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Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff Dwellings - 9 members in 21 triplogs have rated this an average 4.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jun 12 2021
staffaction
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 Triplogs 1

36 male
 Joined Feb 08 2019
 Chandler
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2021
staffaction
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   5 Hrs      0.90 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This trail is only accessible via high clearance 4wd and there is a spot on Cherry Creek road, soon after you pass Devil's Chasm that is washing out on one side and with a boulder on the other. It's a tight fit... I'm wondering how many strong men it would take or what kind of other solution it would take to move the boulder. If your car's wheel's have no road to ride then uh oh. There's a few branches protruding onto the road and it may not be a bad idea to bring some clippers if you want to avoid trail rash. This was on the case in the +-1 mile of Devil's Chasm area.

We went out on balmy June 12th.. It was so hot the flowing Cherry Creek wasn't even refreshing! There was *no one* else on Forest road 203 that day. It was pretty cool to be there when it was that secluded.

This is a rough, unmarked trail and the reward at the end is well, well worth it. We did not stop at the pueblo sitting atop the little plateau which is just west of the cliff dwellings but hope to do so next time. We saw quite a bit of bear scat on the trail. Hard to tell how old it was given that I'm sure the sun would dry anything up pretty quickly in that weather.

A top notch, hardy hiker who is good at route finding will do fine on this adventure. The elevation decline, then incline, then decline, then incline is a doozy!
Dec 19 2020
jillyonanadventure
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 Routes 9
 Photos 1,714
 Triplogs 147

40 female
 Joined Jan 21 2019
 Scottsdale
Ancha Adventure, AZ 
Ancha Adventure, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 19 2020
jillyonanadventure
Hiking6.41 Miles 1,733 AEG
Hiking6.41 Miles   7 Hrs   24 Mns   1.18 mph
1,733 ft AEG   1 Hour   57 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners partners
jharvey33
klfranz
Context note: I am an intermediate hiker with a decent amount of off trail experience; in my opinion this is a very difficult and physically draining hike. You’ll need very high clearance {we needed to use 4x4} to get to the TH. You start going on a very steep decline into a canyon/wash area. You’ll be navigating this travel across/around the creek for a while. If there is heavy flow, you will not be able to keep your feet dry. It was fairly dry for us so we didn’t have to get our feet wet. You’re basically picking the path of least resistance; bushwhacking or rock hopping, you can choose. There is a sharp right going up that we initially missed. This led to thicker, sketchier terrain fast. James went to check out and see if there was a passable way to connect back to the trail, but ultimately decided we needed to backtrack to find the turnoff. This cost us a good hour of time with route finding. Kara and I were running two different tracks to best help us figure out best paths, but they were still hard to follow at several times during the hike as this has no discernible trail. You are just traveling straight up for a long time; there are patches of loose dirt & scree that make you need to be very careful on foot placement. You then have to traverse across a huge area like a Boulder field. You are on an extremely steep incline walking sideways across here and it was super sketchy. Next it’s more steep uphill that is so loose that it’s one foot forwards and slide back over and over again; scree in various sizes is everywhere. After a final push to the cliff, we finally reached the dwellings! :y: There are multiple rooms and floors to this location and it’s pretty intact & views were spectacular up there! The only possible way to reach an upper dwelling is a sketchy scramble. You’ll have to hold on for dear life while scooting sideways and trying to avoid falling off the cliff. Then you will need to scramble {vertical} up the final push. It’s worth the climb if you are debating it! We enjoyed the views for a while before heading back down the way we came. The dwellings are beautiful so we were very happy to have seen them. The travel back moved a bit faster going downhill and not missing any turns. Getting through the creek bed isn’t any more pleasant going the other way - pants/long sleeves recommended or you’ll leave scratched up! The final trek up to get back to the vehicle was very strenuous and we ended in the dark, but thankfully we’d set up our tents earlier. Time to eat some food and rest up for a difficult hike the following day. Overall it had gorgeous views and great dwellings, but be sure you’re ready for the challenge and plan timing according to daylight hours. It may not be as difficult for an experienced off trail hiker but {in my opinion} this site needs more options/logs that speaks for intermediate hiking skills.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Some remaining orange and yellows

