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Richinbar Pueblo and Mine Ruins, AZPrint Full | Basic
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Description 8 Triplogs 3 Topics
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Mine
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Friends
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 Cordes
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
Difficulty 1.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 3.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,470 feet
Elevation Gain -197 feet
Accumulated Gain 523 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.47
Interest Ruins
Randal Schulhauser
Descriptions 71
Routes 97
Photos 9,251
Trips 946 map ( 8,429 miles )
Age 54
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
40  2012-09-08
 Badger Ruin - Richinbar R
 Hansenaz
10  2012-08-18 Hansenaz
15  2012-03-04 Bradshaws
20  2012-01-22 Randal Schulhaus
50  2010-11-16 azmuslima
27  2010-11-15 Charger55
20  2010-11-14 cabel
30  2009-12-20 Randal Schulhaus
Large Profile
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
NPS Agua Fria NM
Backpack - Possible - Not Popular
Seasons - Autumn to Spring
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
1.7  Sunset Point
2.0  Badger Springs to Silver Creek Outhouse
2.0  Agua Fria River via Badger
2.0  Badger Springs Trail
2.4  Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCT
4.3  Crown King Rd to Bumble Bee on BCT
[ View More! ]
Culture
     Grave - Unidentified
     Headframe
     Historical Photograph
     Mill
     Mine Shaft
     Windmill
Space

Prehistoric and Historic Ruins
by Randal Schulhauser

Mobile Version
History: President Bill Clinton created the Agua Fria National Monument in 2000 at the behest of his Secretary of the Interior, former Arizona Governor. Bruce Babbitt. For most people zipping along the Interstate, they're probably scratching their heads looking at the big empty spaces wondering why this area has been declared a National Monument. One answer to the "Why?" is "Abundant prehistoric and historic period ruins". This hike gives one the opportunity to experience both.

From about 1200 to the mid-1400's a thriving "mesa-canyon complex" culture inhabited the area leaving 400+ known archeological sites. The Perry Mesa Tradition featured "seven ancient cities" supported by a number of "satellite" settlements. Richinbar Pueblo represents one of these "satellite" settlements, featuring about 65 rooms, at least 2 rock art clusters, and countless pottery sherds .

After the Perry Mesa Tradition disappeared, Apaches and Yavapais hunted the mesas until they were supplanted during General Crook's campaigns in the 1870's (see Turret Peak hike description ). This opened the area to ranching and mining.

Original prospecting claims for Richinbar Mine were filed upon discovery in 1882, but it wasn't until 1896 that commercialization began in earnest. A post office opened that year with the name "Richenbar" - a derivative of Richard N. Barker, one of the mining camp's leading citizens.

A Prescott News article dated August 28, 1897 indicated that Richinbar had phones, electricity, plus daily stage service. As researchers Neal Du Shane and Pat Ryland have documented, this news article also tells of the death of one of the miners, Ed Barden. He was killed on August 21st, 1897 when he was getting out of the mine, had a heart attack, and fell off a ladder into the shaft just as some TNT detonated. "The body was interred on the hill above the mine".

A 20-stamp mill was added in 1906 and workings now featured the Zyke shaft (main shaft) at 500 feet deep that connects with several thousand feet of workings extending northward plus two more shafts accessing upper workings. The largest stope was on the 140 level at 65 feet long by 55 feet high and 14 feet wide. Employment at the mine grew to 35 workers by 1935.

A Big Bug News article dated March 10, 2009 contains an interview with a former Richinbar resident, Anita Wheeler Underwood who spent her teenage years in the mining community; "In 1936 the Wheelers packed up and left a comfortable home in Houston TX and moved to Richinbar AZ. Mr. Wheeler went to work at the mine and Nita and twin brother Bud spent their first fall through spring in Phoenix attending school. Shortly after returning to Richinbar that spring of '37 the mine shut down. Everyone left but us. The electricity shut off and since the water had to be pumped up from the river, there was no water either."

The Richinbar Mine slowly emerged from bankruptcy and re-opened in 1940 and continued operation by the Sterling Gold Mining Company until 1948.

