Silly Mountain Park located off the U.S. 60 between the highway and the Superstition Mountain range near Apache Junction, Arizona is home to a modest mountain peak, assorted hiking trails, desert wildlife, and native plants.
There’s nothing silly about it (Sorry, I had to do it) Silly Mountain Park is a prime Phoenix East Valley recreational, educational and scenic destination for all ages and abilities. From the park entrance, trails, and summit, experience not-so-distant mountain views of the Superstition Mountains to the northeast and city views of Mesa, Apache Junction, and Greater Phoenix, AZ to the west. Hike the maintained, diverse degree-of-difficulty trails. Encounter and learn more about desert plant life. Also, opportunities to capture the perfect Instragramable photo for everything hashtag Arizona outdoors obtained at Silly Mountain Park in Apache Junction, AZ.
Silly Mountain Park Origins & History
By searching to obtain the history and origins of Silly Mountain, the discovery of some charming traveler and life blog sites occurred. Most sites pointed to a particular website about Apache Junction, AZ, in general. Which, then, in turn, referenced the source writer who, from what I can tell, originally wrote about Silly Mountain’s namesake.
Reference: Clay Thompson, “Mountain Road Not So Silly,” The Arizona Republic, Sunday, December 17, 2000, First Edition, page 58.
Silly Mountain Park’s humble beginnings started with the naming of a road near the mountain. In the early 1970s, a Pinal County Road Grader, Harry Cadwalader, lived along the gravel road with his family. The small street runs north and south and is west of the Silly Mountain peak and east of the U.S. 60 Superstition Freeway. He told his supervisor one day that he wanted to name the street and eventually granted the opportunity, calling it Silly Mountain Road. It’s unknown what he was referencing as silly, whether it was the road or mountain. Ultimately, the Silly name was attached to both the road and the mountain. At the time, Mr. Cadwalader and his family’s home was the second residence on the road. Harry died in 1985 and had lived on Silly Mountain Road for 13 years with his family.
Restoration, Preservation & Creation of Silly Mountain Park
The restoration and preservation of Silly Mountain, creating and transitioning it into Silly Mountain Park, a maintained recreational area with preserved natural desert vegetation, is the 2008 brainchild and collaboration of the Superstition Area Land Trust and Town of Apache Junction Arizona Parks and Recreation Department.
Before 2008, the Silly Mountain Park area was Arizona State Trust Land, allowing for off-road vehicle recreational use. After years of unchecked, repeated off-roading to the mountain and surrounding area, damaging tolls showed up on the face of Silly Mountain as well as the trails and desert vegetation. On the west-facing base to summit, a sizable eroded path of scarring dirt and scree visible from US 60, approximately a half-mile to the west. For those of us googling the word “scree”, here we are. “Scree is a mass of small loose stones that form or cover a slope on a mountain.” Unsafe eroded trails and depleted natural plant life called for thoughts of reinventing the area’s use and purpose.
In 2008, Superstition Area Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation formed in 1993 by concerned residents to preserve and protect AZ State Trust Lands that border Superstition Wilderness Areas southern slope, stepped up to help heal Silly Mountain’s wounds. Partnering with Apache Junction Parks and Rec, S.A.L.T was able to quickly and effectively accomplish the goal of recreating the space by fixing the mountain’s scree scar, building beautiful new hiking trails, and planting new regional grasses. With the generosity, donations, and support of volunteers, community organizations, and local Arizona businesses, the recovery to damaged areas at Silly Mountain was complete in a matter of a few weeks, which began the creation and a fresh start to the future of what’s known today as Silly Mountain Park.
Silly Mountain Park Hiking Trails
There are ten hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty from easy, moderate and difficult offered at Silly Mountain Park in Apache Junction, AZ. Hikers of every age and skill level can enjoy the park’s trails that showcase Arizona’s great outdoors, with a range of desert scenery from cactus to wildlife. Some trails even have silly-sounding themed names to coincide with their mountain’s namesake. Listed in alphabetical order.
- Brittle Brush Trail – 0.4 Miles, Easy
- Coyote Loop Trail – 0.1 Miles, Moderate
- Crest Trail – 0.3 Miles, Moderate
- High Point Trail – 150 Feet, Easy
- Huff & Puff Trail – 0.2 Miles, Difficult. I think you get the picture. You might “Huff & Puff” hiking this trail.