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pueblo Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
_____________________
Restless between adventures...
2 archives
May 23 2020
Pickles
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 Routes 7
 Photos 1,242
 Triplogs 61

54 female
 Joined Nov 21 2015
 Phoenix
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 23 2020
Pickles
Hiking6.52 Miles 2,149 AEG
Hiking6.52 Miles   6 Hrs   56 Mns   1.28 mph
2,149 ft AEG   1 Hour   50 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I have wanted to experience these magnificent ruins for quite sometime so I took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself! FR203 is in really bad shape the closer you get to where you begin your journey that drops down into Cherry Creek. This is also where you would start the hike to Pueblo Canyon and Coon Creek.
Cherry Creek was flowing and refreshing as we made our way along its banks before we started climbing. Getting to these magnificent structures wasn't AS bad as I was expecting but that, in no way, means I felt it was easy! There is clinbing, there is bushwacking, there is route finding and, as is common for me, there might be the tearing of skin here and there!
I think the bonus of this hike was, what I would imagine to be, some sort of defensive lookout below the ruins but so well camouflaged by the surrounding natural structures. Getting up to it was one thing, getting down was another, at least the way we did it. It was also obvious the location chosen for this fort was intentional as you could see directly across the way to Pueblo Canyon, Cooper Forks Canyon and up and down the creek. These people,for many reasons, were brilliant!
_____________________
Mar 15 2015
jameslcox44
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 Photos 2,789
 Triplogs 109

76 male
 Joined Mar 18 2012
 mesa,az
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2015
jameslcox44
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Thursday morning we gathered in Mesa at 6 a.m. to take John's 'power wagon' to see the Cooper Forks Dwellings. We arrived just before 10 a.m. to begin the hike in. Going was slow as we didn't begin at the best beginning point. We meandered among the grazing cows as we worked our way to Cherry Creek. We were delighted to see the beautiful rocks and flora along the creek as well as a 5 toed imprint in the mud that made us think we might be here with 'Bigfoot'. Glen thought it was probably a bear. What a disappointment! We continued over the creek and found cairns leading toward the dwellings. They were a bit sporadic and we did get off track a few times before reaching the dwellings. A worthwhile adventure that everyone in the group enjoyed before arriving back at Mesa just before 9 p.m.
Culture
Culture
HAZ Rides
Named place
Named place
Cooper Forks
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cooper Forks Medium flow Medium flow
Our pictures show that Cherry Creek was flowing well and made it a little difficult to find a crossing. No one got their feet wet, so perhaps it was more moderate than medium flow.
_____________________
May 03 2014
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 148
 Photos 22,171
 Triplogs 2,270

71 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 03 2014
CannondaleKid
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,251 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   6 Hrs   3 Mns   1.05 mph
2,251 ft AEG      20 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
trixiec
Having done Pueblo Canyon, Cold Spring Canyon and Devil's Chasm (twice) for whatever reason we had never gotten around this one so it was about time we checked this one off our list.

Our early start from Mesa meant no traffic to deal with so arrived at the Cold Spring/Pueblo/Cooper Forks trailhead in a shade under 2-1/2 hours. Due to our early breakfast we took just enough time for an energy bar and drink and with a last equipment check we were on our way. I really wanted to take a beeline south into the canyon and follow it east to Cherry Creek, but Tracey wasn't ready for that quite yet so we followed Cherry Creek road to the intersection with Cold Spring Canyon where you go up to Cold Spring/Pueblo or down for Cooper Forks.

We followed the old mining 'road' almost all the way to the creek before taking a more direct line to the creek. It had been so long since I had read the description/triplogs and only recalled something about staying on one side most of the way. So when it looked more open on the east side we crossed at the first opportunity (where we wouldn't get wet anyway) and it went quite well. But when we reached a point of getting wet, backtracking to cross, or climbing a bit higher, we climbed and followed the cow paths along a 'shelf' above the creek. Not finding a good point to drop down we continued until it was obvious nothing looked better any time soon and turned around. But this time, not wanting to backtrack any farther than necessary we were more likely to take on a riskier descent than when we hoped for something easier. In the end, it worked out fine and we were down to the creek and hustling to the fork. Most of the climb their was a pretty distinct trail but other times there were so many different paths and scattered cairns that it was easier to find our own route.

