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.
Delicious food and friendly locals are also awaiting you. Here are six recommended things to do when you plan to spend your summer vacation in Gold Canyon, Arizona:
1. Trek across Superstition Wilderness: Tonto Forest
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Are you passionate about hiking? Don’t miss out on your chance for venturing into Superstition Mountain. It’s considered one of the best spots 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.
Address: 4467 S Kings Ranch Rd, Gold Canyon, AZ
Contact: +1 480-983-3992
Website: Hieroglyphic Trail
2. Cruise Canyon Lake
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!
Address: 16802 AZ-88, Tortilla Flat, AZ 85117
Price: from 15 USD (children) to 23 USD (adults)
Contact: +1 (480) 827-9144
Website: Dolly Steamboat
3. 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 this day trip, be sure to check that the weather is on your side!
Address: AZ 88, Arizona
4. Get goosebumps and chills at Goldfield Ghost Town
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 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
5. Go camping in Lost Dutchman State Park
The Lost Dutchman State Park near the town is another adventure you should consider embarking on. 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
6. Dive into Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace
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
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!
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