- Jackrabbit Trail – 0.2 Miles, Moderate
- Old Baldy Trail – 0.2 Miles, Moderate. Not sure if Old Baldy is a person, place, thing, or what but also listed as a point of interest on the Silly Mountain Park map.
- Old Mine Trail – 0.3 Miles, Difficult
- Palo Verde Trail – 0.4 Miles, Easy. You may see Arizona’s state tree, Palo Verde, with its yellow blossoms and green bark spender, on this easy rated hike.
- Superstition View Trail – 0.7 miles, Easy. Superstition View Trail at Silly Mountain Park is how it sounds, leads to excellent views of the Superstition Mountains.
Several points of interest listed on Silly Mountain Park’s trail map are Superstition View Point, Grave, Old Mine, High Point, Silly Mountain Saddle, Sunset Saddle, Meditation Point, Kings Crown, and Old Baldy.
Silly Mountain Park Botanical Walk
Another vital element included in the restoration and creation of Silly Mountain Park is its Botanical Walk. A progressive one-third-mile, figure-eight designed trail, Silly Mountain Park Botanical Walk offers a crushed compacted granite paved, wheelchair-accessible pathway highlighting the botanical delights of the desert.
When the City of Apache Junction and Superstition Area Land and Trust (S.A.L.T.) joined forces in 2008 to restore and conserve Silly Mountain, there was also a dream to create a trail filled with plants native to the Sonoran desert to be experienced by all walks of life. Silly Mountain Park Botanical Walk achieved realization in October 2010. By combining the vision of the then Vice President of S.A.L.T. Don Wells, with the planting plans and designs by Apache Junction Parks and Recreation’s Superintendent and City of A.J. Landscape Architect, Nick Blake, the Botanical Walk project attained completion. Many other major supporting roles contributed to the success of the Silly Mountain Park Botanical Walk. Funding of a $35K grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, clearing and pathway work by Smiling Dog Landscapes, S.A.L.T Trail Builders Crew trail construction efforts, and water systems installation by the A.J. Parks and Rec Staff.
The Silly Mountain Park Botanical Walk is residence to and showcases approximately 35 species of over 280 plants indigenous to the region. Found along the walkway signs are posted to identify plantlife species bearing plant information and uses. Numerous local Arizona organizations and firms provided the Botanical Walk’s hardscapes and many of the plants.
Can I Get Silly at Silly Mountain Park?
The answer to the question “Can I Get Silly at Silly Mountain Park?” is, “Well, you can get silly but not with the help of alcohol beverages.” Sorry to those 21-and-over looking for a spot to crack open a cold one and get a little silly, Silly Mountain Park is not for that sort of silly. Per the City of Apache Junction Parks and Recreation Park Rules and Regulations, it is prohibited by law to possess and consume alcohol at Silly Mountain Park. Please note, there are no restrictions seen on doing a silly little dance, though. Just be sure not to disturb the peace or hinder on the quiet enjoyment of others with your dancing rendition of silliness.
Silly Mountain Park Hours, Parking & Info
Silly Mountain Park is open from Sunrise to Sunset, seven days a week. Parking is available along Silly Mountain Road at the Trailhead Entrance to the Park. The Park’s trails are open to hikers, non-exotic pets, horses, and mountain bikes. Before your visit or for further information regarding Silly Mountain Park’s rules, availability, closures, improvements, and the like, check out the City of Apache Junction’s website at www.ajcity.net.
Whether you’re an Arizona local, East Valley resident, an out-of-town visitor, or an AZ winter part-timer (Yes, you fine snowbirds you) looking for a new outdoor area to explore, Silly Mountain Park is a dynamic desert destination to discover. Pack ample water, sunscreen, and snacks. Load up the pets, kids, partners, family, friends, and head to Silly Mountain Park for your next Apache Junction, Arizona adventure. A silly hat isn’t required, but hey, why not? It’s a Silly Mountain, after all!
Silly Mountain Park Trailhead
3565 S Silly Mountain Road
Apache Junction, Arizona 85119