When we got to the part just below Peak 4143 (the 'hilltop' ruin peak) instead of continuing on to the cliff dwellings we took a direct line up to the saddle just north of the hilltop, circled around and climbed up a pretty easy slope to the ruin that appeared to be more likely an observation point than long-term habitation. Took some photos here then slid down the 'river of rock' to hit the trail and continue on to the cliff dwellings.

We ate lunch at the dwellings, dawdled for a while then hit the trail. Tracey didn't enjoy all the rivers of rock on the way down (there being more along the trail than our ascent route) but what do you do but keep moving. Ok, since it had warmed up more than expected we stopped at every shade tree for a few moments.

Once at the creek, for the return trip we crossed to the west side early and stayed there all the way until turning west at the mouth of Cold Spring Canyon instead of continuing to take the same route as we did earlier. We stayed in the wash boulder-hopping up to the fence-line which we followed to the gate. From there we followed the remnants of the road up toward Cherry Creek Road. We'd both emptied our CamelBaks and the extra climbing/rambling we tacked on was taking its toll and we were feeling pretty wiped out. So once we were directly down-slope from the Cherokee we decided to shorten the agony and made a bee-line up the slope. While the hike turned out to be quite a bit more than anticipated, it was well worth the trip!

I posted some photos on HAZ, the full set is on my site as usual. No videos this trip as I was paying more attention to other things like...
1. Getting used to and making slight adjustments to my new H.A.W.G. NV CamelBak pack. Yup, after 11 years of use/modifying/patching the old CamelBak it was time.
2. Getting used to using/adjusting/changing settings on the Garmin 62st. Not that I was ready or eager to, but my 76CSX gave up the ghost the day before this hike so now it was a matter of necessity. Still not ecstatic about it but by setting it to record a point every 15 seconds the trip computer was nearly as accurate as the 76CSX was so I'll deal with it.
:-({|= you say... :whistle:
I still don't like that it always seems to keep the last point in memory for the trip computer. In this case, I turned it on and cleared the memory, but all it took was one step and it reads 43.25 miles! (which of course is the direct-line distance from home to the TH.) Man! If only it were but a 43-mile drive, I'd probably hike out here every week.

Ok, so I cleared it AGAIN and we were good to go.
Fauna
Fauna
Centipede
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Dec 26 2013
Johnnie
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 Photos 792
 Triplogs 48

60 male
 Joined Nov 29 2009
 Gilbert, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2013
Johnnie
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
glutz
got rolling from the valley at 6 or 6:30 with Greg and Randy, although we made it OK its cutting it pretty close as far as light goes. I would recommend getting an earlier start or camping out there on cherry creek so you will have more time to goof around and explore at least in the winter anyway. that being said we took the normal route to coopers forks but returned via pueblo canyon, same way we did a few years ago. we did not relish the trip back up coldsprings canyon with all the boulder hopping. yes there is some boulder hopping but much less and it cuts a fair amount off the return. you have to watch to your left during the hike out for the wall of the canyon to change from rock to a steep dirt and rock ascent , at that point scramble up and you will magically be at pottery point. now going down that way might be trickier because it will be hard to determine where to start down. After my second trip to coopers fork I am certain now that it is the hardest hike of all the cliff dwellings most of the route is on again off again as far a following the trail so brush busting and boulder hopping is all part of the fun. I've been to allmost all of the dwellings in the sierra anchas and I have never been as sore as the trips to Coopers fork. This trip was to the recently documented mesa top ruin (evanshiker) that sits to the left of coopers fork cliff dwelling easily within sight of but a bit longer than a stones throw away. there seems to be 2 ways up , circle the mesa to the left and go up the back side or continue like you are going to the cliff dwelling to the right of the mesa and scramble up the hill from there. I went up the backside and down the side facing the cliff dwelling while Greg and Randy chickened out and took the easy way both ways. actually I got off trail a bit and got far enough to the left of the mesa that it was easier to bushwack up the back side rather than back track to the other route. On to the ruin. like any mesa top ruin it is in bad disrepair but was probably more impmressive than the cliff dwelling in its heyday. I believe when the fron wall was intact all the way across that the dwelling might have had 5 rooms across the rest of the ruins are harder to interpret but I suppose there might have been as many as 8 or 10 rooms total. of course all roof structures are long gone and any sign of chinking between rocks in the walls if in fact there was any is also long gone. its always worth the trip since the journey is usually most of the reason for going and it always means a lot more when the company is good. Just one more recommendation. don't do this hike in summer , we did it in October a few years ago and it really wiped us out most of it is in full sun so even at the end of december we were sweating quite a bit. we skipped going to the cliff dwelling because of the light but its not very far to hike on over there, it would be a great hike to go to both but as I stated earlier get an earlier start so you don't have to be rushed
Named place
Named place
Cooper Forks
_____________________
Feb 26 2013
evanshiker
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 Routes 16
 Photos 921
 Triplogs 41

