As the Phoenix metro area gives way to cactus- and creosote-dotted desert, the massive escarpment of the Superstition Mountains heaves into view and slides by to the north. The Superstitions are supposedly where the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine is, the location—not to mention the existence—of which has been hotly debated since pioneer days.
Superstition Mountain Museum. The best place to learn about the "Dutchman" Jacob Waltz and the Lost Dutchman Mine is at Superstition Mountain Museum. Exhibits include a collection of mining tools, historical maps, and artifacts relating to the "gold" age of the Superstition Mountains. 4087 N. Apache Trail, AZ 188, 85219. 480/983–4888. www.superstitionmountainmuseum.org. $5. Daily 9–4.
Ghost Town. Goldfield became an instant town of about 4,000 residents after a gold strike in 1892; it dried up five years later when the gold mine flooded. Today the Goldfield Ghost Town is an interesting place to grab a cool drink, pan for gold, go for a mine tour, or take a desert Jeep ride or horseback tour of the area. The ghost town's shops are open daily 10–5, the saloon daily 11–9, and gunfights are held hourly noon–4 on weekends. 4650 N. Mammoth Mine Rd., 4 miles northeast of Apache Junction on AZ 188, Goldfield, 85219. 480/983–0333. www.goldfieldghosttown.com.