery is a variety of desert flora such as giant saguaro, cholla, brittlebrush, prickly pear, and shrubs.
Another huge benefit to the park is the wonderful RV-friendly campground that is home to 138 sites, 68 of which have electric and water hookups. There are also group camping and cabins available for visitors arriving without an RV, so there is something for everyone. The Lost Dutchman State Park is open all year round, with January to mid-April being the peak season.
Lost Dutchman State Park is conveniently located off of Highway 88, within about an hour's drive from Phoenix. You shouldn't have any trouble driving along the majestic desert roads that lead into the park. Just a stone’s throw from Apache Junction, you will find that the one-way lane road leading to Lost Dutchman State Park is smooth, making it easily accessible by RV. Inside the park, the trails are wide and well-maintained.
Need to get some supplies before you reach the park? There are many places that you can stop in at along the way, including in Apache Junction (around five miles away), Gold Canyon (around 11.5 miles away), and Mesa (around 22 miles away). Phoenix is also only 40 miles away, so whatever you need, you will be able to find it here.
There are several parking lots dotted around the park. Depending on where you want to start your trek, you can either park your RV at the Cholla Day Use, Saguaro Day Use, or Siphon Draw parking lots. There is also an overflow parking lot if the park is especially busy. If you are camping, you can park your rig at the campsites. Once you park your RV, it'll be easy to access the large number of hiking and biking trails all over the park.
For RV campers looking for more amenities, you should consider staying at the Mesa/Apache Junction KOA. Located only 5.5 miles away from the park, the Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is also near the amazing 145-mile Apache Trail loop, where you can explore the history and gorgeous geography of this area, including ancient Indian Ruins and Western lore.
Featuring sites for RVs up to 70 feet in length, Mesa/Apache Junction KOA offers travelers the opportunity to enjoy full hookups, water and electric-only, pavillions, and deluxe sites. You will also be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers, water collection points, a pool, hot tub, laundromat, and a dump station. In the evening, take in some of the most wonderful sunsets you’ll ever see, and off-road jeep tours, rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking are all nearby in state and regional parks.
Reservations are recommended in order to guarantee that you will have a site waiting for you. The Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is open all year round.
Lost Dutchman Park boasts 134 campsites housed in seven loops to accommodate RVs, trailers, and tents. Open all year round, the campground consists of dry campsites, 68 electric hookup sites, and overflow sites.
Some of the amenities available in Lost Dutchman State Park Campground include a dump station and two shower and restroom buildings, so you will be able to enjoy some luxuries. Each campsite is also equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and a grill, so if you want to cook up a storm, you will be able to without having to leave your campsite! Pets are allowed on camping grounds provided they are on a leash, so feel free to bring your furry friend. Reservations can be made from one day up to one year in advance.
Trailers and RVs up to 140 feet in length can be accommodated. The cell signal is fairly good, but there is no Wi-Fi connectivity. Generator use is allowed from 8.00 AM to 9.00 PM. If you want to enjoy your RV vacation without distraction, remember to bring noise-canceling headphones with you. Beware, there are notorious mice and desert rats, so remember to take the necessary precautions to deter them, such as leaving lights on around your RV.
If you are considering staying at the park and you don't have a reservation, it will be difficult to stay here during the peak season since it is a popular campground. Your best bet is to visit during the off-season, but during this time, the weather will be on the warmer side.
If any sites aren't marked for a reservation, you are welcome to use them on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground check-in area is open until 7:00 PM, but if you arrive after this time, you can set up at a site and pay your fees in the morning.
For tent campers, it should be noted that there are no tent-only camping areas in the camping area within Lost Dutchman State Park. All of the sites that are suitable for RVs can also be used for tents, so you won't have to worry about missing out on a site. If you want to stay in a tent-only camping area, there is the Road Runner Group Area, which is the only camping area where RVs aren't allowed to stay.
Visiting Lost Dutchman State Park with a group? If so, you will be pleased to know that there are two group camping areas that are open all year round. The main group-use camping area is suitable for RVs with no size restrictions, but it can also be used by tent campers. It is suitable for 35 RVs or up to 50 cars, so there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy.
