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Kinishba Ruins, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Alpine > Alpine SW
3 of 5 by 1
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,256 feet
Elevation Gain 20 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.7
Interest Ruins & Historic
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
9  2015-09-07 Stoic
60  2015-04-05
Pinetop AZ and Area - April 2015
15  2014-07-20 blueberry1222
13  2009-06-27 Randal_Schulhaus
35  2006-04-01 Randal_Schulhaus
8  2005-04-30 Crzy4AZ
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
Associated Areas
list map done
Fort Apache Reservation
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Reservation Fort Apache
Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → 10 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:08am - 6:17pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
Ghost of a Dream
by Randal_Schulhauser

I've been aware of this set of anonymous ruins near Old Fort Apache for some time. Needing to "stretch the legs" of one of my vehicles, we decided to make a Saturday morning trek to the Forks of the White River to investigate these ruins. Look for the signage "Kinishba Ruins" along Hwy 73 and turn onto the dirt road heading north towards the ruins. We were prepared to hike in to the ruins at this point, but noting that the dirt road had just been graded, we thought we'd give it a shot in our extremely low clearance vehicle. With only a couple of "Oh !@*&!!", we traveled the 1.9 miles to the trail head without damage.

Hiking Kinishba Ruins Trail
As you pass through the barbed-wire fence surrounding the site, there is a foot path leading to the ruins. You become very much aware of the immense size of the pueblo ruins as you get closer. When you reach the first wall, poke your head inside one of the many rooms. From the southern side of the ruins site, we continue investigating moving clock-wise around the perimeter. We find main floor beams propped up against the wall and wonder if these are original or added during the obvious restoration efforts? As we circle around to the west side of the site, there is a central walkway between pueblos. Down the walkway you have close-up views of several collapsed rooms.

On the north side, erosion from a wash is threatening to swallow up some of the walls. We notice a square kiva near the center of the ruins site towards the east side. Intricate inlay stones within the main brick work can be found throughout the site. Some trees have pushed up and through the ruins. Continuing to the east, we look back at the ruins site and notice many overgrown mounds with obvious pot shards poking through the dirt. These appear to be either an unexcavated section of the ruins or a series of trash mounds.

Further to the east are ruins from the modern era. I'm somewhat dumb-founded seeing this on an ancient Indian ruins site... why are they here?

Some History
The mystery of the modern era ruins was soon unraveled when I did a little research from the home office. The home library provided the first clues. Excerpts from a couple of my Southwest Ruins books; Like so many important archaeological sites in the Southwest, Kinishba was first reported in the early 1880's by the anthropological explorer and scholar, Adolph F. Bandelier. Half a century later, after much pot hunting activity at the site by soldiers from nearby Fort Apache, a large portion of Kinishba was excavated and restored by a crew of University of Arizona students and Apache Indians under the supervision of Dr. Byron Cummings. Much of the original pueblo, however, never having experienced the archaeologist's shovel or trowel, is still seen today as overgrown mounds.

Cummings selected Kinishba for excavation because it represented in his words, "the highest development of the Pueblo culture". These villagers were farmers who utilized arable lands sloping southeast to the White River for the cultivation of corn, beans, and squash. Tree-ring samples date the site form the mid-eleventh through mid-fourteenth centuries, a period when Anasazi culture was vigorous and expansive. A wealth of artifacts collected during nine summers of field work bear witness to the highly developed craft skills of these people.

Kinishba was a large masonry pueblo consisting of several substantial community houses. One was the focus of the 1930's project. The pueblo was constructed on top of an older was constructed on top of an older collapsed village, and an even older Basketmaker occupation in the area is evidenced by the presence of numerous pithouse sites. Prehistoric southwestern peoples has a propensity for reoccupying previously inhabited sites, often building new homes on top of older structures. Kinishba roomblocks were well built and compact. The excavated wing had over two hundred rooms, and the entire pueblo is believed to have held a population of fifteen hundred to two thousand people. Cummings was of the opinion that this large, productive, long-lived village must have had strong social organization and effective leadership.

At the end of Cumming's scientific investigations at Kinishba, he built a research and exhibition complex that he envisioned becoming the core of a model educational park. He hoped that in time professional and lay people would come here to tour the ruins, relax under shade trees in a park, view Kinishba art and artifacts in a modern museum, and enjoy a contemporary Native American craft center. World War II, however, shifted funding priorities away from projects like this and public interest drifted away from Cumming's scheme. Today, Kinishba is fenced off, deteriorating, barely known to the public, and visited by few. To the serious archaeology student, however, it represents an important example of western Pueblo culture and is far from forgotten.

