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Pueblo Canyon Ruins, AZ

no permit
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Guide 74 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Young S
4.4 of 5 by 17
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,860 feet
Elevation Gain 2,500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 19.5
Interest Ruins
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19  2019-09-18
Sierra Ancha Ruins
19  2019-05-13 Pickles
18  2019-03-06 JuanJaimeiii
17  2018-11-11 jamminaz
24  2018-03-03 MesaWeekenders
9  2018-02-24 friendofThunderg
24  2018-02-11 Oregon_Hiker
15  2017-10-14
Cold Spring and Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:22pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
by Randal_Schulhauser

Pueblo Canyon derives its name from a group of cliff dwellings. The nearby asbestos mine named Pueblo Mine takes its name from the canyon.

Look for an old mining road that crosses FR203 (Cherry Creek Road) between mile 23 and mile 24. There is a partially buried steel drainage pipe that crosses FR203 just before the mining road. Hike is described in Dave Wilson's book, "Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen". There are 4 distinct sets of ruins spread over the last mile of the hike. The site was first inhabited around A.D. 1290 and abandoned by A.D. 1330.

The first mile follows a steady incline along the abandoned mining road. Elevation gain is well over 1000 feet in the first mile. The next mile may require some bushwacking through thick groves of red bark manzanita. Hikers short in stature and thin of girth certainly have an advantage through the dense growth! As you enter the canyon, a lush forest with many ferns and wild flowers will appear. The trail hugs the contour along the canyon wall. As you approach the 1st set of ruins, remains of an abandoned uranium mine will be apparent. It appears that tailings from the mine have backfilled some of ruins! Continue past the 1st set of ruins until you reach the main waterfall. Walk behind the waterfall with due care - rocks are extremely slippery! You can test the canyon's echo capability at this point. The trail will then follow the contour of the north face of the canyon. You will encounter three separate ruins along this path. Each ruin is a multi-storied structure, some with floors intact. No rock art was evident during our visit. Grafitti left behind by some unthinking hikers made us sad...

2017 dmassion writes
Parking area for ruins (for GPS) is N 33 50.377’ W 110 51.924’ about 23.7 miles on FR203 (Cherry Creek Rd).
Opposite parking area trail passes a sign and leads to the old mine road. Hike up the road staying along the ridge line, loose rocks everywhere so boots are better than tennis shoes. Trail will swing left but after entering the burn area you will cut back to the right and continue around to Pueblo Canyon. The first mile is tough and you gain 1000 feet, just 1500 feet to go!

Now for the good/bad news: Good news, the Summer fires have burned all the manzanita so you don't have to stoop and bend through a tunnel of vegetation anymore. Bad news, as you approach the first ruins, and beyond burned dead falls block the trail so you have to climb over or crawl under these blacked beasts. White t-shirts no longer recognizable! Waterfall spectacular and was really flowing but very slippery.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2004-09-07 Randal_Schulhauser
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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 of 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Sierra Ancha Ruins
I had never been to the Cold Creek Canyon Ruins or the Pueblo Canyon Ruins, so I decided to go check both of them out.

Both sets of ruins were well-preserved and they were amazing to see.

The drive in to the trailhead was a bit of an adventure itself -- driving 20 miles each way on an unpaved road takes a while. The road wasn't too bad until we got about 1-2 miles before Devils Chasm, and then it was pretty rough from Devils Chasm to the Cold Springs TH. You definitely would want a high clearance 4WD vehicle for this one.

We went to the Cold Springs Canyon Ruins first. Once we got near the ruins it was a tough and slippery climb up to and down from the ruins. We did not go into the crack house -- I did not want to damage any of the structure by trying to climb up in it. However, there might have been another way to get into the ruins around the corner from the crack house, but we did not check it out.

The Pueblo Canyon Ruins were impressive also. However, the trail to the ruins was very overgrown in places and was difficult to follow. Part of it was like going through a jungle, with poison ivy, grape vines, chapparel, catsclaw, scrub oak, and other assorted vegetation.

There was only a trickle of water in the waterfall at the end of the canyon. On the way back we went inside of the old mineshaft that was alongside the trail.

