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Black Mesa Ruins - 10 members in 29 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 10 2022
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40 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2022
FOTG
Hiking10.30 Miles 1,517 AEG
Hiking10.30 Miles   5 Hrs   51 Mns   2.05 mph
1,517 ft AEG      49 Mns Break
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1st trip
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I made yet another trip up to the Monument today with Katie. We checked off the Black Mesa Fort/ruins and then continued on to Black Mesa proper to check out an interesting site Larry and I had been a little curious about after coming across a few references to it and finding it on satellite imagery.

We had initially planned to approach the Black Mesa Fort by the suggested some users had posted in previous triplogs, but as we neared, I noticed the approach from the 17 was fully shaded and not overly steep looking, so we committed to the dicey pullout. From the pullout, we paralleled the highway on the other side of the guardrail for a bit, hit the old road and then started up an obvious ridgeline to the obvious break. A pretty good use trail took us to the break and the ruins are basically right there when you top out. These are a great set of ruins. Some of the best pueblo style ruins in the area for sure and what a view. I think the Perry Mesa archaeological guide includes these ruins as part of the Perry Mesa groups up there, but I would like to look into that more and see if I can find anything more substantive on the ruins. After marveling over the ruins for a several minutes, we headed north to Black Mesa proper.

We did not find the travel to the rim of Black Mesa, to be overly tedious and I think we took the most natural line, as it was dotted with ancient glyphs and sheep herder or cattleman graffiti from the early 20th century. After reaching the top of the mesa, we took a generally direct line towards our ruins site and then used the road under the powerlines to finish the final mile or so to the ruins. Travel on the mesa in that particular area is not overly tedious, however, the road was a welcomed relief and and we made good time each way on the road. The large circular ruins that we had observed from satellite imagery appeared to be something more contemporary than ancient ruins and probably related to ranching, however, the more contemporary walls may have been built from an ancient ruin as there were several glphys in the area, metates, a few pieces of pottery and maybe some signs of an ancient check dam or some other ancient/contemporary water harnessing project. After spending some considerable time at the site we returned via the same road. However, on the return we stayed on the road and did not traverse over to the same point we came up from. The road actually took us all the way back to where we parked on the highway and saved us from any off trail walking on the return.

A beautiful day up on Black Mesa. The desert was popping and in full bloom along the approach and the some wispy clouds and nice breeze made our time on the mesa enjoyable. Likewise, the off trail travel was less tedious than other parts of the monument. The gamble on the road return paid off and it took us through a deceptively scenic stretch of desert, we would have otherwise never known existed.
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The desert was in full bloom along the approach to Black Mesa and on our road walk return.
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Apr 11 2021
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female
 Joined Feb 04 2017
 Sun City
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2021
caragruey
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles
728 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Escorted a few friends up this morning. We started up the old jeep trail to the power line cutoff road then proceeded to bushwack up to the mesa. Sadly it was a huge undertaking as they weren't very strong hikers. After a short visit it was decided to go down over the cliff side as the heat had become unbearable. (My preference for out and back) nice but overly hot day.
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Mar 06 2021
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37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Black Mesa Ruins and Agua Fria Exploration, AZ 
Black Mesa Ruins and Agua Fria Exploration, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 06 2021
John10s
Hiking6.39 Miles 1,354 AEG
Hiking6.39 Miles   7 Hrs   10 Mns   1.46 mph
1,354 ft AEG   2 Hrs   48 Mns Break
1st trip
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TboneKathy
I recently learned about some ruin/petroglyph sites north of Black Canyon City that I wanted to check out and planned to combine that with a stop at Black Mesa Ruins, which I hadn't previously visited. I turned out that the area I planned to park to access the first ruins sites was on private property, so I had to change plans and ended up making Black Mesa the first stop of the day. We started in Black Canyon City ~1.5 miles south of Black Mesa and followed a wash most of the way before climbing out for the ascent up the south side of the mesa.

The ruins were visible up on the ridge for the majority of the hike, and as we got closer, I started to see a few pot sherds and a lot of petroglyphs on the rocks nearby, including some designs that looked like giant footprints and a flat, light-colored boulder with a swirl/wave pattern etched into the surface. The ruins were impressive--the layout was similar to the Perry Tanks Canyon ruins, with mortarless stacks of dark rocks forming the walls, but the walls here were taller, thicker, and much more defined.