male
 Joined Jan 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2013
evanshiker
Hiking4.80 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.80 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Other Ruins: SADJL-Hilltop Ruins; Cooper Forks Canyon

Back in December of 2012, my hiking partners, Audrey (my grand-daughter), Lyne, Suzanne, and I hiked to the spectacular Cooper Forks Canyon (CFC) cliff dwelling ruins in the Sierra Ancha mountains of central Arizona (see the pictures I posted on this site for the December hike). On the hike in, we spotted some "hilltop" ruins from several points on our trek, ruins which, at the time, we just assumed were part of the CFC ruins we would see shortly. When we arrived at the CFC ruins, it became clear that the ruins we had spotted on the way in were not a direct part of what is known as the CFC ruins, but stood alone. We could not spot them on the way out until we were at a distance from the CFC ruins where we had to turn around to see them behind us. We didn't have the time or the energy to go back and to try to actually find them. Another trip would be required - after we did some research.

In addition to pictures, I posted a trip report on that December hike, thinking that someone on this site probably was aware of the existence of these "new" ruins and knew a little of their history. Although several people responded to my postings, especially the last picture posted in the set, no one seemed to know about them. We did generate some discussion about the "find" which started us, and a responder or two, looking at GoogleEarth (GE) in hopes of finding a clue as to their actual location. Grand-daughter Audrey and Oregon Hiker did locate something that looked man-made and was in about the right area. With this clue from GE we started thinking about when we might be able to embark on a discovery hike to "ground verify" their location and condition.

Last Tuesday (2/26) provided that opportunity. JoeD, who had hiked with us before, joined Lyne, Suzanne and me as we headed out to the CFC trailhead - unfortunately my grand-daughter was unable to join us, but we'll get her there in the near future - after all she was there when we spotted the ruins on our Dec. hike and she did uncover a clue as to where they might be. She is an important part of the team!

It turns out the clue we had was spot on, although we did have a challenge in getting to the location defined by the clue. These "new" ruins (new at least to us and we couldn't find any work documenting the site) were perched on a small hill or knoll west of the CFC ruins and just a little north of the trail that is most commonly taken to the CFC ruins. I thought that the easiest approach to the top of the knoll would be from the southeast, climbing up from the CFC trail to what looked to be a saddle and then following the saddle over to the knoll. But I was out voted by my hiking team when we got to a point where we could visually confirm the layout of the terrain around the knoll - my team wanted to climb up a chute or gulley we spotted on the northwest side of the knoll (the chute separated the knoll from a "sub-knoll," or sister-knoll, to the north) and approach the top from there. Once we got up the chute we still could not access the top of the knoll because of the very steep sides. And the climb to this point caused lots of torn clothing and pierced skin - bushwhacking at its best ;) . So we kept working our way eastward and southward around the knoll until we were on the southeast side where we found an access route to the top - it was the one I had originally thought we should use, based on my viewing of GE. Ah, life is living and learning, but no sour grapes here.