Richinbar mining production as recorded for the period 1905 - 1948 by the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources;

Cumulative totals are:
Tons of ore 31,833
Pounds of copper 7,352
Pounds of lead6,947
Troy oz. of gold4,616
Troy oz. of silver1,425


Hike: Armed with a GPS track posted on the "Arizona Pioneer and Cemetery Research Project" by Neil Du Shane, we found ourselves at the FR9006 trail head just off the I-17 on a perfect December morning. Parking at the gate seems to be your only option as it is locked (rancher and forest service access only?). Squeeze between the gate and post and begin your hike along the dirt road.

The Bradshaw Mountains provide your backdrop to the west. In front of you lies our first hiking trail POI - the Richinbar windmill and corral. Continue on an easterly heading along FR9006 about 1 mile until the Agua Fria Canyon comes into view.

The dirt road will bend slightly right to the southeast and begin a gentle decent of about 100 feet. As the dirt road comes to a "T-intersection" near the lip of the Agua Fria Canyon, there are multiple pioneer graves on both sides of the road as reported by the "Arizona Pioneer and Cemetery Research Project" (see map).

We take the south fork of the dirt road and discover some historic period "sherds". Our first shaft is spotted on the west side of the dirt road in an area that appears to have been surface mined. With a reported shaft depth of 500 feet, our "tests" give us no reason to doubt that number.

A few feet further south, an isolated chimney points the route up a small hill top capped with an earthen water tank. This elevated water tank created the water pressure used in the mining operations.

From this high point, you can easily spot the stamp mill and Zyke main shaft head frame foundations lying to the northwest. You can easily picture the head frame location relative to the main shaft. Tailings are everywhere.

Mike and I contour down to the foundations and try to match each to the vintage photos we are carrying. Large stamp mill elements become clear to us. We're perplexed by the large number of trashed cans (gasoline? Kerosene?) we find littered about the site.

Having fully explored the central mining operations, we retrace our steps along the dirt road heading north towards the petroglyph site. These are easily spotted - just look for the elevated cluster of boulders. Deer and antelope seem to be the subjects for most of this rock art.

Next up is Richinbar Pueblo located on the high ground just west of the Richinbar townsite and slightly north of the central mining operations. There is much rock art surrounding the walled area of the pueblo. I suspect there is another ruins site nearby. I had 2 photos with me labeled "Richinbar Pueblo" taken on past Arizona Archeological Society field trips. One certainly matches up with the site we explored. The second photo just doesn't seem to match any of the landmarks!

We found a faint double track heading southwest from the looped dirt road. We spotted a sign at the canyon lip and charged over to it expecting to see more ruins. This was only a geological survey marker. We continued along the double track until it abruptly ended at what must have been a Richinbar dump site. Tin cans and porcelain remnants everywhere - a historic period midden! From the dump site, we took a cross-country cowpath over to FR9006 back to the trail head.

Summary: I've always wondered why there were vehicles parked just off of the I-17 near a windmill on the mesa. A little research and I discovered the name "Richinbar" and multiple references about a bustling little mining community that disappeared about 60 years ago. Step back in time and rediscover "Richinbar" on this hike, Enjoy!

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    Directions Preferred Months Oct Nov Feb Mar
    Water / Source:no
    Preferred StartEarly Cell Phone SignalYes Sunrise6:21am Sunset6:16pm
    Road / VehicleFR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay
    Fees / Permit
    None

    Directions
    Print Version
    To hike
    Directions to the Trail: From Phoenix (or Tucson)
    1. Take I-10 west until you reach the junction of I-17 North to Flagstaff AZ.
    2. Take 1-17 North towards Flagstaff about 60 miles onto Black Mesa/Perry Mesa.
    3. As you pass the Sunset Point rest stop on the west side of I-17, you begin a gentle rise to the northeast. Look for a windmill with two above-ground holding tanks on the east side.
    4. Spot FR9006 heading east towards the windmill. Exit I-17 onto FR9006 and park at the gate about 50 feet from the highway. This is our trail head.
    5. NOTE: If you begin descending into the Badger Springs area, you've missed your turn-off!
    Login for Mapped Driving Directions
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    page created by Randal Schulhauser on Dec 21 2009 7:05 pm
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