I said I never wanted to attempt the notorious FR172 to Roger's Trough Trailhead in the Eastern Superstitions. Back in April of 2021 I even used Campaign Creek as a means of accessing Reavis Ranch so as to avoid the drive up to Roger's Trough.
Between reading about the Roger's Canyon Native Ruins and the discussion here on Hike AZ, I decided to give FR172 a shot. Despite being re-graded earlier this year, the road is in rough shape. The last four miles where it splits into FR172A and 172B are exceptionally bad. I have a mostly stock 4x4 TRD Off-Road Tacoma. The truck performed excellent and never so much as slipped a tire. That said, I did slightly bottom out once on a rut. If you choose to do this road, it's a beautiful desert drive, but the road will make you pucker in spots.
Once parked at Roger's Trough Trailhead, I started off toward Roger's Canyon. The first mile and a half of the hike follow the Reavis Ranch Trail. Roger's Canyon eventually forks off at a signed junction.
Roger's Canyon Trail 110 exists only in the memories of some, trail maps, and Tonto Forest's website. The actual trail is overgrown with catclaw and other nasties. However, since this trail parallels Roger's Creek, you simply walk in the dry creek bed. For this reason, I'd only recommend this hike when there hasn't been any recent precip, nor is any in the forecast.
The creek bed is mostly packed sand. However, it does get more challenging with steep drop offs that I'm sure are magnificent waterfalls when the creek is flowing. Despite some scrambling, there always is a path down; you just have to hunt for it in some places. Keep in mind your limits when it comes to rock scrambles--you need to come back up whatever you go down. At 6'4" with long arms and legs, I have an advantage here.
The reward at the end of this hike was the Roger's Canyon Cliff Dwellings. I enjoyed exploring the lower cliff dwellings and even found some pottery shards. I was careful to leave things undisturbed. The pueblo in the upper cliff dwelling looks really interesting in photos. Aside from a glimpse of it from the creek bed, photos are all I've seen of it. The scramble up the cliff face to the upper dwelling is more than my fear of heights will allow.
My hope was to continue down Roger's Creek and to Angel Basin. However, the creek bed was getting more narrow and technical all the time. Daylight was of the essence, as I wanted to be off the worst of FR172 before dark. I opted to return the way I came.
Despite being an out-and-back, there was plenty of scenery to be enjoyed that I had overlooked on the hike in. The rough, jagged volcanic rocks that make up the Superstitions have many beautiful formations including needles, spires, and rock arches. And despite 2019's Woodbury Fire in this area, it never got into Roger's Canyon. There's still plenty of healthy trees and foliage to enjoy in the lush canyon.
I'm glad to check this cool hike and piece of AZ history off my bucket list.
Thornapple, sunflowers, daisies, Indian paintbrush