12 Best Things To Do In Gold Canyon, Arizona - Updated 2022


Gold Canyon in southern Arizona offers a varied landscape of golden sands and a sea of cacti — it’s no wonder the phenomenal 1994 Blind Justice was filmed here! The home of Jay Winters truly captivates people for trail experiences, or simply enjoying the solitude of mountain wilderness, and golf lessons. In addition, the Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace are events you should definitely not miss. You’ll definitely find plenty of activities in and near Gold Canyon.

Delicious food and friendly locals also await. Don’t wait any longer, book a stay at the top Airbnb vacation rentals and start planning your trip. Here are some recommended things to do in Gold Canyon, Arizona, for your summer vacation!

1. Book a tee time at Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course at Gold Canyon Golf Resort

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Play Dinosaur Mountain! Book your tee times today: https://www.gcgr.com/golf/online-tee-times #480-982-9090 gcgr.com...

Posted by Gold Canyon Golf Resort & Spa on Thursday, June 10, 2021

Where better to play golf than the bountiful vistas of Gold Canyon? For any tee time needs while in town, check out Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course. Located within the Gold Canyon Golf Resort, this 18-hole championship course is rated as one of the best in the state. The unique location of the golf course, with elevations and slops, allows for challenges that will test your skills. Come book an afternoon game here and be surrounded by Arizona’s best landscapes as you perfect those strides.

Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course at Gold Canyon Golf Resort

Address: 6100 S Kings Ranch Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, United States

Website: Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course at Gold Canyon Golf Resort

Opening hours: 6am - 6:30pm (daily)

2. Hike and appreciate the landscapes at Dinosaur Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you want to take time for yourself or have a little adventure with your family, one of the best places to visit around Gold Canyon is Dinosaur Park. It was named after the nearby Gold Canyon Dinosaur Mountain. This park offers family-friendly amenities like picnic pavilions, walking paths, hiking trails, and a playground for the kids. Having fun on vacation doesn’t have to be all about spending money on lavish places, sometimes it just takes a quiet afternoon at the park with all your loved ones.

Dinosaur Park

Address: 5639 S Alameda Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

3. Check out the iconic Apacheland Movie Ranch

Apacheland Movie Ranch in Arizona
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Doug Kerr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Witness a piece of Hollywood’s history and make your way to Apacheland Movie Ranch in Gold Canyon. This former movie ranch (and now a historical landmark) was the setting for quite a few Western films that’s taken the movie industry by surprise. Some of the most notable productions shot here were Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1957, which starred Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, and the TV show Have Gun, Will Travel. The ranch stopped production in 2004, following a fire. Two of the surviving structures, The Elvis Chapel and the Apacheland Barn, were moved to Superstition Mountain Museum as donations.

Apacheland Movie Ranch

Address: 4369 S Kings Ranch Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, United States

4. Dine and unwind at Wahoo's Restaurant & Bar

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Wahoo's Restaurant and Bar on Saturday, October 5, 2019

Do you need a place to unwind and have a chat with your friends at the end of the day? There’s not a better place than Wahoo’s Restaurant & Bar on East Topaz Drive. This casual eatery serves classic American fare in a pub setting and takes pride in providing the diners with only the freshest ingredients. There’s live entertainment to keep you on your toes. Their Daily Specials include Taco Salad, Chef’s Choice, One Topping 10” Pizza, and Drink Specials.

Wahoo's Restaurant & Bar

Address: 8654 E Topaz Dr, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, United States

Website: Wahoo’s Restaurant & Bar

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 12pm - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

5. Hike the scenic trail of the Wave Cave

Can’t get enough of Gold Canyon’s breathtaking landscapes? One of the best spots for a nature trip is the Wave Cave. This popular hiking area runs for 3 miles (5 kilometers) and is filled with wildflowers. The trail is considered moderate to heavy and is best visited from September to April, with the best time being early morning since the weather gets significantly hot come midday. Dogs on leash are allowed at the site too. Take note of the steep climb towards the end, and don’t forget to snap photos at the mighty cave!

Wave Cave

Address: CJ2F+M4, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118, United States

Website: Wave Cave

6. Get your souvenirs from Mother Lode Mercantile

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Mother Lode Mercantile on Friday, April 17, 2015

Don’t end your trip to Gold Canyon without paying a visit to Mother Load Mercantile. This gift shop and general store is situated in Apache Junction’s Goldfield Ghost Town. There’s also a brewery and a blacksmith on-site. The store is best known for its delectable homemade fudge, with some of the signature creations being the Prickly Pear fudge made from prickly pear cactus fruit and the Gold Nugget fudge. Find a treasure to take home with you right here at the iconic Mother Lode Mercantile.

Mother Lode Mercantile

Address: 4650 N Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119, United States

Website: Mother Lode Mercantile

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

7. Trek across Superstition Wilderness: Tonto Forest

Superstition Mountains
Source: Photo by user lydia_pirate used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Are you passionate about hiking? Don’t miss out on your chance to venturing into Superstition Mountain, one of the best Gold Canyon events for sure. It’s a great spot for hiking, photography, and exploring the wilderness in America. There are two accessible trails: the Hieroglyphic Trail and the new Lost Goldmine Trail linked to the beautiful Peralta Trail. Trekking along the Hieroglyphic Trail is recommended for those who are looking for a short, yet exciting hiking experience.

The sprawling view of the East Valley and the hieroglyphics make the climb worth it — just remember to keep your companions close during hiking as it’s dangerous to go hiking alone unless you have ample experience.