The complex had quite a few rooms, a fair amount of pot sherds, and great views...if you can ignore I-17 and civilization down below. Like many of the ruins built on high points, there were small windows or ventilation holes built low into the walls, which was impressive here given the 6+ foot thickness of the outer wall in some places. Like many, I'm sure, I've driven by the Bumble Bee/Crown King exit countless times without ever knowing that I could look up and see the ruins from the interstate.

We took a break in the shade of the ruin walls and then started the "exploration" part of the day, moving in the direction of the other ruin/petroglyph sites that I wanted to see. We headed north/northeast across the top of Black Mesa and then made our way down the north end to the canyon below. Along the way, we passed a wash with some pools in the bottom, and the large, flat-sided boulders looked like prime locations for petroglyphs. With a closer look, sure enough, there was some rock art. One panel included a large animal and a few more common drawings, and I found a standalone petroglyph on the opposite side of the wash that looked like a stick figure with an oval-shaped head and antlers or antennae sticking out on top.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to reach the two other ruins sites, coming up just over a mile short of the location before we needed to start back. But the exploration turned up those additional petroglyphs and confirmed that the route I'd mapped from Black Mesa to the other sites would work, so we'll come back to see those another day. On the return route, we were able to bypass Black Mesa and saved some time by avoiding going all the way back up/down but had still to climb up and around some steep cliff areas in the washes. It was a short hike mileage-wise but interesting to see the ruins and explore more of the area, and we saw five or six deer, a turtle (dead, unfortunately), a lot of rabbits and birds, and zero other people :).
Dec 11 2018
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68 male
 Joined Jan 10 2014
 Fountain Hills,
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2018
GeeEss
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles
728 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Finally got around to hiking this ruin, but went a new (and I feel a better) way, hiking up a wash from Black Canyon City, then left and up. This is without a doubt, one of the more spectacular pueblos in the area, with very tall perimeter walls, and plenty of interior walls at 5' tall. Construction and petroglyphs are in a similar style to New River Ruins, so I believe this is probably Hohokam, rather than Perry Mesa Tradition.
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Dec 08 2018
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 Routes 98
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54 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2018
Nightstalker
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,398 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs   29 Mns   2.08 mph
1,398 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break13 LBS Pack
 
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SCA
Third time up to the ruins, this time with SCA, Rob, Jan, and Scooby. Took the long way up and back. Lots of vegetation but easy enough to dodge the thorny stuff. Perfect day for a hike. Stopped at Nora Jean's in Black Canyon City for some post hike treats.
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Oct 28 2018
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52 male
 Joined Oct 24 2010
 Phoenix,Az
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 28 2018
mt98dew
Hiking2.47 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking2.47 Miles   1 Hour   29 Mns   1.67 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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This had been on my radar for quite sometime. I was a little worried about parking, but there is plenty of room just before the guard railing. Got on the trail around 6:30. The hardest thing was making it across the barbed wire fence and navigating the washes. Once I gained some elevation I was able to pick a fairly clean route to the top. I was about 4/5 of the way to the top when I came across my first cairn..not that it was really needed. The ruins were impressive and I was surprised at how much they were along the edge. When you are driving along the freeway you are actually seeing some of the ruins from your car. Walked the mesa a little. Very green, ankle high grass, loamy soil. On the eastern edge i could see water in a tributary that led to the Agua Fria. The descent was a little cleaned than I anticipated. I was able to follow more of path than what I used ascending. Great day to be out. Cool breeze with temps in the upper 60's. No wildlife.
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Dec 11 2017
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52 male
 Joined Jul 26 2008
 San Tan Valley,
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2017
TheNaviG8R
Hiking1.60 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.60 Miles
728 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Aug 22 2015
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 Guides 4
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57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2015
cabel
Hiking4.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   3 Hrs      1.50 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Second time up there. Not sure what is worse, going up or the trip down. I take a tough direct up and a direct down. Got stuck in the arm with rusty barbed wire at the fence. Any day outside is a good day. Went early and it heated up quickly.
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Aug 22 2015
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 Guides 4
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57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2015
cabel
Hiking4.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   3 Hrs      1.50 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Second time up there. Not sure what is worse, going up or the trip down. I take a tough direct up and a direct down. Got stuck in the arm with rusty barbed wire at the fence. Any day outside is a good day. Went early and it heated up quickly.
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Mar 21 2015
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 Routes 98
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54 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2015
Nightstalker
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,082 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   3 Hrs   25 Mns   2.08 mph
1,082 ft AEG   1 Hour   1 Min Break15 LBS Pack
 
