At the foot of the Superstition Mountains, the Superstition Mountain Museum is a tourist trap in the middle of the Arizona desert that remembers the filming of a number of Western films as well as exploring the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s mine. Also, Elvis weddings.
Most of the old movie sets that once made up an extensive open-air museum known as “Apacheland” burned up in a fire in 2004, however two of the original buildings from the Apacheland attraction were moved to the Superstitions mountains site.
The Audie Murphy Apacheland Barn houses a number of horse-drawn buggies and carts used in the 17 television series, 29 full-length feature films, and hundreds of commercials filmed on the site. Scattered around the grounds are a few kitschy Old West scenes and full-size dioramas, complete with plenty creepy old mannequins. If you have a little change in your pocket, you can even try to toss a coin or two into the open mouth of the barber/dentist’s patient, posed with his plastic mouth wide open.
Just a stone’s throw away is the Elvis Chapel, a mini-museum and wedding chapel dedicated to “the King” and his unique western movie “Charro!” also filmed on site.
The museum devoted to the area itself is tucked behind the gift shop through an indoor iron gate and for a $5 fee you can go in and see a taxidermy display of native wildlife in action poses and a number of displays about life in the region.
Of special note are the crudely engraved local sandstone blocks. These are known as the Peralta Stones, widely believed to be key pieces in the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine. This legendary mine’s location has been unknown since the death of its most famous owner, a Dutchman who lived in the 1800’s. He allegedly stumbled on the mine, shot the owners, and died late in life after giving only a list of cryptic clues as to the location of his incredibly lucrative gold mine. Generations of searchers have scoured the Superstitions and several have died in the search, with at least five deaths confirmed over the past 150 years. The museum features several artifacts surrounding the Lost Dutchman legend, and is often visited by those brave and stubborn individuals who still launch searches into these lethal mountains.
Know Before You Go
It's not hard to find as long as you keep to the highway and follow the signs. The Museum has no paved parking, so the dirt turn off sneaks up on you. Come in the winter or early spring months as it gets very hot outside.