There are crude X’s marking different spots where many have tried, and failed, to locate the intangible Lost Dutchman gold mine. The markers on different maps each tell stories of hikers in search of riches through the grooves, peaks and valleys of the Superstition Mountains. An arrow on a crumpled piece of paper points to where one treasure-hunter was killed in search of the mine. Another has dozens of X’s, each marking the transparent hope of finding treasure.
The map sits in a small, dimly-lit room in the Goldfield Ghost Town’s Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum, several miles away from the actual entrance to the Lost Dutchman State Park, where the treasure left by explorers long ago may lie.
The park is perched at the base of the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, about 40 miles east of the heart of the Valley. “People still try and find the hidden mine and treasure here,” says Diana Bishop, a ranger at Lost Dutchman State Park for 31 years. “They look, but it hasn’t been proven or disproven to this day.”
The area is dotted with ancient cliff dwellings and caves, many showing signs of former habitation. It’s uncertain who these people were. Some believe they were Salado or Hohokam Indians who populated this part of Arizona several centuries ago. Later, Pimas and Apaches occupied parts of the region.
The mountain range got its name because the Indian tribes would tell early settlers about going into the mountains, and the settlers found them to be very superstitious — thus the name “Superstition Mountains” was born, Bishop says.
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