Sports & Recreation

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Best Place to Access the Superstition Mountains If Lost Dutchman Park Closes (Or Even If It Doesn't) Phoenix 2010 - First Water Trailhead

Lovers of the outdoors pooled their money this year to keep Lost Dutchman State Park open after severe budget cuts by the Legislature. After $26,000 was raised from private sources, officials announced the park — a major gateway to the East Valley's Superstition Mountains — would remain open. But there's no assurance the state will fix its financial problems next year. Whether open or closed, however, if you want to hike in the Supes, you can skip the park altogether and drive to the nearby First Water Trailhead. The access road, FS78, is just 0.3 miles past the turnoff for Lost Dutchman off State Route 88; the trailhead is about two miles down the dirt road. From there, you'll find a wide variety of trails to hike — including those that are accessible from Lost Dutchman, like the popular Siphon Draw trail. Best of all, the parking is free, while Lost Dutchman costs $7 per vehicle. Some websites state that a $6 Tonto Pass or other fees are required to park at First Water. The Forest Service assures us that's not the case for day hikers. The catch: Get there early before those free spots fill up.
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