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Joined a Trail Mix Meetup Hike group for a return trip up to Black Mesa Ruins. Took the long way up the old powerline road and dropped off the southwest side of the mesa to return to the cars. The short way was pretty rough. There was a lot of slipping and sliding and loose rocks. I do prefer the long way for each direction. We are probably about 2 weeks short of full on wildflower season, but we were treated to quite a few blooms. Found a bunch of butterflies at the ruins site. Everything appears to be in about the same condition I found on my hike from 2 years ago. On the way up we tracked below my last trek at the end of the powerline road which had a lot less cholla on it!!
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About two weeks early
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Oct 10 2014
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 Guides 4
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43 male
 Joined Oct 19 2010
 Mesa, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 10 2014
Charger55
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   3 Hrs      0.50 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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It was humid and I was dripping buckets of sweat on the way up, but I made it. The reward is an incredibly well-preserved ruin with one of the tallest rock walls I've ever seen. The petroglyphs are interesting too. Lots of feet. Possibly meant to signify the blisters obtained by anyone who hikes up there.
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"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
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Dec 24 2013
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 Guides 27
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66 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 24 2013
AZWanderingBear
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.55 mph
1,400 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
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Been wanting to do this one for a long while. So why not do it on Christmas Eve?

Met some friends at the I-17 pull off and parked the vehicles. Worked out way over to the gate and started up the old abandoned jeep trail. We went up and up and up. Easy way to gain the elevation though. Finally began to bushwack our way up to the northern end of the mesa and then across the top of the mesa to the ruins. Lots of rocks just big enough to twist an ankle and plenty of thorny plants and cactus. Lots of deer tracks too, but we never saw any deer.

The ruins are impressive. Tall walls, well defined rooms, commanding view. I am totally amazed at the amount of work that had to go into this fortress. Just think of these people, relatively small by present standards, working to sustain their lives and finding enough energy left to collect and stack all these rocks. The caloric investment alone is enormous.

Had lunch and admired the views. Seems there is always great conversation when on one of these little adventures.

Started back and did some little side explorations. Near N34 07.025 W112 07.879 there are large trees in a wash. I scrambled around and found a nice seep, which in wetter times is likely a spring. While I was doing that our group found an area of pottery shards at the above location. We suspect there was once a dwelling or perhaps an area where food was gathered or prepared. Didn't notice and particular rock formations that might have been a structure.

Always fun to go explore these old sites. Great hike. Tough footing, so you definitely work for it. Now to head home to some nog and presents. Merry Christmas all you HAZers!
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Mar 23 2013
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 Routes 98
 Photos 6,093
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54 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 23 2013
Nightstalker
Hiking7.20 Miles 1,624 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   4 Hrs   58 Mns   1.76 mph
1,624 ft AEG      52 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
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I've been wanting to do this hike for a couple of years now. One reason was to see the ruins, the other was to check out the old road I could see from I-17. I decided late last night, after flipping between Ford Canyon and Thompson Peak, that today would finally be the day to tackle this hike.

I parked just north of MP 245 on I-17 in a large clearing on the east side of the highway. The parking spot afforded some privacy from the passing traffic, out of site, out of mind. I followed the highway a short distance north to the first of two gates into the National Monument. While both gates were locked, the first easily allowed access under the barbed wire or climbing over the gate. This puts you on an old road that generally follows the high tension wires overhead. There is two splits along the way, just bear right at each. After about 1.75 miles it will be time to leave the road and start your cross country journey towards the ruins. I followed the GPS track that HansenAZ posted from this point to the ruins. You pretty much have to pick your best line to avoid the abundant cholla and prickly pear cactus EVERYWHERE. Once you get up on the final mesa, you'll get a break from the cactus. You'll be able to see the ruins for quite some distance away, just keep making your way in that direction. The ruins are amazing! You'll have to do a little hunting to find the glyphs, but they were where I was expecting them. On the return, I just headed towards a cell phone tower off in the distance and then towards the power line tower where you return to the old road. There is great views along the whole trail!
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Nov 03 2012
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69 male
 Joined Apr 06 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 03 2012
Hansenaz
Hiking8.40 Miles 1,600 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   5 Hrs   15 Mns   1.60 mph
1,600 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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I took the "scenic route" to Black Mesa Ruins. I parked at the Bumble Bee exit and went cross-country up and across the mesa approaching the ruin from the rear.

