It only takes about half an hour or so to get out to the Peralta Trailhead from central Mesa, but just after you get off the freeway, you’ll hit a dirt road and suddenly you’re in the middle of beautiful Nowhere.
Peralta Trail is a moderate-to-strenuous 12.4 mile round trip. The terrain and scenery change throughout the hike, from easier to more difficult, as you move through the trees, over rocks, around cacti, and past a creek.
Once you make it just over 6 miles in, you have the choice of turning back the way you came or scooting over to the Dutchman Trail to create a full loop back to where you started. I recommend coming back later to make the loop, as the view coming back down the trail, overlooking the Peralta Canyon, is gorgeous and just demands attention. Get the view from another angle on your next trip. You’ll be back.
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For more on Peralta Trail, visit ProTrails’ page on the hike.