Once we got near the top we found the remains of what might be called a hilltop ruin; it was not a cliff dwelling as such. There were remains of at least 5 rooms, all formed by walls made of neatly stacked rocks. Some of the walls were in severe disrepair, and no roofs, or remains of roofs, were apparent. Whereas the walls of the CFC ruins had mud mortar between stones, these hilltop ruins did not. The rooms were laid out adjacent to one another in a north/south direction, the largest being about 18x18 feet (roughly estimated by pacing the distance) and the smaller ones about 15x15 feet. Of the exterior walls that were west facing, the ones on the middle three rooms were mostly gone. These west facing walls of the two end rooms are what is visible as you hike in from the trailhead toward the CFC ruins. The back of the rooms on the east side seemed to be formed by the natural rock outcroppings on the top of the knoll. There was one south facing exterior door on the south wall of the south-most room, but it had no lintel or wall above it. This door was narrow enough that my day pack touched both door jams as it passed through. Unfortunately, I didn't plan well enough to have taken along a measuring tape and a sketch pad to make a more accurate assessment of the structure. We'll do that when my grand-daughter does the trip.

Not wishing to be presumptive, we have chosen to call these the SADJL-Hilltop-CFC ruins, SADJL being a pronounceable acronym made from the initials of our five first names (Suzanne, Audrey, Don, Joe, Lyne).

I have posted pictures from our discovery expedition here on this site.

Maybe this "discovery" will start the hypothesizing about the purpose of these ruins. Were they built by the occupants of the CFC dwellings? If so, what was their purpose? Was it storage facilities? The CFC dwellings have no storage space, so is this where they would have kept their Christmas decorations out of the holiday season? :sl: Or was it a first line of defense from marauding tribes? Other Sierra Ancha ruins have some similar structures near the living quarters, so this type of out-building is not unprecedented. If it wasn't built by the CFC occupants, who did build it? Was it built earlier than the CFC ruins? Was it the precursor to the building of the CFC dwellings? Now the fun begins. Chip in and help us solve the mystery.

Beautiful weather (cloudless sky and temps in the 50s), combined with a well-defined purpose, a successful expedition and great hiking partners, made for another memorable day in the Sierra Anchas. Indiana Jones leads a dull life compared to us! Oh yes, we did leave the gold goddess statue hidden away just as we found it. We just didn't want to have a large spherical stone rolling down the knoll toward us as we hiked out. :sl:
_____________________
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace. -- Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD)
Feb 03 2013
charlomechfry
avatar

 Routes 78
 Triplogs 93

male
 Joined Nov 11 2011
 
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 03 2013
charlomechfry
Hiking4.81 Miles 1,865 AEG
Hiking4.81 Miles
1,865 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Dec 11 2012
evanshiker
avatar

 Routes 16
 Photos 921
 Triplogs 41

male
 Joined Jan 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2012
evanshiker
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We've been wanting to visit the Cooper Forks ruins for almost a year, and thus complete our quadfecta (quadrafecta?) of the big 4 ruins in the eastern Sierra Ancha's (Devil's Chasm ruins, Cold Springs Canyon [lovingly referred to as the "crack house"], Pueblo Canyon and Cooper Forks ruins). Yesterday two of my hiking partners and I completed that item on our "bucket lists." My grand-daughter accompanied us and completed her trifecta having visited all but the Pueblo Canyon Ruins.

We left Mesa a little after 6 am and arrived at the trailhead at about 10 am, after a couple of stops along the way. FR203 is in fairly good condition, including the part beyond the Ellison Ranch. We found the Cherry Creek crossing at the Ellison Ranch to be the easiest I have seen it in my many visits to this area. Flow in the creek and, especially in the side stream that comes out of Devil's Chasm to be small trickles compared to other times - a sign of the continuing drought no doubt. The temperature was ideal - I could have hiked in short sleeves were it not for getting all scratched up by catclaw and worse.

I had studied the HAZ trail description and all the triplogs (the last of which was in filed in Oct of 2009), to see what wisdom I could gleen from them. We had been to the old mining road that crosses FR 203 several times so knew where to find the best embarkation point according to the reports. The only problem we (I) ecountered was that owner of the Xterror (me) we drove in forgot to lock the car and didn't realize that until we were down (and I mean down) the trail nearly 1/4 of a mile - so back to the top went the dummy (me) to do what should have been done before starting down. But hey, who is going to raid the car out in these remote parts - some of the famous cows we always see along FR 203?

