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Cave Creek Ruin Tour, AZ
mini location map2012-12-26
37 by photographer avatarHansenaz
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Cave Creek Ruin Tour, AZ 
Cave Creek Ruin Tour, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2012
Hansenaz
Hiking13.00 Miles
Hiking13.00 Miles   7 Hrs      1.86 mph
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Oregon Hiker has posted a number of interesting explorations of Hohokam-era ruins along Cave Creek and I wanted to get up there to take a look. I loaded a number of his waypoints to make the off-trail rambling more efficient - and my wife decided to come along.

We took the Cave Creek Trail #4 to the vicinity of Skull Mesa and as we got to within about 1/4 mile of the first waypoint I noticed what looked to be a hammer stone in the middle of the trail, then a concentration of pottery pieces, and it was clear there was a fairly large habitation site being skirted by the main trail. I don't see this site referenced in HAZ but it's obviously well known and worth having a look.

We continued down the hill toward some of Oregon Hiker's waypoints, past the old plane wreck which is spread through an area of petroglyphs. We continued along past several other ruins with many glyphs (mostly minor ones). It's pretty easy walking through the prickly pear and the area has a lot of flat parts probably good for agriculture. We continued down to another ruin on the bluff overlooking the abandoned 6L Ranch.

It had all been pretty nice and easy bushwacking so far, but the first part down to the 6L Ranch was steep and prickly until we hit a horse trail which went right to the ranch. The next goal was a waypoint I'd loaded on the knoll on the other side of the creek. There was a pretty obvious large ruin visible in satellite images (see HAZ Route Manager). We found a trail up a draw that headed in the right direction and by the time it petered out we were finding petroglyphs and pottery pieces. Consistent with the satellite view it was an extensive ruin with many low ruin walls. Interestingly the prominent straight western wall visible from outer space is not easily seen on the ground - as near as I could tell it's a long ruin perimeter wall hardly detectable because of vegetation.

The bushwack heading SE back down to Cave Creek was the nastiest part of the day. But we continued across the creek and hit the horse trail at the major petroglyph panel which is well worth a look. We took the horse trail back along the creek with a minor detour on the Metate Trail. A good day, plenty of interesting things to see along the way.
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