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Rogers Canyon Ruins
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mini location map2018-03-03
23 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Rogers Canyon RuinsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2018
ddgrunning
Hiking10.20 Miles 1,557 AEG
Hiking10.20 Miles   5 Hrs   48 Mns   1.76 mph
1,557 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After years of exploring the western Superstitions, I finally decided to dip my toe into the Eastern Supes, with a trip to the Rogers Trough TH and a visit to the Rogers Canyon Ruins.

Most of my hesitation in visiting this TH was concern about the condition of the access roads. I talked my brother into coming and volunteering his Toyota Tundra to be the driving vehicle. Even though it's 2WD, it has high clearance and good suspension. We didn't have any issues, though there were a couple of places where the steep road had us on the verge of slipping/spinning the tires. Newer tires with a bit better traction would have eliminated that issue. On our way back, we met a couple of guys in a Jeep Cherokee who were contemplating turning back because they could not get enough traction on a couple of steep sections.

The drive itself provides some beautiful views of the surrounding area, particularly the latter miles as the road climbs up to the TH and exposes panoramic vistas of the mountains to the west, including glimpses of the far east valley. With a full moon above and the morning light splashing color on the mountains, we stopped a couple of times just to get out and take in the views.

Anyhoo, we arrived at the TH around 7:30 am. The TH is at about 4,800 ft. The forecast low was 41; however, it clearly had dipped below freezing overnight, as there was frost on the ground, and several pools along the upper part of the trail were covered in a thin sheet of ice. Small patches of snow also dotted the surrounding hillsides.

As we headed down the trail, we came across a gentleman who was making a northbound trek of AZ trail and had been on the trail since Super Bowl weekend. He had gotten waylaid by a leg injury earlier in the trek but was back on the trail and trying to make up lost time.

After about 1.6 miles, we hit the Reavis Ranch junction. A trip for another day ... We continued on down Rogers Canyon and dropped by a couple and their two dogs about 2 miles in who were enjoying a yummy-smelling breakfast after overnighting via backpack.

At the 3 mile mark is an excellent and large camping area with clear signs that it was occupied by a scout troop. The tents and camping paraphernalia were all around, but the camp was empty--leading us to believe the troop was on a morning trip down to the ruins.

Sure enough, when we arrived at the ruins, the scouts were finishing their exploration. We chatted briefly with their leaders, who had arrived at the trailhead the previous evening and hiked into camp under the full moon. :)

Thankfully, the troop was wrapping up their visit, and we ended up having the site to ourselves for 30 minutes or so, before a few other groups of hikers began arriving.

There are three main areas of the ruins. The lowest ruins are most exposed and more heavily deteriorated. The rest of the ruins are set inside a large cave, and frankly, absent the exposed lower ruins, it would be easy to pass by the cave without knowing that there are any structures inside it.

The second area of ruins is off to the right (when facing the cave), in a cave fissure that parallels the main cave. The structures in this area are also much deteriorated, other than some storage pockets. A natural hole high above in the wall adjoining the main cave allows one to look down from the main cave on the second area of ruins.

The crown jewel of this site is the third area, set back in the main cave, directly above the first, exposed area. We dubbed it the "penthouse suite." The structures here are inset well within the cave. The roof of the cave is some 20-30 feet high, with the structures being largely "stand-alone" buildings, rather than the typical site, where two or more of the structure walls and roof are provided by the surrounding rock. The main residence has a largely intact roof (apparently in years past, it was fully intact. :( ). The "hole" in the corner of the roof shows the solid construction that was employed by the builders 600 years ago, with beams/crossbeams, reeds, and finally, mud/mixture.

The main structure has what looks basically like an enclosed "courtyard" in front of it. I could not discern any sign that the courtyard area was ever enclosed with a roof, and I'm curious as to what function it was intended for(?) Perhaps an enclosure for animals(?) In any event, it is also well constructed and preserved.

After finishing our tour of the ruins and taking in an early lunch, we did a little extra off-trail exploring and were rewarded with an additional find--aka the "honeymoon suite." :)

The trip back to the TH was uphill but not overly strenuous. Given the cooler temps, I didn't think I would drink all of my 3 liters, but I did. The trip description warns of the need to camel-up. I can imagine that would be absolutely critical in the warmer months!

After this trip, count me in as a fan of the Eastern Supes. I'm looking forward to more exploring in this area!
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