Superior Trails: Arnett Canyon Trail segment
|Arnett Creek is a key feature of the LOST system|
|Picketpost Mountain looms over the LOST|
|The new LOST trail segment connects with the AZT|
first hiked the Legends of Superior Trails, I had no clue how awesome they
are,” says Mila Besich, Mayor of the Town of Superior. “After the hike, I felt like crying but I
wasn’t sure if it was because of the overwhelming beauty or because I had gone
nearly nine miles,” Besich laughed.
|Hikers descend a steep section of the new Arnett Canyon Trl.|
Speaking at the March 24, 2019 inauguration of the new Legends of
Superior Trails (LOST) Arnett Canyon segment, Besich acknowledged the many individuals
and organizations that contributed to the planning and construction of the fresh-cut,
1.5-mile trail section that connects with the Arizona Trail at the Picketpost
Trailhead off U.S. 60.
|A steep, narrow section of the trail.|
|Arnett Creek flows through volcanic terrain.|
While leaders at
the Tonto National Forest, Resolution Copper, Arizona Trail Association and the
Town of Superior did the governmental and land management red-tape wrangling,
young American Conservation Experience workers did much of the shoveling and
sweating to build the singletrack path that can be hiked as a loop or a one-way
trek to the historic Pinal Townsite that’s part of the LOST system of
interpretive routes that explore the town’s history and mining heritage.
|Hikers in Arnett Canyon|
|Wildflowers grow among outcroppings of volcanic ash.|
the mountain-bound community sits in the heart of the mineral-rich Copper
Corridor just an hour east of Phoenix where mining is a core industry, Besich
is quick to point out that the area’s treasures extend beyond its ore.
|Mila Besich, Mayor of the Town of Superior in Arnett Can.|
not a mining town. We’re a town with a world-class mine,” she emphasized. Cognizant of the boom-and-bust nature of the
mining business, the town ranks its natural outdoor assets as being as
important as any commercial enterprise. The improvement and expansion of the LOST
hiking hub is part of the town’s diversification objectives to boost the
economy while staying true to their roots. “The project is a marathon,” Besich said.
“LOST is a start, and we envision Superior becoming home to the next best hiking destination in Arizona.” This ambitious goal
includes plans for a 110-mile stacked-loop trail system that will wind through
rugged back country and the Queen Creek-Arnett Creek watersheds south of town.
The project—which will use the LOST system as an anchor– is currently in the
planning and permitting process and if all goes well, construction could begin
in the next couple of years. In the
meantime, hikers can enjoy the many miles of outstanding existing trails in Superior.
at the crux of two of the state-traversing Arizona Trail’s most spectacular desert
passages that meet at the base of volcanic Picketpost Mountain, the newly
completed Arnett Canyon Trail segment is a segue to a landscape of amazing
biodiversity, history and complex geology.
|Globemallow bloom along the trails.|
The segment begins near the site host campsite with an uphill walk and views of the Superstition Wilderness. Other than a short section where the
trail descends steeply on a narrow, rocky ridge that’s not recommended for bike
or equestrian use, the hike is effortless.
|Hikers on the LOST loop approach the Picketpost TH|
Where the route brushes the flanks
of Picketpost Mountain, hikers might be inspired to climb to its 4375-foot summit
by way of a sketchy and difficult spur path off the Arizona Trail. At the 0.6-mile point, turn right and pass
through a gate to complete the 1.5-mile loop. Or, to extend the hike, continue
straight ahead into Arnett Canyon for a drop-dead-gorgeous, out-and-back creekside
trek smothered in greenery and pillars of petrified volcanic ash. It won’t take too many miles of hiking to
understand why Besich says this enchanting trail system is, “a dream come true”
and a key inspiration for the reimagination of a desert town.
|LOST is just the beginning of a planned hiking hub.|
|Volcanic rock formations in Arnett Canyon|
|Superstition Wilderness vistas seen from LOST|
ELEVATION: 2461 – 2342 feet
60 just before entering the Town of Superior between mileposts 221 and 222, turn right at the Picketpost Trailhead
sign and continue 1 mile to the parking area. Roads are paved and maintained
dirt suitable for all vehicles. There is a restroom at the trailhead. The trail
begins near the site host campsite.