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Coon Creek Ruins, AZ

no permit
401 32 2
Guide 32 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Globe > Roosevelt Salt
4.1 of 5 by 9
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 3.77 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,743 feet
Elevation Gain 579 feet
Avg Time One Way 4
Kokopelli Seeds 5.7
Interest Ruins
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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10  2018-12-15
Coon Creek Adventure
36  2016-04-09
Ruins Near NF-203a and Cook Creek
11  2015-04-07 CannondaleKid
14  2014-02-02 Peakster
13  2013-10-24 jameslcox44
50  2013-05-08 jameslcox44
19  2013-02-18 evanshiker
9  2012-04-01 Johnnie
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
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   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 10 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:05am - 6:33pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
1934 inspiration
by Randal_Schulhauser

A recent read of Emil W. Haury's 1934 archeological paper entitled "Canyon Creek Ruins and Cliff Dwellings of the Sierra Ancha" has spurred me to visit even more cliff dwellings. I'll describe a recent hike to one of the lesser-known cliff dwellings near the Cherry Creek region of the Sierra Anchas.

Starting from the junction of FR203 and FR38, follow the 4WD trail north for 1.04 miles until you reach a cattle gate. Pass through the gate, closing it after you. There are multiple mud holes along the way that could make for a very stuck vehicle after wet weather! Continue along FR38 until you reach a fork in the road at mile 1.56. The 4WD trail to the east is FR1076. There is no signage indicating FR1076, but it does appear on my topo map and GPS. Don't let the photo fool you; FR1076 rapidly deteriorates as a passable road from here on in.

At mile 1.89 along FR1076, you will encounter another fork in the path. Bear left at this fork and you will drop down into a dry wash. Climb out of the wash and rise up the hillcrest to mile 1.96. This will be followed by a steep descent into another wash and another rise up a hillcrest to another cattle gate at mile 2.18. On the southwest side of the gate there is evidence of a small mining operation. The trail along FR1076 will bend to the north once you pass through the cattle gate.

On this mid-May day there are still a variety of blooms along the route including purple flowering desert verbena and yellow flowering prickly pear cacti.

As you look to the east, you can see Coon Creek valley. As you look to the north you will see how the canyon will begin to box up forming cliffs on both sides. This is where the cliff dwellings are located. FR1076 will follow the contour along the west side of Coon Creek valley towards a mountain pass.

Follow the FR1076 trail though the mountain pass. At mile 3.27 on the north side of the pass you will notice a side trail heading east towards Coon Creek. This side trail follows a tributary into Coon Creek. At mile 3.39 the path dips down into the tributary bed. This soon joins into Coon Creek.

At Coon Creek, boulder hop downstream looking for an overhang in the cliffs on the west side (your right hand side as you head downstream). You can catch glimpses of the ruins through the thick brush. At mile 3.71, as Coon Creek makes a turn towards the western cliff of the canyon eliminating any more vegetation on the western bank, there will be a pathway comprised of loose scree heading up from the south to north along the western cliff face. Scramble up this path and at mile 3.77, you will be rewarded with a first hand look at the remains of an ancient cliff dwelling.

Some notes about the ruins based on miscellaneous readings. Some archaeologist reports refer to this ruin as Hematite House due to the iron-oxide mineral deposits called hematite. As you look at the cliffs surrounding the ruin you will notice the red hematite along with the yellow hematite deposits. The Coon Creek cliff dwellings were constructed by the Salado whereas Cherry Creek cliff dwellings were constructed by the Anchans (a culture often associated with the Mogollon). I could not find any exact dates for the construction and subsequent abandonment of the Coon Creek cliff dwellings. In general, these ruins are thought to be 700 years old.

If you are looking for a remote cliff dwelling hike that doesn't require the same effort as a Devil's Chasm or Pueblo Canyon, or the potential vertigo, this hike is for you. Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2005-05-16 Randal_Schulhauser

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    After Black Mesa and wondering how to fill the rest of the day, since it was almost four years since we visited the ruins, Tracey thought it would be worth another trip.

    But deciding on it and locating it are two different things... it took plenty of thought to wipe the cobwebs from my mind and remember what road do we turn off onto and just where is the turn? After a few false leads along Cherry Creek Road the memories were slowly beginning to return, and at the moment I remembered the road, there it was, FR 38.

    Still, the memory was a bit foggy... I remembered one steel gate and one fenced gate (Tracey as co-pilot gets to open/close the gates) but which of the small tracks to turn onto were still vague. So we continued driving until turning at the FR1076 marker... and driving and driving. Although not far mileage-wise, it seemed to drag on.

    Getting closer now, the memory began to clear and we found the exact spot where we parked the Pathfinder. But now with the Cherokee, it was too easy to get lazy and drive up through the saddle, leaving us with barley a one mile round-trip to the ruins.

    Short and sweet, to the ruins, seemingly no worse for the wear since we were here in July 2011. Took a few photos and video with the Galaxy. Too much shake! Even with stabilization it was too jittery (surely it wasn't me!) so I'll stick go back to my Canon SX60. If it doesn't look too bad after editing I may post the video later... or may not.
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    With 108-109 temps expected in the valley we wanted to find someplace cooler to hike. So with temps only expected in the low 80's for the Sierra Ancha area we figured on adding to our ruins hikes there. We were up early and on the road by 5:20, turning off from Cherry Creek Road onto FR#38 at 7:18 and on the trail shortly after 8 am. Although the HAZ hike description recommends starting the hike at FR#1076 due to how bad the "road" has deteriorated, with more than one hike scheduled for today we just kept going with the Pathfinder. (If it weren't for a glitch with the air locker I would have been driving my Samurai, which would have been MUCH more suited for the road.) Every time we came to something that seemed impassable I dropped it into low range and daintily tip-toed through with no issues, except for the addition of a bevy of intense Arizona pinstripes... one wide enough it looks more like a racing stripe.