The high canyon walls in Pueblo Canyon wrecked havoc with my GPS -- so much so that the portion of the track in Pueblo Canyon was useless. I estimated the hike distance and elevation gain as follows: The guide for Pueblo Canyon lists the distance as 7 miles and the AEG as 2,500', so I used that for Pueblo Canyon. I measured the hike to Cold Springs Canyon as 3.45 miles; the guide lists the AEG as 1,191'. The portion of the hike from the TH to the turn for Cold Springs Canyon was right at 1 mile; so to avoid doublecounting, I subtracted 2 miles from the 3.45 distance to Cold Springs, and thus came up with 1.45 for the portion of the hike from the turnoff to Cold Springs Canyon to the ruins and back. According to the guide, the AEG for Cold Springs Canyon is 1,191'; I measured a gain of 665' from the TH to the turn for Cold Springs Canyon. Again, to avoid double counting I subtracted 665' from 1,191' and came up with an AEG of 526' for the Cold Springs Canyon portion of the hike.
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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CJ and I took her mother out here for a tour. Its a pretty tough hike for a less avid hiker to do, or someone more accustomed to the Midwest and less aggressive trails, but she hung in there and toughed it out with good spirits. Luckily, the ruins were a big hit for her. The road not so much of a hit.
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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This was obviously not my first time here, but honestly this area will never get old for me. This time around some ice made the hike in a little interesting and as usual you can’t beat the nice feeling that goes along with showing someone this area for the first time.

The ruins were great as usual and as stated earlier the ice was a little interesting, or dicey in spots depending on who you ask. I still maintain that for this area the fire may have improved the area slightly, but the trail has probably suffered some due to post fire erosion, but oh well that just makes it a little tougher on the masses. There are certainly some better views along the trail now and most of the annoying scrub brushes and manzanita along the route have been eradicated, so that probably cancels out the eroded portions. We only saw two other hikers the entire day and the conditions were nearly perfect for hiking overall. I forgot about the third set of ruins in Pueblo, but the "crack house" more than made up for that small disappointment, I hope. I have said this before, but I would still be a big fan of the forest service closing the road at Devils Chasm. Currently, parking at Devils Chasm to avoid the tight boulder squeeze on the road adds an additional three miles to one’s hike, if going to Pueblo or Cold Springs.

We headed to the trailhead for the “lower” Coon Creek ruins on our way out, but after not even a half mile of walking across the drab desert there, neither of us including the dogs thought the ruins would be worth continuing. We will save that one for another day, when the creek may be a more tempting aproach to the ruins.

Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Took Taylor on a hike he won't soon forget. He works for me and likes to get out and hike but lately he has been eating more than exercising. With that said he asked if I would take him on a hike at least once a week for the next month to get things kick started. I knew he would like this one and sure enough I was right.

Along the way we saw both the Pueblo Canyon ruins as well as the Cold Spring ruins. The highlights of this trip were tons of flowers including a bunch of Columbines, the waterfall flowing nicely, a rattlesnake, a wild turkey and for the grand finale we drove Cherry Creek road out to Young. (Sorry Bruce we can still go back and hit DC and take the road out that way as well)

All in all it was a great day and very cool trip.
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Cold Spring and Pueblo Canyon Ruins Tour
Our plan "A" cancelled for the 2nd week in a row because they've had 11" on rain in 2 weeks there. As far as plan B's go.... This one Rocks Big Time! It was put together at 9pm the night before.

First, I challenge anyone to get down Cherry Creek Road to the TH any faster than JJ. There were 3 water crossings, all a piece of cake, even the final Cherry Creek crossing. It's definitely a high clearance road past the last Cherry Creek crossing, some might attempt it w/o 4x4, not sure I have the nards to give it a try. Saw some deer and Javelina on the way in, as well as numerous Vultures, sitting on fences next to the road, eyeing us.

Up to Cold Spring Canyon Ruins first, just less than 1.5 miles and 1100' of AEG. The trail is easy enough to follow to get into the ruins. This a 3 level Ruin, not all that big, but they had some great views. with a couple of verandas. One at the South end, one at the East end.

Off to Pueblo Canyon Ruins next. This is a whole nother type of ruins area. If you only have time for one while in the area, this is the one. The hike itself is 100x more interesting.

If you start at FR203 (Cherry Creek Rd), this is about 2.6 miles and 1600' of AEG to get to the farthest ruins. A very picturesque hike once most of your elevation is complete, you get your first views of the Ruins on the north side. You'll be following the contours of the canyon at around 5300' under alcoves, in the riparian area, past less impressive ruins, past the old mine and then you make your way under the waterfall when you start turning back to the east to the 3 main ruin sites.