It's not very scenic at the beginning as I had to walk up the I-17 on-ramp until the walls of the hill cut were suitable to get up. Also the barb wire fence a little further up is well constructed and not so easy to get by. But it's about 20min to the mesa rim and then it's a matter of picking a trajectory that gets to the semi-isolated far southern edge of the mesa and the fort.

I walked mainly the "local" southern edge of the rim looking for anything interesting but didn't see much, just a lot of prickly pears. Easiest access to the semi-isolated far southern edge is via a saddle. This was an interesting passage, the prickly pears giving way to teddy bears and ocotillos, and I came across some interesting modern petroglyphs left (I think) by Basque shepherds from the early 1900's.

The fort itself was very impressive with tall walls and well-defined rooms. On the cliff band below I found some nice petroglyphs.

On the way back I decided to cut the dogleg and took a high traverse over to a jeep road I could see (walking the road is quite a bit easier than bushwacking the mesa). While getting to the road I startled a group of javalina and I also went through an area with a lot of pottery shards - though I didn't notice a ruin which would probably have been hidden by the shrubs. The road, apparently a service road for the power lines, switchbacked up to the mesa and then it was again cross country back to the car.
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Oct 25 2012
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 Photos 8
 Triplogs 1

55 female
 Joined Oct 26 2012
 Gatlinburg, TN
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 25 2012
LisaMusicLady
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   0.75 mph
728 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
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1st trip
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We followed the directions posted on this site by Joe. However, we approached by sliding under the fence just north of the parking area, then trecking straight up with our sites on the south side of the Mesa. Good Grip hiking shoes are recommended. The petroglyphs are on the large rock facing the ruins (South Side). As noted, there ins not an actual trail, a true Arizona Adventure awaits. We hiked in late October , so it was pleasant weather. It was obvious that these ruins are very "Seldome Seen" which made this hike extra special. We had packed a lunch and had a nice picnic at the ruins as well.
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Dec 14 2011
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 Guides 1
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52 male
 Joined Jul 26 2008
 San Tan Valley,
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 14 2011
TheNaviG8R
Hiking1.90 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.90 Miles
728 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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May 08 2010
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 Photos 5
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55 male
 Joined Feb 03 2010
 Cave Creek, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 08 2010
dgoodhart
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   1 Hour      1.50 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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Dec 08 2009
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44 female
 Joined Oct 13 2007
 Loveland, CO
Pueblo La Plata RuinsCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2009
hhwolf14
Hiking4.50 Miles 730 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles
730 ft AEG
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Muddy trek out to the main pueblo, which is well preserved, with lots of potsherds in and around the ruin. Also headed out to the fort on the western tip. The road is in great shape, no problems navigating. Total milage includes a side trip to Black Mesa ruins, which is quite the bushwhack, but very sweet to see so many intact and tall walls. Nice and easy hiking, perfect for flu recovery!!
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Nov 29 2009
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 Guides 4
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57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 29 2009
cabel
Hiking5.00 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   3 Hrs      1.67 mph
728 ft AEG
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What a great bushwack climb. The ruins are some of the best walls that I have seen. Plenty of pottery shards and petroglyphs. Temps droped and rain was comming in fast so I left the top. Would have been great pictures but I left the camera in the truck. I have to go back to this one!
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Oct 24 2009
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65 male
 Joined Jan 24 2007
 Scottsdale, AZ
Black Mesa RuinsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 24 2009
Morgan
Hiking1.50 Miles 728 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   1.00 mph
728 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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This is a great hike if you wish to experience Indian ruins without a long drive or hike. Once you find the turnoff off I-17 you will see your goal on top of the mesa to the east.
After climbing over or going under the fence, continue to make your way up the hill with the cliff as your guide. It is easier to actually acquire the cliff about 50 yards north of the point of the cliff or otherwise you will be experience the joy of scaling a cliff.
Once on top, enjoy the ruins and the viewss. By sure to descend the cliff south of the ruins and look for petroglyphs amoung the rocks.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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