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Black Mesa Ruins, AZ
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157 19 0 0
Description 19 Triplogs  1 Topic
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 
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 Phoenix NE
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
Difficulty 2    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,217 feet
Elevation Gain 728 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 - 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.14
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Ruins
Author joe bartels
Descriptions 204
Routes 615
Photos 8,378
Trips 2,721 map ( 14,118 miles )
Age 45
Location Phoenix, AZ
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
21  2015-03-21 Nightstalker
19  2013-12-24 AZ Wandering Bea
37  2013-03-23 Nightstalker
5  2012-12-22 dieanotherday15
31  2012-11-03 Hansenaz
8  2012-10-25 LisaMusicLady
15  2011-12-14 The NaviG8R
8  2007-03-18 scottfyfe
13  2004-02-09 joe bartels
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
Seasons - Late Autumn to Early Spring
Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
1.2  Soap Creek Rd to Crown King Rd - BCT
3.3  High Desert Park
3.4  Black Canyon City TH to Little Pan Loop - BC
3.4  Black Canyon City TH to Soap Creek Rd - BCT
3.5  Crown King Rd to Bumble Bee on BCT
5.8  Sunset Point
[ View More! ]

Seldom seen, passed by many
by joe bartels

Overview: Steep but short off-trail hike to ruins you've likely driven past many times. Good option for those dead-of-winter wake-up-late days.

Summary: Anybody that's driven north on I-17 has passed these ruins. You know the routine... Phoenix, Anthem, Black Canyon City and then there's that haul up the mesa towards the rest stop. Well the mesa directly on your right is Black Mesa. These ruins are at the very southern tip. This section of the mesa is slightly separated from the mass.

From the parking area you will easily spot a path going through the fence. The path then peters out quickly. Not to worry as your target destination is in plain view. Check out the map below. The route shown is a gps track of my ascent. It's definitely the way to go.

Key notes:
1. Follow the fence line north up about 40 yards
2. Aim a hundred yards north of the tip of the mesa as to avoid some small cliffs.

I recommend boots, jeans and a long sleeve shirt for this off-trail jaunt. Preferably go on a cool 60 degree day or you'll be sweatin' buckets going up. The lower half of the ascent is close and personal with the vegetation. It gives away soon before becoming annoying. The ascent is steep. It's slightly steeper than Camelback or Piestewa but nothing as bad as Seven Cataracts or Black Cross Butte. The soil is pretty loose so be careful not to slip backwards. There are a variety of chollas, prickly pear and Saguaro awaiting your mistakes. Just be wise in your path of choice and you'll be fine.

On top of the mesa you'll quickly notice how the soil is soft and aerated. Since the hike is short and the ruins are the highlight I decided to explore the mesa top first. Next I explored a bit around the eastern face of the ruins checking out the rock art.

Dave Wilson, author of the book "Ruins Seldom Seen", best describes the ruins. It should go without saying but if you happen to find any artifacts don't take them. You aren't doing science any favors in preserving history in your home. Further more it's illegal.

It's pretty obvious why the Indians bolted out of this site... the highway noise below never goes away! Tag on the fact everybody is flooring it to ascend the mesa. Whew, it's enough to drive you nuts at times.

This is a nice short off-trail hike for north valley residents, at least once anyhow. It would serve as a good addition if you were on your way to one of the short hikes in Sedona. Ruin enthusiast will appreciate the hike most. However I wouldn't recommend driving up from Tucson or down from Flagstaff just for this hike.
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  • Map

Directions
Map Drive
Water None
Sun5:22am - 7:44pm
Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov → 10 AM
RoadPaved - Car Okay
Permit $$
None

Directions To hike
Take 1-17 north out of Phoenix. Past mile marker 245 there's a pullout just before the highway turns left. Check out the map above for GPS cordinates. This is not an established trailhead. In fact you are simply pulling off the highway. Be sure to pull all the way off. There's a small hill you can hide behind. Upon leaving you might wish to back out from behind the hill as there is no room to turn around on the shoulder of the highway. I'm not sure if it's legal to park here or not, so go at your own risk. Also be very careful getting back on to the highway, it's a dangerous situation without proper space.

For reference: Pioneer Road is exit 225 so this is just twenty miles north.
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.
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Hiking 101
Warning: heat kills! Avoid 8am to 5pm over 90 degrees. Prehydrate & stay hydrated.
Hikebot recommends using an umbrella to block the sun.
Avoid Heat Illness - do NOT hike when temps exceed 100 degrees, period.
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