We took our time going through these sites checking them out. We went around the corner so JJ could check out a scree field for a possible future assault from the top to this ruin. As he was gone for his 15 minutes of checking, I took an hour and 10 minute break.

The skies were getting darker and it was starting to sprinkle, so we thought it best to get it in gear and get on that road in case we got a deluge like earlier in the week.

A great hike and adventure.. I finally got out to this area... Now the Devils Chasm is the next to get off the list.

Thanks for driving JJ Andretti!

Now a plug for JJ's Real Estate selling abilities.
Can he actually sell me a broken down property? They are kind of long, but that's what happens when you hike with a salesman.

Disclaimer.. Pay no attention to the dollar values or room quantities. He's a Realtor and does not have to be correct. Videos will be too long for most.

Cold Spring Canyon Condo :next:
Pueblo Canyon Estates - North :next:
Pueblo Canyon Estates - South :next:
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Cold Spring and Pueblo Canyon Ruins
The plan was to drive Senator Highway and hit some points of interest along the way. Threats of rain and a muddy Highway had us switching to plan B.

Plan B consisted of a hike and a tour of both the Cold Spring Ruins as well as the Pueblo Canyon Ruins.

We drove in and Cherry Creek Road with it's creek crossings was kind to us today. No issues what so ever. Once at the trailhead it was a bit muggy and warmer than expected. Off we went heading to Cold Spring Ruins first. This two story beauty is so cool with its views and balcony. Along the way we would sample prickly pear fruit. The fruit was so big it looked as if it was ready to pop.

Then after a nice visit we rounded the corner and headed for the multi-units in Pueblo Canyon. I forgot just how awesome the hike into this canyon was. It is lush and full of water seeps and tons of foliage. You almost feel like you are in a tropical oasis. The dwellings themselves are always an impressive site.

Afterwards I decided to take a shot at reaching the top via a scree shoot just around the corner from the dwellings. While it is doable I am not sure it would make much sense to go up there for anything other than exploration. I looked on Route Manager to see if there was a trail close to where I was at and nothing really exists. I will say the views from up there were spectacular.

I returned the way I came and joined back up with The Eagle. It appeared that rain was going to break out of the sky at any moment. Luckily we only received a light sprinkle. Back to the Jeep and then an easy ride out.

We had ourselves a great day out in the Sierra Ancha today! I wish we would have had time to do Devils Chasm as well. Dinner was calling.
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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After a late night arrival and an unmercifully brief amount of sleep, I awoke at my campsite on FR 202 overlooking Cherry Creek and prepared for a day of cliff dwelling visitation. I passed the Ellison Ranch at the final Cherry Creek crossing and was soon at Devils Chasm, where I had planned to park. Surprise, the creek crossing was in perfect shape! I motored on, finally parking near the Cold Spring Canyon crossing. I donned my hat and pack and began the rocky climb up the old mine road.

Mine road became trail and then narrow path, and I pushed my way across a mountainside of thick brush. The north facing slope of Pueblo Canyon was a fern and forest paradise, with numerous seep springs, massive cliff walls and amazing views of my prehistoric destination that seemed deceptively close. After a time consuming traverse, I reached the old uranium mine tunnel. The builders of the north facing cliff dwelling next to the mine certainly had picked a wonderful spot. I wouldn't mind living here.

The sound of falling water greeted me as the canyon floor rose up to meet the trail, where I passed behind a lofty waterfall. The pool below it looked inviting, but the cool, windy conditions said otherwise.

A tiny, buzzing rattlesnake greeted me next to the trail as I approached the first cliff dwelling, but quickly withdrew into a crack to flick its tongue at me. This first dwelling, a.k.a. "Ringtail Ruin" was much larger and more impressive than I had expected. I marveled at the architecture and effort, exercised my camera and then sat down in the shade of the overhanging cliff to eat lunch. To my great surprise, two hikers soon appeared (the only others I would see the entire day). I talked with a man from Glenwood, New Mexico and his friend from Tucson before continuing on to the other ruins nearby. Another ruin destination was on my list for the day, so I made a quick retreat from Pueblo Canyon back to the old mine road, sending some large beast crashing into the trees in the process (I'm guessing a clumsy deer or probable bear).

