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Rough Canyon via Reavis Ranch, AZ 
Rough Canyon via Reavis Ranch, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 11 2013
Backpack38.00 Miles 9,293 AEG
Backpack38.00 Miles2 Days         
9,293 ft AEG
1st trip
This hike started on Friday night at 8:30 P.M. from the Reavis Ranch Trail Head. Located North of Reavis Ranch trail #109. The hike in was very pleasant, a nice cool night with nearly 50% illumination from the moon. I had no difficulties following Reavis Ranch Trail in the dark, it is a former road after all. However, stick with your comfort levels when it comes to hiking at night. The hike into Reavis Ranch where I camped was 10.2 miles, and I completed it in four hours on the dot, with taking one dedicated break at Windy Pass to feed dogs, and eat a couple of snacks. I spent a couple hours getting settled in and going over route with my friend who I met at Reavis and then hit the rack just after 3 in the morning to catch a few hours of sleep before big day. It should be noted that the underlying goal of hike was to find a set or ruins above Rough Canyon, that a fellow member had given me some details about.

Day two started from Reavis Ranch. After going over the map in morning we agreed that even though we had a solid route to ruins from White Mountain, we would try entering Rough Canyon from the Plow Saddle Spring area and Frog Tanks trail. This would prove to be our mistake, as we did not find the ruins, due to an inability to get to the angle needed to see the cave which housed the ruins. The cave was high above the canyon floor, and impossible to see from below, we accepted that shortly after reaching Rough Canyon.

However, the day was not lost, as I got to draw another line on my map through a very rugged and remote area of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Our hike from Reavis Ranch consisted of Reavis Ranch Trail 109 north to the intersection with Plow Saddle Trail and headed West 1.5 miles to Plow Saddle Spring. From Plow Saddle Spring we followed Frog Tanks until we found the best spot to start heading South off of Frog Tanks Trail and towards the ridge line we would be using to make our way off-trail to Rough Canyon. From here on out remember this is just "a" way, its certainly probably not "the" way to do Rough Canyon. We headed south off Frog Tanks Trail into Willow Creek, from there we headed west a short distance and immediately started bushwhacking our way up hill-top 4922, which would mark the beginning of the ridge line we followed all the way to Rough Canyon. Once through bushwhacking, the ridgeline did not present an overly difficult hike, there were some very well defined bear trails and perhaps old cattle/horse trails. But there were certainly some over-grown spots as well, we stayed generally to the South side of ridge and seemed to do alright. We followed the ridgeline on a southwesterly course until the final major hill (5384). The views from the ridgeline were expansive with Four Peaks to the North, and even Pinto Mine to the east. We stayed east of hilltop 5384 and made our decent into Rough Canyon. We could tell right away that we were not at the proper place for viewing ruins, and to get to other side of Rough Canyon would have taken some time, so we chose to just head down Rough Canyon to Frog Tanks Trail and hope that we might catch an indicator or possible glimpse of potential areas for ruins, but no luck. We picked up a really nice trail that took us right down into an almost out of place pine forest. There were some very tall strands of pine, it wasn't too brushy and there were signs of bear everywhere, scat, tracks, etc. it must be their hangout. Rough Canyon was your typical off-trail Supers Canyon, probably a little bit worse than Trap Canyon and similar to Fish Creek and Tortilla in spots. However, it was slow going, expect a typical canyoneering speed of about one plus miles an hour, yet much slower for some stretches. I did Rough Canyon with my dogs, but would not recommend it to anyone. The canyon offered several dangerous areas for humans and dogs alike. Likewise, this loop ended just a few tenths of a mile shorter than 18 miles, so your pooch is going to have to be in really good shape. The canyon had significant water compared to how dry it was everywhere else. Therefore,if this hike is done during a wet winter, the water may prove to be too much of an obstacle keep that in mind. There will certainly be some deep pools and deep wades.

Rough Canyon ends at Rogers Canyon which is also where the Frog Tanks trail crosses. If trying to pinpoint Rough Canyon from Frog Tanks its entranced is marked by a noticeable rock spire and natural arch. I am not going to lie it was around 8:30 P.M. at this point and we spent nearly 20 minutes looking for the actual Frog Tanks trail, it was a little grown over and where it crossed Rough Canyon it had been eroded. It felt great to be through Rough Canyon, but we were nowhere near finished we still had Frog Tanks to navigate at night, oh and we also had to regain the nearly 1500 feet in elevation we lost. Other than Blanco getting sprayed by a skunk the hike back to Reavis was pretty standard, we took some very liberal breaks, and showed up to camp after midnight. I inhaled a mountain house and went to bed, a little disappointed about not getting to ruins, but pleased with the completion of a challenging day. Blanco meanwhile earned himself a spot outside the tent on this night, due to his run in with the skunk along Frog Tanks Trail.

The next morning we slept in a little and very lazily made our way back to Reavis TH. Sunny enough on the hike out, that the shade was appreciated at times, however, pretty nice hiking temps overall made nicer by strong breeze. My body was aching a little by the time I reached car, and dogs were certainly beat. For good reason though, as the final mileage for hike tallied 38.3. Anyone who has spent time in Supers knows that is a hefty weekend.
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