Pinal County: Superior

Superior sits at the crossroads of Arizona’s history. In the early 1870s, legend has it that 75 Apache Indians (probably actually Yavapai Indians, who were then called Mohave-Apaches) leaped off of Picket Post Butte rather than surrender to the U.S. cavalry. The cliff has been known as Apache Leap ever since and the small, shiny pieces of obsidian found in the area are called Apache Tears. The town, at the western edge of the Pinal Mountains, was once called the “Mayberry of the Southwest” by Sunset Magazine because of the friendliness and “niceness” of its people.

It has an astonishing mining history as reflected in its position as a gateway to the Copper Corridor and much for the visitor to see and do. It’s an ideal place to create your own adventure with its multitude of hiking trails and outdoor activities.

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum, founded in 1924 by Magma Copper’s first president, is the oldest and largest botanical garden in Arizona, with over 6,000 plant species, and a sanctuary for over 150 species of birds and wildlife in a 323-acre setting with multiple trails. It’s on Highway 60, along Queen Creek. 

The Bob Jones Museum houses the Superior Historical Society in the home of Arizona’s sixth governor. The Historic Magma Hotel, a frequent movie location built in 1912 and fully restored to boutique elegance in 2019, offers rooms and tours. A must-see in Superior is the Highway 60 Caboose Park and Superior History Trail, featuring the Ore Cart Trail exhibit, play areas, a dog park, mining equipment displays and the Red Caboose Visitor Center.

Bucket List

  • Boyce Thompson Arboretum
  • Bob Jones Museum
  • The Caboose Park & Superior History Trail
  • The Magma Hotel Complex
  • The Pinal Cemetery
  • Legends of Superior Trails