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Rogers Canyon Ruins
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mini location map2021-02-27
26 by photographer avatarJohn10s
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Rogers Canyon RuinsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2021
Hiking9.14 Miles 1,274 AEG
Hiking9.14 Miles   6 Hrs   14 Mns   1.92 mph
1,274 ft AEG   1 Hour   29 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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My first and only previous visit to Rogers Canyon was more than four and a half years ago, in June 2016. My girlfriend at the time was not thrilled with experience that day between the rough road, the heat, and the thick brush. By the time we got to the ruins, she was ready for the day to be over, so we ate a quick snack in the shade of the lower cave and turned around to hike out with without climbing up to the impressive upper ruins. She wasn't any happier when her vehicle needed to go into the shop for some repairs to the struts soon after this hike...probably not a coincidence. One positive from that initial visit was that, thanks to the summer heat, we had the whole canyon to ourselves.

I was excited to return and see the upper ruins this time, and I tacked on a quick stop at Elephant Arch along FR 172 on the drive in. I'd read varying comments about the road conditions but remembered from my first visit that it had some sketchy areas, and it sounded like some stretches had gotten worse due to washouts after the wildfires. The road was rough but manageable--there's one sharp switchback shortly before the trailhead that required backing up and executing a three-point turn, as others have noted in in trip logs, but there's plenty of space to back up at that spot. Others have also noted the deeply-rutted area a few quarters of a mile before the trailhead. There's a pullout just before that spot where a few cars had parked. It was definitely rough there--high clearance is absolutely necessary, and we used 4x4 for the last few miles of FR 172 but probably could have gotten by without it. Road conditions aside, it's a beautiful drive, and the landscape along FR 172 exceeded my memories.

There were already quite a few vehicles at the trailhead when we arrived, and we hit the trail just ahead of a group of five backpackers. There were pools of water in the creek bed and the occasional trickle on and off for the majority of the four miles to the caves. The burned area was obvious, but it wasn't as widespread or severe as I'd expected after reading other trip logs--I guess I went in expecting the worst. Unfortunately, recent comments about the crowds in Rogers Canyon were accurate. We saw multiple groups on the way in, and when we reached the cliff dwellings, there were three groups in the area. The days when people have to wait in line to see the ruins might not be too far off...

Between a gap in the groups, we had some time to explore the ruins, and I climbed to the upper cave. The dwellings there are by far the best at that site and are still reasonably well-intact, though many have commented that they've deteriorated noticeably in recent years. There are low walls along the entrance to the upper cave, one with a small window looking down at the ledge where people climb up the rock face to enter. There's an enclosed courtyard-like room with a doorway but no ceilings that has another doorway on the right side that opens into the largest, enclosed structure with a partially-intact roof. Behind that structure is the remains of another room with an opening into a deeper part of the cave where there are small walls and mortar inside--possibly a storage area of some kind. The upper cave also has a natural window that overlooks the lower cave/ruins, which are little more than piles of rocks that look like they were loosely stacked in modern times.

[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]

I climbed back down as yet another group started approaching the site, and I moved over to two other caves just above/to the right of the large opening with the lower ruins, but those caves didn't have any signs of structures inside. On the hike out, I took a quick off-trail detour to look for a passable route up to the "honeymoon suite" ruins farther up the canyon, but it quickly became obvious that I'd chosen a bad starting point and approaching from that spot was going to take too long because of the thick brush. That was one of two different ruins sites, separate from the main "popular" cliff dwellings at the end of the route, that I'd spotted on the way in, so I plan to come back soon and explore those sites up close.

We encountered more crowds on the hike out, including a group of ~20 backpackers, and we'd seen a total of ~ 10-15 groups of people on the trail by the end of the day. I even ran into two separate groups in my short off-trail detour near the "honeymoon suite". Rogers Trough seems to be one of the most popular "desolate" hiking spots out there...the parking lot had even more vehicles when we got back to the trailhead in the afternoon, and there were still vehicles driving up FR 172 on our way back down. Visiting in the hotter summer months like I did the first time doesn't seem like a bad idea. Still, it was a very enjoyable day--Rogers Canyon is even more scenic than I remembered, and I was happy to finally explore the upper ruins and locate two additional sites to check out on a return trip. The road conditions were better than I'd expected, but driving a vehicle better suited to rough roads probably helped with that perception.
Named place
Named place
Rogers Canyon

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Roger's Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rogers Canyon Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Small pools and maybe a trickle
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