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Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness, AZ

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Roosevelt Salt
4.5 of 5 by 4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Distance Round Trip 0 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,182 feet
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Ruins & Peak
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
15  2017-02-25 ssk44
28  2017-02-25
BlackMesaPeak3741 RUINS-SRC Wild
60  2015-04-11
Black Mesa-Quintuplets
22  2015-04-07 CannondaleKid
25  2011-12-17 ssk44
38  2011-12-17 Grasshopper
2  2011-11-19 ssk44
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct
Sun  6:09am - 6:26pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
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Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: Large cliff lined mesa with far reaching views of the surrounding area including Roosevelt Lake, Sierra Ancha Wilderness, and the Salt River Canyon Wilderness. Black Mesa borders the Salt River Canyon Wilderness on the outer west, south, and east edges.

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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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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BlackMesaPeak3741 RUINS-SRC Wild
If you enjoy off-trail, remote, scenic Arizona hiking, this Black Mesa - Salt River Canyon Wilderness area is a good choice.

This was Eric and my second trip to this area in the past 5+ years. Prompted by the above knowns plus a plan to hike to a different Black Mesa area which appeared on Google Earth to have an ancient, lesser known Native American Ruin Site (Peak 3741..this [ photo ] ) was all I needed for another commit :)

From our Phoenix east valley areas, it is a long day out driving (3 hours one way) to reach the recommended 4WD Park/TH Start for this ~3 mile round trip, moderate off-trail hike, but well worth it in my opinion.

My posted GPS Route + Geo-coded Photoset with captions hopefully "show and tell" a planned day here.
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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Black Mesa Ruins - Salt River Canyon Wilderness

Black Mesa is a special place. The river canyon views are amazing. I first came hear with Hank (Grasshopper) in December 2011. The road getting up hear is one rough SOB. The road is three miles of relentless boulders. It takes one hour to drive three miles! As much as I like it up hear, I never dreamed I'd be coming back.

While recently exploring this area on Google Earth I spotted an interesting butte situated out on the remote eastern ridge overlooking the river. It just had the look.. I zoomed in and found an obvious ruin site. I was immediately hooked. I just had to see it in person! I love exploring unregistered obscure ruin sites. Especially sites on the Salt River. Hank and I were due for another ruin adventure. A simple email and the plans were put into motion. It was an easy sell.

Our planned Saturday had arrived. It was a great day. A bit hazy but a great day overall. The road sucked just like we remembered. Actually worse then we remembered. The hike was straightforward and easy. Very easy for a ruin hike. Zero bushwhack. Just a nice off-trail stroll along the eastern outer ridge. The views were amazing as expected. I was so excited to get up on that butte. We could see it in the distance. I knew there was ruins up there! I wasn't disappointed. A small picturesque three room site situated on the edge of the Salt River Canyon Wilderness. I love this stuff. To our surprise, there were no obvious pottery shards or metate's visible. The site had been cleaned out. The views made up for the lack of artifacts. The trip was a success either way. I was very happy.

For me, this was just one more great day of exploration with my good friend Hank. It wouldn't have been the same without him. We've seen some cool backcountry destinations over the years. Old habits die hard.

Eric (ssk44)

Black Mesa Ruins as seen from Rockinstraw Mountain (12/31/2011)
[ photo ]
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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Black Mesa-Quintuplets
Catchy triplog title - I located five survey disks.

I was able to actually drive up atop Black Mesa, on FR3271. It’s not much of a road, and it’s very slow going. I don’t recommend it after (or during) a rain. ‘This’ Black Mesa is northeast of Roosevelt Reservoir. (I think I’ve been on top of at least five or six different Black Mesas).

This Black Mesa was definitely used by ranchers years ago, but I suspect that’s not the case now. I found a few watering holes and ‘berms-in-drainages’, but they all looked like they haven’t had action in a long time.

The last two hikes I put up on HAZ were ‘diskless’, due to (my guess) vandals taking survey disks as souvenirs. This hike made up for those diskless hikes by having me locate five little brass disks, all on the mesa. Four disks were associated with the NGS triangulation station called ‘Black’ (1938), and the fifth disk was a Forest Service disk named ‘Black Mesa’ (1934).

The only survey disk of the five that was a challenge to locate was the, always elusive, azimuth mark (for the NGS BM Black). The ‘hint’ on the datasheet said the “azimuth mark is in a boulder, on the north side of a small valley near a group of trees”.
HMM ….. “a group of trees” ..… Surveyors wrote that ‘hint’ in 1938, 77 years ago.
I started the hike, looking for the azimuth mark, as I knew it might take me all day.
(Take note of my ‘wandering’ GPS track at the beginning of the hike track).
I was lucky and found the azimuth mark in about forty minutes, and it IS “near a group of trees”. It was in the fifth or sixth group of trees I searched near. The disk is in a 2 foot high boulder, and had a sprawling prickly pear draped over the whole boulder. I couldn’t even see the little disk from most angles. I carefully moved the cactus out of the way and said “hello” to the azimuth mark.

From the azimuth mark, I headed to the edge of the mesa, and then went to the high point from there.(Better views from the edge). By the way, prickly pears own Black Mesa. They’re very prolific up there, with alot of them growing horizontally along the ground, making the hike more of a ‘dance’ while avoiding them.

