Devil's Chasm is a well-hidden ruin sitting secretively on a huge cliff in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness in the Tonto National Forest. We decided to do this hike in January 2003. The reason we chose the winter month is that we read in Dave Wilson's "Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen" that this area has an unusually large population of rattlesnakes. ( I recommend you get this book before setting out on this hike )
Because the days are short in January you will have to start early and dress warm as we found out it was quite cold. Most of the trail is in the woods, so not too much sunlight will reach the trail. You also should have a four-wheel drive vehicle in order to maneuver the last couple of miles that take you over some pretty rough and rocky dirt road to the trailhead. Although the trail is only 3 miles round trip it seemed to be one of the most treacherous hikes we did.
Initially, the trail is barely marked. Halfway through you wonder if you are still on the right track. From the Trailhead you begin at a creek. Keep to your left until you encounter a huge waterfall, which you need to climb. Obviously it will have to be dry because you will hike inside the fall for a short distance.
After the water fall we maneuvered our way across a real thin cliff that proved to be a bit unnerving for one hiker who decided to wait for our return back to this point.
Shortly after the cliff, we came across a second waterfall. We all had lunch here while trying to figure out where the trail continued. This proved to be sheer guess work, because from then on you could not tell which way to go. We were climbing, crawling and hanging on to prevent sliding down on the loose steep ground.
You will definitely want to bring your hiking pole to keep your footing. Steady yourself with the one pole and use the other hand to grab onto anything you can. The ruin will be located on a huge cliff to your right, appearing out of nowhere. It can't be seen until you get real close to it.
We spent a long time at the ruin in awe with its remains. If you look closely you can still see the mud hardened handprints left by the Indians on some of the inside walls.
Looking out from the ruins, the scenery was spectacular.
Suddenly we realized that we would now have to carefully maneuver our way back down without breaking our necks! It took a while. When we came across the waterfall it appeared to be much more difficult to climb down than on our way up, mostly because by then we were all exhausted and cold. We did however have enough strength to stop on our way home in Miami at a wonderful Mexican Restaurant called Guayo's El Rey at 716 Sullivan MIAMI, AZ. (I highly recommend that if you do the trip, take the time to enjoy the food at the restaurant.)
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
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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