    Ok, enough about the road... Oh wait, I forgot to mention almost running over a Gila Monster on the drive out Cherry Creek Road. We came around a corner and saw a Gila Monster sunning himself in the road. I knew I could stop in time so tried to avoid it before stopping to get some photos. At the last second it gets up and starts moving right where I was headed to try and avoid it. I thought I ran it over but it must have twisted back momentarily as I went by then continued on across. As soon as I could stop we got out and went back for some photos. It was early and cool enough that it wasn't moving very fast so we were able to get quite a few pictures before he got tired of the game and went into the brush.

    We continued along FR#1076 until there was just no going any farther, parked and headed off for barely a half-mile hike to the ruins. Although the terrain immediately below the ruins was similar to Devil's Chasm where this time of year would have many rattlers and we kept a careful watch we saw none at all throughout our 4 hike day. Rats! keeping my record intact of not seeing any this year. The ruin had a number of good-sized rooms but none fully intact and no wall paintings or pottery shards like previous ruin hikes. Since this is in an area frequented by hunters we didn't expect to find any shards so it was no surprise. After spending 45 minutes at the ruins, since we were actually more than halfway around the peak the ruins were on we continued on around and back to the car.

    After a very slow 3.5 mile drive back to Cherry Creek Road we were off to out next destination for the day, the Nordhoff-Hope Cliff Dwellings.

    20 hike photos are in the set posted on HAZ (see link above)
    A full 65 photo set is here:

    I posted a 6+ minute video of the Coon Creek Ruins on YouTube:
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Second half of a very enjoyable Salado Ruins exploration day in our amAZing Sierra Ancha Wilderness. Thanks to Randal for showing me two of his most interesting finds, this afternoon adventure and our morning trip to the "Nordhoff-Hope Cliff Dwelling/Site"..
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Back on the trails after a little shut-down period.

    Hank and I took the side trip to the Nordhoff-Hope Site V:1:170 off FR203A near the Bull Pass TH (think Hank may be doing a hike description). Hank posted the GPS route =>

    Bee sting almost ruined it :( (ha ha!), but thankfully a Benadryl took the edge off.

    Next stop, Coon Creek Ruins... :)
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After trekking to the Nordhoff-Hope Site V:1:170, took Hank and his Grasshopper to their first visit to this set of ruins. Hank posted the GPS route => ;) What ever happened to the old house trailer that used to be "dumped" at the side of the double-track near the ruins? Don't see any photos from previous trip reports capturing it, but I sure have a vivid memory about it...

    Late lunch planned for Chalo's in Globe AZ didn't go as planned. Check out => viewtopic.php?p=54387#p54387

    Did come away with a new "discovery". What's the scoop on the scenic train running out of Globe? :-k
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hike to Coon Creek ruins with a great group (including my big sis Trish) led by Randal S. As Randy says in his write-up, these ruins are very accessible due to the dry weather (less chance of getting stuck on the 4X4 road), so hopefully anyone who discovers this will be respectful. The ruins are in very good condition with good roof supports left and walls covered in handprints. A very spiritual place.

    After the hike we all kicked back with some brews and laughs. Great hike with a great group! Thanks Randy for leading us in!!

    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Led a hiking adventure to a surprisingly accessible set of ruins. Our group of 8 intrepid hikers included Mike (aka AZHikr4444), Trish (aka Trishness), Eric (aka Abfan1127), Matt (aka MCBond), Jordan, Todd, Erin, and myself. We were passed by 3 Jeeps on the way in and another Jeep on the way out.

    Hermatite House is well known, but there seems to be a lot of word-of-mouth about another set of ruins further to the north along Coon Creek. Lots of people acknowledge that they've heard about the additional set, but I've yet to actually meet someone that has visited them. Would appreciate hearing from anyone that has been to the second set north of Hermatite House!
    Coon Creek Ruins
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    With Lynn on a combo 4WD and hike to the ruins. We were finally able to locate these ruins after some research and "word-of-mouth". We also decided to share that info in the form of a new hike description.

    Too bad we had a "Lord of the Flies" thing happening, or we would have had a perfect hike! I've been hearing from just about everyone the past few weeks that the flies have been beyond tolerable. Hopefully the return to triple digit weather will put an end to that unpleasantness...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike

    Sedan - FR38 TH Distance 3.77 miles 1-way, Elevation is 2743 ft
    High Clearance - FR1076 TH Distance 2.21 miles 1-way, Elevation is 3035 ft
    (3322 ft max. elevation at pass)

    From Phoenix: Take Hwy 60 (Superstition Freeway) east 75 miles to Globe/Miami. 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 which is also signed as Cherry Creek Road. Follow FR203 for about 7.38 miles until you reach Dry Creek. This is approximately where the prominent high voltage transmission lines cross over FR203. Just past Dry Creek will be the junction for FR38. There are no discernable markers for FR38, but it does form a "Y"-fork at FR203. You can park your vehicle here, or if you have a high clearance vehicle, continue 1.56 miles along FR38 until you come to the junction of FR1076. FR1076 rapidly deteriorates as a passable road and recommend you park your vehicle here and hike from this point on.
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