4.6 miles out & back
5 out of 10
4.6 miles out & back
5 out of 10
One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Superstition Mountains is the Fremont Saddle via the Peralta Trail. Located within the Tonto National Forest, Fremont Saddle offers a spectacular view of Weaver’s Needle, the Peralta Canyon, and much of the Superstition Wilderness.
When describing a hike, there are several adjectives that you might use as a description. Our hikes, so far, have been tough, long, beautiful, and challenging (see our guide for Flatiron). This hike was fun! The distance was short enough and the elevation gain was spread out enough that it was truly a fun trail to hike.
Reed, my son, and I took advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in February to hike this heavily trafficked trail. The weather couldn’t have been any better for us. We took a ton of beautiful photos, met some really great people, and had a blast taking in the views of the unique rock formations.
How long of a hike is Peralta Trail?
Peralta Trail, from start to finish, is 12.4 miles. However, from the Peralta Trailhead to Fremont Saddle is 4.6 miles – in an out and back formation (2.3 miles to Fremont Saddle and another 2.3 back down).
The drive to reach the Peralta trail is also quite easy, compared to other trails we’ve hiked (read our review of Quartz Peak – The drive up was more difficult than the hike). If you have driven to many “hard to reach” trails in the valley, you know that dirt roads are a big part of the experience. If you’re driving in from Apache Junction, you’ll turn left on Peralta Road in Gold Canyon. Peralta Road is a dirt road which leads to the parking lot and eventually the trail head.
How difficult is the Peralta Trail?
The Peralta Trail to Fremont Saddle is a moderately difficult trail. We rate this trail as 5/10 in difficulty for its distance and for the 1,300+ elevation gain in just under 2.3 miles up to Fremont Saddle.
While there is a steady climb involved with this hike, the first half of the trail offers several shaded areas with large boulders that are great for leaning and resting. Though there is a fair bit of shade, you’ll still want to bring plenty of sunscreen and water.
Can you see Weaver’s Needle from the road?
The beauty of Weaver’s Needle is that it’s only visible as a hiker. Once you make it to the saddle, you’re immediately rewarded with the rock column that peaks at 4555’.
If you want to see more of Weaver’s Peak there are several trails that lead up to the area, including Weaver’s Needle Loop which is a 12.7 mile trail that fully loops round the Needle.
Reed and I signed the logbook at 1:33 pm to start our hike. We set out immediately after signing the logbook to explore the Peralta Trail, which we quickly learned was beautiful and full of fun. There is a significant amount of greenery along this trail relative to the rest of the trails that we have hiked in the Valley.
Not knowing much about this trail before we started, we were surprised to see a small stream of water at the 0.3 mile mark. There wasn’t a lot of water present at the time, and we actually heard the water trickling before we saw it. The water was cool to the touch, but I didn’t have my LifeStraw with me to give it a taste.
The next mile or so of this hike is tremendously beautiful and unique. There are several really large boulders in the middle of the pathway of the trail. There are also several areas with overgrown plants that provide a much needed shade.
The trail difficulty increases minimally around the 1.3 mile mark. The incline steadies and the gravel becomes a little tougher to maintain your grip. Depending on the time of the day, however, you may still be able to maintain shade from the mountain.
Peralta Trail offers amazing views from start to finish. The unique rock structures are visible throughout the entire hike and really are interesting to look at. There are also large and unique rocks right on the trail. There are countless opportunities to take beautiful photos here so make sure your phone or camera is charged and ready to go before you get out on the trail.
We wrapped up the hike at 4:16 pm, so our time on the mountain was just under 3 hours. We spent nearly 25 minutes on the Saddle. You can get very creative with alternate routes once you make it to the saddle. We scrambled over some of the taller rocks to the left of the saddle entrance, but ultimately decided to head back down early since we had a long drive back to the west side of the valley.
While, in our opinion, this hike provides some of the better views in the valley, the views are only a part of the trail’s greatness. There’s a small cave that we spent a few minutes with in addition to the cool stream of water. The overgrown greenery, throughout the first half of the hike, provided adequate shade for us to take breathers when we needed. The oversized boulders also provided great shade areas.
This hike has a little bit of everything. We saw horses, lizards, spiders, birds and round-tailed ground squirrels. Arizona’s winter weather allowed us to truly enjoy this hike.
Whether it’s winter or summer, though, we hope to see you on the trail. Go Hike Arizona.