A "Google-search" under Dr. Byron Cummings uncovers the remaining clues including rare photos from the 1930's showing the extent of the restoration efforts. I discover that Cummings lobbied continuously until his death in 1954 to have Kinishba named a National Monument similar to Wupatki Ruins. I've pieced together a series of "THEN" and "NOW" photos:
a) Kinishba Pueblo reconstruction circa 1933-1939.
b) Remains of the reconstructed pueblo circa 2006.
c) Another view of Kinishba Pueblo reconstruction circa 1933-1939.
d) Another view of the remains of the reconstructed pueblo circa 2006.
e) Arial view of Kinishba site circa 1935.
f) Panoramic view of Kinishba site circa 2006.
g) Dr. Byron Cummings (standing on right) in doorway of Kinishba Museum circa 1939.
h) Kinishba Museum doorway circa 2006.
i) Kinishba Museum circa 1933-1939.
j) Kinishba Museum circa 2006.
k) Another view of Kinishba Museum circa 1933-1939.
i) Another view of Kinishba Museum circa 2006.

Also discovered a book just published in January 2006 about Dr. Cummings. Note the photo of Kinishba Pueblo at the top of the cover. Will have to add this to my "must read" list!

This anonymous set of ruins offers a double-shot of history. The Kinishba site is thought to represent the zenith of western Pueblo culture prior to its abandonment around 1350. The excavation and restoration efforts led by Dr. Byron Cummings in the 1930's and their re-abandonment around 1939 shows how quickly ancient ruins can deteriorate in a scant 67 years. "Ghost of a Dream" I call it - just can't wait to get my copy of Bostwick's book on Dr. Cummings. Enjoy!

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2006-04-09 Randal_Schulhauser
    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
    Kinishba Ruins
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    Pinetop AZ and Area - April 2015
    Pinetop AZ and Area - April 2015

    197 miles, 3hrs 45min per Google Maps

    Bob Mohle's country getaway cottage on the outskirts of Pinetop AZ was offered up as an excuse to burn off some forfeitable vacation time. With some backdrop interest in the local history surrounding lumbering/lumberingu railroads, we headed out to the White Mountains with seven basic clues;
    Clue #1, Apache Railway :next: azmemory.azlibrary. ... d/34
    Clue #2, Apache Railway :next: ... lway
    Clue #3, Apache Railway 2004 :next: ... html
    Clue #4, Southwest Lumbering Industries logging train, circa 1910 at Standard AZ in the White Mountains :next: azmemory.azlibrary. ... c/14
    Clue #5, White Mountain Scenic Railroad (7 page brochure) :next: archive.library.nau ... 1967
    Clue #6, White Mountain Scenic Railroad locomotives :next: ... .htm
    Clue #7, Maverick AZ ghost town :next: ... ashx

    Day 1 - Sunday April 5th, 2015
    FitBit totals = 7.64 miles, 770 AEG (77 floors)

    On the road by 3pm after Easter brunch with the family. Arrived at Bob's Pinetop cottage about 7-ish and enjoyed some crisp country air with temperatures expected to drop into the hi 30's later that evening...

    Day 2 - Monday April 6th, 2015
    FitBit totals = 6.97 miles, 410 AEG (41 floors)

    Up at dawn with a loose plan to visit Kinishba Ruins, Fort Apache Historic Park :next: ... .htm , Pacheta Lake, Pacheta Falls, and scout out remnants of the logging railway that ran between McNary and the ghost town of Maverick. Flat tire on our way out from Pacheta Falls to Maverick put an end to the exploration (made it back to Pinetop to see NCAA final game tipoff).
    Apache Railway that ran from Holbrook to McNary to Maverick :next: azmemory.azlibrary. ... d/34 NOTE: ran as a tourist train during 1960's and 1970's until fire in 1980 (1976 in some references) at the McNary Lumber Mill combined with changes in tribal lumbering policy led to its closure. Ran under brand of White Mountain Scenic Railway.
    Maverick ghost town :next: ... html
    McNary lumber history :next: https://fhsarchives ... lls/
    Finish the day with some "Hollywood History" by watching Walter Hill's "GERONIMO - An American Legend" with Wes Studi, Jason Patric, Gene Hackman, Matt Damon, and Robert Duvall :next: ... 004/.
    Our visit to Fort Apache and seeing General Crook's cabin made me think that movie would be a great bookend to our day...
    Later that night, I find the best historic reference for the Apache Railway, an article from the January 1963 Arizona Highways entitled "First Caboose to Maverick" :next: islandpondrailroad. ... .htm

    Day 3 - Tuesday April 7th, 2015
    FitBit totals = 9.60 miles, 790 AEG (79 floors)

