Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The 8 mile out-and-back (about 4 1/2 hrs. with sightseeing) hike to the Rogers Canyon cliff dwellings (circa 1300), left by the Salado Indians, is well worth the effort. The building style is much different than what the Pueblo ancestors used in the Great Basin Desert north of here. This is an excellent, preserved upper and lower ruin site. Please take only pictures. Located in the surreal Superstition Wilderness east of Phoenix, it is a difficult trail to access, requiring a high clearance vehicle. I love the Sonoran Desert but please be on alert. The area is loaded with rattlesnakes. They are as scared of you as you are of them. They just want to be left alone. Another thing about the Sonoran: The soil is very abrasive for tires and shoes. Much of Arizona feels like glass pebbles. There is a good book for referencing the trail: "Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Wilderness", by Jack Carlson and Elizabeth Stewart. I used Hike #46. #47 is a longer hike option with easier vehicle access.
Superior, Az. is the closest town to the trail. Vehicle access is from Rt. 60 which runs east from Apache Junction, a Phoenix suburb, to Superior. At Queen Creek Rd. (about mile marker 215, Rt. 60) turn north for 1 1/2 miles to Hewitt Station Rd. (FS Rd. 357, but they change the number all the time). Go right on Hewitt Station 3 miles to FS172. Go left 10 miles on 172 to FS 172A. Go right 4 miles on 172A (4 WD) to Rogers Trough Trailhead. If you can't make it on 172A with your vehicle, stay on 172 to the Woodbury Trailhead, and a longer hike to the ruins.
From the Rogers Trough trail head, take Reavis Ranch Trail #109 for about 1 1/2 miles. At the junction with Rogers Canyon Trail #110, go left (#109 goes right). Easy enough, and it's a pretty canyon for 2 1/2 more miles to the ruin site.
Visit my website here.