The high point is at the south cliff edge of the mesa and is quite expansive. The remaining four disks were easily located at the high point, with the Forest Service disk occupying the center of a bunch of rocks. The summit register was in those rocks also.
I re-established the ‘Height of light’ to vertical, as all the wires were still securely attached to their boulders, and to the very tall wood staff. I’m sure the first good wind will topple it, but at least it’ll stand tall for awhile, as it did in 1938.

I then hiked down the mesa far to the northeast, visiting a very current big horn sheep/wildlife catchment, and a couple corrals and tanks. My objective was to go all the way to the end of the mesa and investigate something I saw on Google Earth, but I aborted that foray when I noticed thick, dark clouds coming in from the north. I didn’t want to risk being ‘caught-in-the-rain’ on the drive down and off the mesa. FR3271 is bad enough when it’s dry.
As it turned out, it didn’t rain. That’s OK though, as now I have a reason to drive back up there and look around some more.

This ‘Black Mesa’ is a fun hike, with alot of varied things to investigate, and if the weather is clear, you can’t beat the views in all directions.
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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It's been on my list for some time but out-of-the-blue Monday evening it seemed like just the thing. But as such a short hike (2.6 miles) we decided to hike most of the way up the road instead of driving up and then hiking. This made for a long continual climb along a sometimes treacherous road, more like a path in the grass in many areas.

Lest one misunderstand, it was treacherous... for hiking poles. The large cracks in the hard-packed ground had a penchant for grabbing onto the tip as we moved forward, threatening to break it off. Once it got more rocky that risk was exchanged for rolling an ankle over the loose rocks, which would be what most of the hike would be.

We hadn't gone a half-mile before scaring up two deer, then a mile or so later we scared up a herd of four who didn't just high-tail it away but stood and stared at us until by mutual agreement we each went our own way. Shortly after Tracey would see what appeared to be mule deer ears, but then as far away as we were she passed it off as wishful thinking. But because I know just how much of an eagle-eye Tracey has for things, I pulled out the Canon and took a shot with full 60X zoom, and sure enough, it was a deer resting in the shade. Unfortunately, as shown in the photoset, at the time I didn't realize a prickly-pear some distance ahead of the deer grabbed the focus.
Oh well, being handheld and that much zoom what can one expect?

At the end of the road the hike became a winding journey through a seeming labyrinth of daggers, prickly-pear, loose rocks and more. Eventually we reached the summit where I took photos of the two reference marks and the benchmark then got so wrapped up in reading the summit log I neglected to take my usual 360 pan photos and video. No worries, half of the pan would have been taken up by the close vegetation. Thankfully I had taken a number of photos along the southern cliff edge.

By now Tracey was getting a bit tired of the terrain, having to remove her shoes often to remove assorted debris. So rather than make the full circle of the mesa, we cut more directly back to the road, following it the rest of the way back down. No fauna of any kind noted on the return trip.

But now with just over 5 miles under our belt for the day, what next? Hmmm, we're already out this way, what do we do next? Although I had added bogus routes when loading the HAZ Tracks off-line maps, again I did not stretch them far enough for our next and subsequent choices, Upper Coon Creek Ruins & Cougar Canyon.

You'll have to read those triplogs to see how we fared, HAZ Track'ing blind.

As I mentioned earlier, sorry, no video...
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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For this Saturday day hike, plans were originally to visit the "Indian Mesa Ruins" hike description site bordering the Agua Fria River near Lake Pleasant, a number of miles NW off Hwy 17. For us east valley hikers, this one was going to be a very long and probably muddy 4WD in for a short .25ml hike to this ancient Hohokam Ruins site. For us the adventure for this day trip was really planned for the scenic drive-in of the surrounding areas vs the ruins site appeal but after viewing all the posted pics for this hike description, we both felt and agreed we had just visited.

A last minute change of plans to our Option 2, this "Black Mesa- Salt River Canyon Wilderness", 4WD in and off trail loop hike proved to be an excellent choice. Once again Eric comes through with another winner and the all day "Fraley Clouds/Sky" we had for our pics didn't hurt any :DANCE: Please view my geocoded picset with detail captions/tags, posted GPS driving and hiking tracks for hopeful confirmation.

We sealed another very enjoyable and rewarding hike day with a great dinner meal in Gold Canyon at the Red Sage Restaurant off Hwy 60 at Kings Canyon Road.. igallery/image_page.php?id=4616
Black Mesa - SRC Wilderness
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Now this is how to spend an afternoon! Grand epic views, no bushwhacking, unspoiled, and remote. This rugged mesa could not have been hand placed in a better location. The views of the surrounding area are just awesome. The entire hike was special, however the true highlight of the day were the south/southeast Salt River Canyon Wilderness views from the outer southern point (see photo #11). The rugged cliff faces along the southern edge of Black Mesa are jaw dropping and really must be experienced in person to appreciate. I could spend an entire afternoon just sitting out there. Black Mesa rocks! There's just no other way put it.

Warning: FR3271 is very rough and rocky. Heavy duty off-road tires are highly recommended (LT rated) for reaching the trail head.


Permit $$

Map Drive
Strictly 4x4

To hike
From Globe... Highway 188 - Highway 288 - FR 203 (Cherry Creek Road) - FR 3271 - Destination
page created by ssk44 on Nov 19 2011 4:29 pm
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