While I may be a Texas native, I have been lucky enough to call Arizona home for quite some time. One of my favorite stories that I’ve learned since I moved to Arizona, is the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine.
If you’re from anywhere around the Phoenix area, you’re likely familiar with the tale. It is said that the Peralta family, hailing from northern Mexico, developed a gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. During the Peralta’s last journey to carry gold back to their homeland, they were attacked by Apaches, and all were killed except for 1 or 2 members of the family who fled back to Mexico.
Naturally, once news got out about this, it enticed adventurous souls to find the gold left behind by the Peralta family. One man named Jacob Waltz, whose nickname was the Dutchman, apparently located the mysterious mine, but he took his secret to the grave.
Since then, other people have lost their lives trying to find the gold. The Superstitions are unforgiving, and scorching summers, freezing winters, and steep cliffs add to the danger, as well as hikers not hydrating enough for such a strenuous climb.
In 1964, to promote safety, the federal government passed a law that prohibits prospecting and digging in the area that the gold is rumored to be located.
Whether the story is a myth or not, “Lost Dutchman” has become a trademark in Arizona, especially in the town of Apache Junction where the Superstitions are located. If you ever make a trip to this town, you will see how much pride the residents have. The famous Apache Junction rodeo is even titled Lost Dutchman Days!
If you’d like to plan a trip to sightsee near the Superstitions, click here.