Turning off onto another mine road, I rounded a ridge and entered Cold Spring Canyon, where my second and final destination of the day quickly came into sight: V:1:136, the "Crack House". Leaving this overgrown mine road, I fought gravity and vegetation and made the steep and slippery scramble up the mountainside to the ruin in the crack.

I had been wanting to see this ruin for years, so this was a special moment. Dumping my pack, I climbed three sets of wooden logs that acted as crude ladders to access the roof of the dwelling, located in a cave in the cliff. The Sierra Ancha Project had replaced one of the key roof beams 30 years earlier to stabilize the site, but I still walked VERY carefully for fear of damaging this amazing place. Peering over the edge of the balcony room in the cliff face overlooking Cold Spring Canyon was a fulfilling experience. Just an amazing place. The day soon grew late, so I made my way down from the Cold Spring Canyon ruin and began the hike back to Cherry Creek Road.

Back at my truck, I chose to blow off my concert plans later in the evening and spend a little more time with my beloved Sierra Ancha. I made my way down to Cherry Creek from Devils Chasm to enjoy an evening swim and then ate dinner on my tailgate, watching the Sierra Ancha skies fade to black. Days like these live among my very best memories.

Thoughts of work the next day finally motivated me to head for home. I arrived home in Tucson at 2 am, dead exhausted, with work only a few hours away. As usual, it was totally worth the exhaustion. It was a wonderful trip. :y:
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Took a little ride up to the Sierra Anchas. Temperature was 112 at the Trailhead. :o

Ruins were great as always and so was the hike. No water in the waterfall but the spring/seep by the ruins was dripping nicely. I took a drink. :D
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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This is an amazing hike. If only the drive were shorter! There was a dusting of snow beneath the aspens, but not enough to lose the trail. The ground was frozen on the muddy sections, so that made the hiking easier. We really got interested in the icicles along the south side of the canyon, but when they started to fall from high above us, we moved on. The only disappointment was that the main waterfall was not running, even though it stormed a day or two earlier.

As we pushed our way through some really brushy sections, I kept wondering: did the builders of these dwellings hike along the route we took, or was there a better way of accessing their homes? Maybe from the north side of the canyon, or maybe even from the drainage? I'm curious to know whether anyone has ever hiked to the ruins from another direction.
Pueblo Canyon Ruins
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Dean and I took a drive up to the Sierra Ancha Wilderness and hiked into Pueblo Canyon to see the Ruins. I was really unsure what to expect but was pleasntly suprised.

The ruins themselves are numerous but the Cold Springs and Devils Chasm ruins are in better shape. The super cool thing about this hike was all the varity. Desert terain, Forest terain, an amazing waterfall, an old mine shaft, and then of course all the ancient ruins.

All in all this turned out to be just a fantastic trip! I think my favorite part was the waterfall. After we returned we took the Jeep about a quarter mile up the rocky old mining road to a turnaround. Good times!

Long pumpkin ride home but it was well worth the trip!

Permit $$

Map Drive
High Clearance possible when dry

To hike
From Globe, take 188 north towards Lake Roosevelt. Turn right on 288 and follow about 2 miles past the Salt River until you reach FR203 (Cherry Creek Road). Follow FR203 for about 23 3/4 miles until you reach the trail head at an abandoned mining road.

From Phoenix/Scottsdale drive the SR87 (beeline highway) then turn onto 188, driving past Roosevelt Lake to the Young Junction AZ288. From AZ188/288 junction drive 7 miles, over the Salt River bridge and turn right on Cherry Creek road. Take Cherry Creek road 23.7 miles to the trailhead. This dirt road will take about an hour to drive, if in good condition.

dmassion 3/25/17 writes:
Last summer's fires and Feb. 2017 rains have significantly changed some of the information about the road conditions and hike to Pueblo Ruins.

Road conditions:
Currently passable to the Devil's canyon ruins, but around mile 20 a large boulder blocks the road. A tight fit but we go a 4Runner through by carefully climbing the bank and angling through. Tough with a full size PU!

Road beyond the ruins:
Beyond Pueblo parking area, around mile 27 the culvert is destroyed and a 2-3 foot cut on the south bank prevented us from continuing on without destroying our from bumper. Quads crossed and some jeeps possibly could also but you could rip up or crush a truck front bumper. We turned around here.
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