    Up at dawn and after a hearty breakfast, headed over to Greens Peak - Four Knolls area to take in the stellar panoramic views (despite hurricane-like winds). Explored Sunrise Ski Resort area to see if tram to top of mountain was open (everything closed to public). Off to explore the headwaters of the Little Colorado and the Mount Baldy Loop. When we parked at the West Baldy Trail #95 TH, I heard a distinct hissing sound - Another flat tire!
    Fortunately I was able to limp back to Pinetop where Rex @ Future Tire ( ) took care of us. Today's flat was caused by a roofing nail and a simple plug-n-patch repair to the Goodyear Wrangler P275/65R18. Monday's flat was a rock puncture and not repairable. Disappointed with Ford's off-road package tires (these weren't my first off-road flat tires), I let Rex sell me a Cooper Tire Trailcutter AT2 that we mounted as my spare for now as I contemplate what to replace my other 4 tires with (anyone have experience with Cooper Tire Trailcutter AT2's???). A special "shoutout to Louis Weaver (Bob's handyman in Pinetop) who met us as we limped into town just in case we needed a ride
    Lugs are 21mm, stock tire wrench lugs 7/8", yet have specialty 21mm wrench in truck
    (Shouldn't the 7/8" lugs on truck all be 21mm to fit wrench?)
    Back on the road after lunch at Red Devil Pizza :next: (Randy and CJ took care of us during lunch) and headed over to Porter Mountain and
    Ice Cave Trail #608 :next: [ description ]

    Day 4 - Wednesday April 8th, 2015
    FitBit totals = 5.11 miles, 150 AEG (15 floors)

    On the road home with a stop at the Salt River Canyon...

    29.32 miles, 2120 AEG
    85 images on iPhone 5S
    87 images on Canon 6D
    9 images on Canon 7D
    12 images on Canon Rebel XT

    1. Kinishba Ruins :next: [ description ]
    2. Fort Apache Historic Park :next: [ description ]
    3. Pacheta Lake :next: [ description ]
    4. Pacheta Falls :next: [ description ]
    5. Maverick Ghost Town :next: [ description ]
    6. Railroad Grade Trail :next: [ description ]
    7. Greens Peak :next: [ description ]
    8. Four Knolls :next: [ description ]
    9. Candy Mountain Trail :next: [ description ]
    10. Sunrise Park :next: [ description ]
    11. West Baldy Trail #95 :next: [ description ]
    12. Ice Cave Trail #608 :next: [ description ]
    13. Salt River Canyon - AZ60 Crossing :next: [ description ]
    14. Upper Salt River :next: [ description ]

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    Kinishba Ruins
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    White Mountain Apache I.R. - Kinishba Ruins

    A 480 mile roundtrip to much hyped Pacheta Lake and Pacheta Falls that included a side trip to Kinishba Ruins and Fort Apache. A summer camp in the White Mountains with a trek to Pacheta Falls has been in the "works" for sometime - "sometime" finally happened for us the weekend of 6/27 - 6/28

    With our group departing our Phoenix Starbuck's rendezvous location by 7am, we arrived at the Kinishba trail head at 10:30am giving us time to explore before we broke out the picnic lunch (Wraps by Ralph - great stuff!).

    On this occasion we did encounter some other visitors to the site. Good to see that Kinishba does get some traffic...
    Kinishba Ruins
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    Very erie setting having two sets of ruins at the same site. One circa 1350 and the other circa 1939...

    Solved the mystery of the modern era ruins with a little research. Find it kind of sad that Cumming's dream of having the Kinishba site declared a National Monument was all for naught. Will have to read Bostwick's book on Dr. Byron Cummings...

    Permit $$
    The Fort Apache Historic Park, including Kinishba Ruins, is open daily from 7:00am to sunset. Nohwike’ Bágowa is open Monday-Saturday 8am to 5pm during the summer, and Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm during the winter. Admission to the museum and park is $5.00 per adult, and $3.00 for seniors (64+) and students. Children under 7 are admitted free. Admission to the Park after-hours and on holidays is $5.00 per vehicle per day. Apache tour guides are available with advance reservation, and special accommodations and activities can be arranged for tour groups.

    24 Hour information line: (928) 338-4525
    Museum: (928) 338-4625
    White Mountain Apache Office of Tourism: (928) 338-1230

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take Hwy 60 (Superstition Freeway) about 90 miles east until you reach Globe. From Globe, continue along Hwy 60 north about 60 miles until you reach Hwy 73. Turn east onto Hwy 73 (GPS coordinates 34o 00.210'N, 110o 15.380'W) and drive about 23 miles until you reach a dirt road with the signage "Kinishba Ruins" (GPS coordinates 33o 47.487'N, 110o 02.072'W). Travel 1.9 miles along the dirt road until you reach the trail head parking lot (GPS coordinates 33o 48.859'N, 110o 03.172'W). A permit is required to gain access to Kinishba Ruins and can be obtained from the White Mountain Apache Cultural Center located another 5 miles east on Hwy 73 within the Fort Apache Historic Park. Travel time from Phoenix was just over 3 hours. About half way between Globe and Kinishba Ruins, Hwy 60 drops into the spectacular Salt River Canyon. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs here and take in the scenic views.
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