Hieroglyphic Trail

Address: 4467 S Kings Ranch Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ

Contact: +1 480-983-3992

Website: Hieroglyphic Trail

8. Cruise Canyon Lake (from USD 135.0)

Lying 15 miles (24 km) north of the Apache Trail is Canyon Lake. The panoramic view of the Salt River is stunning amidst the golden rays of the setting sun. Take in the entirety of the ambiance by rowing your own boat out onto the serene lake, or you can take part in a variety of water activities — skiing and swimming are just a few to mention.

The best recreational sites to chill out in are Boulder Creek, the Acacia picnic grounds, and the Palo Verde. Dolly Steamboat is another attraction to witness Arizona’s wilderness and desert wildlife first-hand, not to mention the delicious dinner and spectacular view from the boat! In case you don’t know what to do in Gold Canyon, AZ, this place will not disappoint!

Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat Tour

Duration: 8 hours

69 reviews

9. Drive along Apache Trail and enjoy the trip (from USD 159.0)

things to do in gold canyon arizona | drive along apache trail and enjoy the trip

Seeing a canyon view loaded with cacti, wildflowers, and geologic formations would be the greatest getaway for an authentic Gold Canyon experience. To make your dream come true, take a road trip along the Apache Trail, Arizona’s oldest highway. It’s a great opportunity to admire Arizona’s scenic views, as well as some incredible sights such as the Goldfield Ghost Town, Tortilla Flat, and Lost Dutchman State Park. It should take about 2 to 7 hours, depending on how well-planned your route is and how many pit-stops you make. Before embarking on

Apache Trail Full Day Small Group Tour

Duration: 8 hour

8 reviews

10. Get goosebumps and chills at Goldfield Ghost Town

Goldfield Ghost Town 01
Source: Photo by user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you plan to discover the Gold Canyon in a different way, then the Goldfield Ghost Town is the answer. This abandoned city has gained popularity, with its eerily empty grounds with fully functional houses and factories. There are several Instagrammable buildings for your horror themed photoshoot: the blacksmith shop, the boarding house, the saloons, a school house, brewery, and meat market. Another feature of this attraction near Gold Canyon is the Mystery Shack where you can witness various strange phenomenons on site.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Address: 4650 N Mammoth Mine Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119

Price: from 5 USD (children), 7 USD (seniors), 8 USD (adults)

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Contact: +1 480-983-0333

Website: Goldfield Ghost Town

11. Go camping in Lost Dutchman State Park

Spring in the Superstitions, Lost Dutchman State Park, March 2015 - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Z Glyph used under CC BY 3.0

The Lost Dutchman State Park near the town is another adventure you should consider embarking on. Camping here is one of the best Gold Canyon activities. The challenging trails connecting Superstition Wilderness are good for beginners — you can even visit in the spring time and set up your tent, only to see the bountiful wildflowers scattered over Superstition’s slope. Indulge in a raw experience with wildlife, where native jackrabbits, coyote, wild birds, and peccary fill your line of sight.

There are various picnic facilities and 70 campsites, so you can opt to stay in the park. Do be sure to reserve a campsite in advance!

Lost Dutchman State Park

Address: 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119

Price: from 5 USD (reservation fee), 25 USD (facility use fee)

Opening Hours: 7 am to 9 pm

Contact: +1 480-982-4485

12. Dive into Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace

The Arizona Renaissance Festival, Heraldry for Me. I have None - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris English used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Gold Canyon is not only popular for nature but also for an array of festivals; one such festival is the Arizona Renaissance Festival. The best time to enjoy this vibrant festival is between mid-February and the first of weeks of April, where the abundance of different events makes for a varied festival ground. Invite all of your family members to enjoy the entertaining outdoor circus and the mouth-watering day-long feast. For art enthusiasts, attending the medieval arts and crafts fair is a must!

Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace

Address: 2601 US-60, Gold Canyon, AZ 85118

Price: from 12 to 22 USD (Fry’s Food Stores), 13 to 23 USD (Online), 11 to 24 USD (Box Office)

Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Saturdays and Sundays, February to April)

Contact: +1 520-463-2600

Website: Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace

Go explore Gold Canyon

The natural beauty of the Gold Canyon is absolutely stunning — Superstition’s wilderness allows enthusiastic adventurers to trace the challenging trails, while the Dolly Steamboat is another way to refresh your weary body by delighting in the stunning Canyon Lake. It doesn’t just stop there, though the vibrancy of the Renaissance Festival is sure to add a pop of color to your getaway!

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Gold Canyon, Arizona

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Gold Canyon?

You won’t break a sweat finding Gold Canyon’s top attractions! Make sure that you visit Goldfield Ghost Town, Canyon Lake, the Wave Cave, and Apacheland Movie Ranch.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Gold Canyon?

Gold Canyon sure is a paradise for outdoor adventurers. Some of the best activities in town are driving along Apache Trail, trekking across the Superstition Wilderness, exploring Dinosaur Park, and camping at Lost Dutchman State Park.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Gold Canyon for families?

Fret not, Gold Canyon isn’t just about extreme adventures. Some of the family-friendly things to do here include attending the events at Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace, cruising Canyon Lake, tasting the homemade fudge at Mother Lode Mercantile, and having a picnic at Dinosaur Park.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I am Rofiq from East Java, Indonesia. I am passionate about exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new languages and cultures. I always do solo traveling and backpacking since they are...Read more

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