We knew that Grasshoper recommended staying on the west side (the trailhead side) of Cherry Creek until after passing where the drainage for Pueblo Canyon intersects the creek. This was great advice, as the other side would have been much harder going. We started out following a track from the HAZ site which started up the Cooper Forks Canyon drainage but the climb out of the canyon to get up on the ridge that runs toward the ruins was a chore - lots of energy wasted here. It did, however, lead us to find a packet of maps and HAZ writeups that were printed out in 2009 and dropped by someone (in 2009?) near the start of this drainage - the contents of the packet were in very good condition to have been there for 3 years.

After reaching the ridge, we got lured into following an occassionally cairned trail up the ridge instead of the track I had. This trail seemed to meander around, but eventually ended up at the ruins - it sure beat bushwhacking through the catclaw and worse.

I won't keep you in suspense any longer - the ruins are still there ;). The ones farthest left as you approach, are in the worst condition, some with just partial walls still standing, but they get better as you go to the right (from the approach). My grandaughter entered the first full room from the left but quickly exited, warning that she heard bees becoming distressed and that we could get swarmed. But they must have calmed down after she left and we were not bothered, even when shooting a couple of flash pictures through the door. But we did not re-enter.

The part of the ruin that is the most visible from several points along FR203 and from a couple of points along the trails that go to the "crack house" and Pueblo Canyon, is higher up in the rock outcropping, and seemed too challenging for us to try to get into. At my age, you don't take chances that far from modern civilization. So we left that part unexplored.

On the trip out, we followed the occassionally cairned trail clear to the creek, which seemed to be the best option of all routes available. But where this trail enters the creek bottom would be hard to find on a trip in. So I will post my GPS track recorded on our hike out for others to use. I might mention that we saw some ruins up on top of the hill above the ruins we visited. These were visible on the way in and on the way out from a couple of points along the trail. These were not "cliff dwellings" but rather, looked like the walls of buildings out in the open on top. We didn't have the time or energy to try to reach them.

We got back to the Xterror about 3:30 pm and headed for a late lunch in Claypool/Miami. Another great day in the Arizona outback.
Named place
Named place
Cooper Forks

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cooper Forks Light flow Light flow
_____________________
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace. -- Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD)
Oct 03 2009
glutz
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 8
 Photos 517
 Triplogs 15

61 male
 Joined Nov 01 2009
 Chandler, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 03 2009
glutz
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   7 Hrs      0.65 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Left Gilbert, AZ around 8:00a, staged @ the 90 degree bend in FR203 about 22 miles up cherry Creek road from 288.
Started the hike @ 11:00a, temperature in the high 60s.
You can see the cliff dwellings from the staging area, about 1 1/2 miles distant as the crow flies pretty much due east (slightly north).
My friend and I had read several blogs and decided we did not want to hike the 1/2 mile or so back to an "old mining road near Cold Springs Canyon"...BIG MISTAKE! DO NOT follow our path over the edge. Take the extra effort and find the "old mining road" near Cold Springs Canyon. You'll save yourself a lot of pain and agony and possibly some time as well.
As for us, we headed due east and over the edge...and began to descend the bluffs/cliffs...bushwhacking all the way.
Dense brush, several 10-50 foot drop-offs along the way. Long pants, long sleeve shirt highly recommended. We would have been better served if we had rappelling gear.
After a 10 foot fall and a badly cut hand...hey john you have any bandages....nope... we're men, we don't need no stinkin' bandages...well I didn't need that shirt anyway... we finally made it to Pueblo Creek and headed down, east, to Cherry Creek. We traded bushwhackin' for boulder hoppin' I should note at this point that I'm a 49 year old father of 3 who has been hiking, and back country camping/hiking for 40 years, done 50 mile day hikes and hiked the canyon 6 times, and I thought I was in pretty good shape... Although, I did just go on blood pressure medicine...I'm trying to get into better shape, and off the meds...a little oveweight 20 lbs, but this was one tough hike.
East side or west side of Cherry Creek, didn't seem to matter...on the way to the cliff dwellings, we went up the east side and returned via the west side.
Be sure to cross over Cooper Fork Canyon when you begin your ascent to the cliff dwellings, while it looks imposing on the North Side, the south side is all but impassable/impossible...you'll see when you get to the ruins via the North ridge along Cooper Fork Canyon.
Just follow the ridgeline, on the North side of Cooper Forks Canyon...you'll get there! It took me about 3 1/2 hrs. to get to the cliff dwellings from the staging area. The views and ruins are well worth it.
There are 1/2 dozen rooms, some of the roof is still intact. There was a metate. The storage room even had a bat in it.
We spent an hour at the ruins and it took us 2 1/2 hrs. to return.
Follow the ridgeline back for your return.
Upon hitting Cherry Creek, and Pueblo Creeek, we debated going down to Cold Springs Creek, but it was getting late about 5:00p and we figured the devil we knew was better than the devil we didn't...we figured if we went far enough up Pueblo Canyon we would miss the sheer cliffs...well we missed the cliffs, but there was a lot of "big boulder" hopping and we still had a 60 degree scramble up the south side of Pueblo Canyon.
We made it back to the truck as the sun passed over the Sierra Anchas @ 6:00p, precisely 7 hours from whence we started.
A tough hike, well worth it.
We're headin' to Cold Springs Ruins sometime in November!
Culture
Culture
Salado Mano and Metate
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May 03 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
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 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 03 2008
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   6 Hrs      0.75 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Cooper Forks Cliff Dwellings

