Superior is 63 miles east of Phoenix on U.S. 60 at the
junction of state Highway 177. The town, in a mountainous setting
at an elevation of 2,882 feet, is surrounded by peaks such
as Iron Mountain at 6,056 feet.
In 1900, George Lobb laid out the town and called it Hastings.
Mines dotted the hills around the prosperous Pinal County community.
Stockholders in one of the successful silver mines lived
in Michigan and named their mine Lake Superior and Arizona.
This mine fed the area economy and the community changed its
name to Superior after this mine. The Magma Copper Company
was established in 1910 and ran the Silver Queen Mine which
became a great copper producer after its silver ran out. A
smelter was built in 1924 and remained in operation for 47
years. Superior was incorporated in 1976.
Major employment sectors in the Superior area include mining,
and trade and service. The community is improving its trade and
service sector in order to expand the income from tourism.
Agriculture is significant to the Pinal County economy. Ranching
is conducted in the surrounding areas.
The famous Apache Trail is north of Superior. This 98-mile trek
on Highway 88 provides more insight into the character of
Arizona than possibly any other section of road in the state.
Along the roadway, imposing saguaros, rugged mountains jut-ting
out of the desert, and four lakes created by dams on the
Salt River give the traveler a glimpse of Arizona’s beauty and
East of town on U.S. 60 are Queen Creek Bridge and Tunnel.
On the eastern side of Queen Creek Canyon is Apache Leap
Mountain, towering cliffs streaked with red, where Apaches are
supposed to have jumped rather than face the humiliation of
surrendering to U.S. troops. Magma Copper Company Mine, on
the edge of the town site, is the largest underground mine in the
state. Visitors can view the mine from the entrance six and one-half
miles east of town atop Apache Leap.
The Oak Flats campground east of Apache Leap Mountain provides
a great setting for campers, hikers, and rock climbers.
Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum, a four-minute drive
west of town on U.S. 60, is world famous for its collection of
more than 10,000 desert cacti, flowers, and trees set at the edge
of picturesque Picket Post Mountain.
Superior has identified three historic districts containing 11
houses. The Superior Historical Society opened the home of Bob
Jones (the sixth governor of Arizona) as a museum.