There are no powered sites or restrooms in the main group camping area, but there are restrooms within a short walking distance. There is also a ramada with multiple picnic tables, fire grills, fire pits, a water collection point, and an electrical outlet.
There is also another smaller group camping area known as the Road Runner Group Area that can only be used by tent campers. Included in the area is a smaller ramada that has the same amenities as the main group camping area.
If you want to get out of the RV for a few nights during your visit Lost Dutchman State Park, there are five cabins available that you are welcome to call home. All five of the cabins feature enough room to sleep six people and are equipped with two sets of bunk beds and a queen-sized bed. No linens are provided, so make sure you bring your own bedding supplies.
The cabins at the park are very modern and have two porches, heating, air-conditioning, table and chairs, and electricity. Outside you will also have the opportunity to hang out at a picnic table that is also equipped with a grill. They are all also suitable for those with disabilities, and the bathhouses are a short walk away.
If you are want to stay at one of the cabins, make sure that you book a cabin prior to your arrival. Reservations can be made by calling the park or via the online reservation system.
With six hiking trails, Lost Dutchman has everyone’s hiking prowess covered. Since the area is very humid, you will need to pack a hat, sunscreen, plenty of water, snacks, and sunglasses. For beginners, you can choose the shorter and relatively easy quarter-mile Native Plant Trail or two-mile Treasure Loop Trail.
The most difficult, strenuous, and steep hikes of the Siphon Draw and Flatiron Trails are best suited for an experienced hiker. In addition, they are best done during the cooler months. Trekking poles, hiking essentials, and topographic maps will come in handy.
Whichever trail you choose, you will have a great time absorbing the amazing views of the Superstition Mountains. During spring, there is the spectacular blooming of the cacti plants. Most of the trails are dog-friendly and suitable for horseback riding.
The four-mile cycling trail around the campgrounds and picnic areas provides lovely views of the desert landscape. The single-track trail starting from the campground is classified as moderate. The best time to cycle is in the early morning or late evening because of Arizona’s scorching sun. At this time, birders can enjoy seeing a variety of birds while wildlife lovers will have fun viewing the desert animals. Additionally, the changing colors of the Superstition Mountains are quite a marvelous sight to look at and take photographs.
Over the years, Lost Dutchman State Park has excelled in bringing the park's atmosphere to life. Occasionally the park hosts recreational activities and special programs such as karaoke festivals, bird walks, full moon hikes, and live musical performances. Next time you are having your RV vacation, be on the lookout for scheduled activities during your stay. It is worth noting that some programs like 2.5-mile guided Full Moon Hike only allow a limited number of participants and require advance booking, so be sure to book before your arrival to the park if you are interested in this activity.
The park offers excellent picnic facilities for families, friends, and groups. Lost Dutchman State Park has 13 shaded shelter houses and three group ramadas named Saguaro, Cholla, and Palo Verde. All three ramadas are strategically placed to give guests great views of the Superstition Mountains.
Similar to campsites, group ramadas can be reserved up to one year in advance and require a non-refundable reservation fee. To qualify for advanced booking in the Cholla and Saguaro ramadas, you are required to have a minimum of 12 guests, while for Palo Verde ,the minimum number of guests is 20. Some amenities in the day-use ramadas include tables, electricity, fire pits, bbq grills, and drinking water.
Your first stop upon your arrival at Lost Dutchman State Park should be the Visitor Center. Here you can find all of the information necessary for your trip with maps, guides, and park staff readily available. The Visitor Center is also home to some small exhibits and features a souvenir store where you can purchase wildlife books and snacks. No matter what time of year you visit, make sure to check out this excellent park feature.
Lost Dutchman State Park offers some of the most beautiful starry skies in the entire country. There's nothing better than enjoying a summer night sky that is dazzling with planets and celestial objects. If you drive your RV here during the summer, you might be able to attend one of the park's Star Parties, where you gaze up at the skies above with high-tech telescopes. Remember to pack your telescope in your motorhome and check the park website before your arrival to see if any Star Parties will be happening during your visit.