Lost Dutchman State Park events through Jan. 1

The Superstition Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction. (Courtesy of Arizona State Parks Department)

The following events and activities are planned at Lost Dutchman Park, 6109 N. Apache Trail. Park entrance fee is $7 per vehicle (one to four adults) and $3 per individual or bicycle. Call 480-982-4485 for more information. The website is https://azstateparks.com/lost-dutchman:

•Geology Hike: 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Dec. 20, learn about the rocks along the trail. Following the Siphon Draw Trail to Jacobs Crosscut Trail will lead to the most westerly portion of the Superstition Mountain range and at the rock formation created millions of years ago by a volcanic eruption. Volunteer hiking leader Jim will share information about the Superstitions geology on this easy 2.5 mile round trip hike with approximately 250 feet elevation gain. Wear appropriate hiking shoes and carry at least two bottles of water. Meet at Siphon Draw Trailhead.

•Bird Walk: 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, join volunteer birder Vera for a morning of discovering the birds of the desert. Learn how to identify the birds in the back yard, the proper use of binoculars, where to find birds in the area and then take a guided walk through the desert to practice new skills. Bring binoculars, appropriate clothing, water and enthusiasm, but no dogs or small children. Meet at the Native Plant Trail parking area on the right before reaching the ranger station for orientation.

•Exploring Siphon Draw Trail: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 27, join at Siphon Draw Trailhead for a 4.2 round trip hike to the basin (slick rock waterfall area). Along the way participants will pass some remnants of an unsuccessful mining attempt, identify strangely named rock formations and look at layers of rock from the volcanic explosion that make up this portion of the Superstition Mountain. Elevation change – 1030 feet. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, carry at least two bottles of water and bring a snack for a three-hour moderately strenuous hike. Led by volunteer hiking leader Grady. Meet at Siphon Draw Trail.

•Brown Bag Series: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29, become a wildlife detective and learn to read the evidence left by desert animals. Whose prints are those? What about that scat? Where were they going? What were they doing? Join in learning the basics of reading the signs left behind. Presented by Ranger April at Palo Verde Ramada.

•Full Moon Hike: 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, a guided 2.5-mile night hike on Jacob’s Crosscut Trail at the base of the mysterious Superstition Mountains. Hikers should dress appropriately and wear trail shoes or boots. Bring a flashlight in case of cloudy conditions. (No headlamps). Some parts of the trail are rocky and uneven with occasional steep grades (elevation gain: 120 feet). Participants should be in good health with no walking or night vision difficulties. Trail is not suitable for strollers or walkers. After the hike, come and gather ‘round the campfire to roast marshmallows (marshmallows and sticks provided). No pets. Limit is 100 hikers; call 480-982-4485 in advance to reserve a space.

•First Day Hikes: Two 9-11:30 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1. Either choose a 9 a.m. short hike around Treasure Loop Trail (2.4 miles) beginning at Cholla; or a longer hike from Saguaro to Green Boulder then down Prospector, across Jacobs Cross Cut and back to Saguaro (about 3.5 miles). Want to start your day a little later? Join at 2 p.m. for a hike around Treasure Loop, beginning at Cholla. No pets. Call in advance at 480-982-4485 to reserve a space.

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