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Yuma, Arizona
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Gold Canyon, Arizona
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Camp Verde, Arizona
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Mesa, Arizona
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Camp Verde, Arizona

Spotlight: Gold Canyon

Mine vacation memories in a stellar destination

Ghost towns, gold mines, unsolved mysteries and an abundance of incredible desert golf courses are the main attractions in aptly named Gold Canyon, a small, laid-back community located on the eastern outskirts of Greater Phoenix. Visitors searching for a spot with great history, fantastic natural environments to explore and easy access to big city amenities will find Gold Canyon ideally situated in sunny central Arizona.

This is a popular destination for winter-weary northern snowbirds who annually flock to Gold Canyon in droves, nearly doubling its population of 10,000. It’s easy to see why. The town enjoys nearly 300 days of sunshine each year and sits on the doorstop of the scenic Superstition Mountains and massive Tonto National Forest, making it a picturesque and recreation-rich hotspot. Dramatic views and mesmerizing vistas extend in every direction. This is the perfect place to set up a tent or park the RV and go exploring.

Of course, in Gold Canyon, exploring is no new trend. Since the late 19th century, the town has been a popular spot for miners, pioneers and even tourists traveling along the Apache Trail. That attraction gained a big boost when Jacob Waltz (a German immigrant, known as the “Deutchman”) allegedly discovered a gold mine somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. The legend is that before he died in 1891, he only shared the location of the mine with one other person. Ever since, tourists and optimistic prospectors have been descending on Gold Canyon to try their hand at locating the legendary “Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.”

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Searching for Treasure

Today, Lost Dutchman State Park is the closest visitors will come to getting their hands on Waltz’s mysterious treasure. But the park is a treasure all its own. It makes for a great day trip or for a weekend getaway, and is brimming with well-maintained hiking trails, interpretive nature trails, campgrounds and picnic areas. In spring, visitors are treated to bursts of wild flowers that carpet the desert floor.

From the park, trails lead into Tonto National Forest, where well-preserved cliff dwellings from as early as the 13th century can be toured.

From Gold to Greens

Finally, there are the golf courses. If you’re a golfer, no exploration of Gold Canyon would be complete without a stop or two at one of the area’s renowned courses. Dinosaur Mountain and Sidewinder at Gold Canyon Golf Resort are among the most popular, featuring striking valley views and multi-level greens. Mountainbrook Golf Course, the Superstition Mountain Golf Community and the 9-hole course at Gold Canyon RV Ranch are also conveniently located and offer a nice variety of landscapes and difficulty levels. As golfing is among the region’s most popular activities, it’s best to call ahead to inquire about tee time availability and reservations.

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