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Circlestone, AZ

Guide 96 Triplogs  8 Topics
  4.1 of 5 
no permit
879 96 8
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5.49 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,940 feet
Elevation Gain 1,151 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,254 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.76
Interest Ruins & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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19  2021-02-15
Mound Mountain Peak
7  2019-12-22
Mound Mountain Peak
121  2017-11-12
West Pinto loop from Miles Ranch
8  2017-11-04
Reavis Gap, Fireline & Campaign Creek Loop
10  2017-11-04
Reavis Gap, Fireline & Campaign Creek Loop
15  2016-11-12
Reavis Ranch Trail #109
5  2016-11-12 Uberdroog
12  2016-11-11
Reavis Ranch Trail #109
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Author nealz
author avatar Guides 4
Routes 0
Photos 18
Trips 8 map ( 0 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Alpine, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:38am - 7:24pm
Official Route
14 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2019 Woodbury Fire123.8k

Warning the 2019 Woodbury Fire & 2020 Sawtooth Fire damaged a majority of the Superstition Wilderness.
Mysterious & Spectacular
by nealz

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This guide is round-trip from Reavis Ranch. I suppose you could start at either the Reavis Ranch, Woodbury, Rogers Trough or even Miles Ranch trailheads and make this a day hike but it would be a long and brutal day hike and I doubt you'd enjoy it as much. I've done this as a side trip during overnight stays at Reavis Ranch 'Base Camp' and really like the luxury of the time I can spend at the ruins.

Circlestone is a remarkably well-preserved large circular ruin situated on top of a spectacular knoll at 6,010'. Just southeast of Circlestone is Mound Mountain, which at 6,266' is the highest point in the entire Superstitions. Some of the research done at Circlestone indicates it may be an ancient celestial 'calendar' not unlike Stonehenge in England. Before you go, I'd recommend a good short book that will give you a lot of background about the site - "Circlestone, A Superstition Mountain Mystery" by James A. Swanson and Thomas J. Kollenborn. It's small enough for inclusion in your backpack too and makes for a great read in the tent the night before you head up.

From your campsite at Reavis Ranch, get back on the Reavis Ranch Trail, FS #109, and follow it south past the old ranch house foundation and stock tank, across the meadow and down and across Reavis Creek. You will be on the east bank of Reavis Creek at this point. Continue south on FS #109 about 1/4 mile to the 'Y' of the Fireline Trail, FS #118. Head up the Fireline Trail away from the creek. I should mention that there will probably be no available water past this point so filter and fill up at the creek if you need to.

The Fireline Trail travels up and out of the Reavis Creek drainage and quickly gets warmer and rockier - quite a change from the lush pines and grasses of Reavis Ranch. Continue on the Fireline Trail past Whiskey Spring about 2.25 miles, from the start of the Fireline, to a saddle. South of the Fireline is the bottom of the knoll that Circlestone sits on. The trail to Circlestone, which is sometimes called the Allen Blackman Trail, is not numbered or on the map. There is sometimes a cairn marking the trailhead on the south side of the Fireline Trail.

The trail immediately starts up and begins to switchback through Manzanita and Gambel Oak. It can be a little loose in spots but is usually easy to follow. The forest opens up as you gain altitude and eventually the trail just straightens out and continues up the knoll at an easier grade all the way to the ruin. The ruin is almost circular with some doors and lintel-topped windows still in place. The walls are somewhat tumbled down but in spots still stand over 5 feet high. Stay off the walls and take care of this historical site.

The views from here are great. In addition to Mound Mountain, you can see part of the mine at Miami to the east and the other peaks around Reavis Ranch to the west and northwest.

Return the same way. There is another trail that starts at the saddle between Circlestone knoll and Mound Mountain and leads back down to the Reavis Trail, #109. It is extremely overgrown and steep in parts and your wayfinding skills will need to be sharp. My recommendation again, is go back down on the Fireline to the Reavis.

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2001-02-05 nealz
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Directions to the trailhead to Reavis Ranch: From SR 88, the 'Apache Trail', turn off onto FR 212, which is signed - 'Reavis Trailhead' - between mileposts 227 and 228. FR 212 is usually passable by just about any passenger vehicle but due to the recent rains, it was badly eroded in spots and a smaller car would have some trouble. Until the FS blades it again, I'd recommend a high-clearance vehicle. Take FS 212 about three miles to the trailhead and park. The trail, FS #109, starts at the parking lot.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
    help comment issue

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