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7 by photographer avatarDixieFlyer
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Skull Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2017
Hiking17.50 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking17.50 Miles   9 Hrs   2 Mns   2.56 mph
4,000 ft AEG   2 Hrs   12 Mns Break
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Six intrepid hikers decided to #OptOutside on Black Friday and hike up to the Skull Mesa ruins. The first 2 miles were very easy, and the next 3 miles were fairly "normal" for an Arizona hike on a trail in a national forest. The next 1.2 miles up to the top of Skull Mesa were a bit more strenuous, but not too bad. The hike from the top of the mesa to the ruins was totally off-trail through knee high grass with lots of prickly pear cactus along the way. Thankfully the gps track that I downloaded from HAZ took us right to the ruins. The fort ruins were very interesting and are worth going to imho. I did not see the pueblo ruins, although I did not really know what to look for. I also did not see any of the petroglyphs that are supposed to be there. There were some pottery shards scattered around though.

I made one deviation from the gps track: as we neared the ruins, rather than going up and over the second peak that you come to, I went around it on the west side. There was a faintly marked trail to follow, and it was much easier than going up and over this peak.

On a future hike, on the way back from the ruins I am going to explore the feasibility of going from the ruins over to Cave Creek Trail #4. There will be a descent involved, but it should shorten the route back by over 2 miles.

I have done this hike twice over the past month and saw wildlife both times: the first time I came across a half dozen or so javelina; the second time I saw a tarantula on Trail #247, and I came across a deer leg on top of the Mesa.

We made good time on this hike, with a moving avg. of 2.6 mph. We spent about 2 hours of 'downtime", mostly on top of the initial summit to Skull Mesa, and at the fort ruins.

Barrel Cactus
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
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