Arranged for a 7am rendezvous at the Gold Canyon "Jack-in-the-Box" off Hwy 60 where Hank (Grasshopper), Ken, Mike grabbed a coffee and headed off to Cherry Creek in search of Sierra Anchan cliff dwellings. Cooper Forks Cliff Dwellings was our agreed destination. With recent reports of high water at the Ellison Ranch crossing and an impassible washout at Devil's Chasm, I can report back that both were eminently passable. The water levels of Cherry Creek have returned to what I will call "typical". You can see evidence of extremely high water levels in the recent past by looking at flotsam and debris wrapped up the trunks of creek side trees about 3 feet!

We parked at the FR203 Trail Head and set off down the abandoned mining road trail along the north side of Cold Spring Canyon towards Cheery Creek about 11:00am. I can report that boulder hopping down the last section of Cold Spring Canyon is no longer necessary. A trail has been blazed on the south side of Cold Spring Canyon making the trek down to Cherry Creek a breeze!

Once at Cherry Creek, progress is slowed by the boulder hopping and debris from recent flooding. We slogged our way past the confluence with Pueblo Canyon and eventually found ourselves at the confluence with Copper Forks Canyon. Our destination was visible in the distance. In retrospect, the frequent creek crossings (and soakers) could have been avoided by staying on the west side of Cherry Creek.

At the junction of Cooper Forks and Cherry Creek, we found the remains of a campsite at the northeast corner, complete with fire ring and a 50 gallon steel drum barrel (how did that get there?). We found some cairns marking a faint trail up the ridgeline on the north side of Cooper Forks Canyon.

The loose scree is still as challenging as I remember from our first visit. Eventually we made it through the scree chute and the relatively straight shot across a talus slope to the cliff dwellings.

Once at the ruins, we unpacked our lunches and explored the 3 distinct ruin clusters. Sadly, the second floor from the middle cluster seems to have collapsed since our first visit. I scanned the cliffs and interiors of each room searching for evidence of rock art mentioned within the literature. I can't report having located any rock art at the site.

Having spent a good hour at the ruins, we made our way back to the trail head arriving about 5pm. Great time swapping stories with Mike, Hank, and Ken. I'm sure another trek to a set of ruins will be in the near future...
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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May 03 2008
Grasshopper
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 Guides 47
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76 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 03 2008
Grasshopper
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   6 Hrs   40 Mns   0.68 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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mattem1
Randal_Schulhauser
topohiker
For a 2.25 mile day hike that is a tough 3hrs 20min one way hike(with breaks & exploring), why would I rise before dawn, drive in my semi-open windy/noisy Jeep for 4 hours, ~23mls of which were on a dusty, washboard, high clearance/4x4 road..and..then turn around at 3:15pm and endure the same thing over again??: Why, simply because it was ALL worth it!! :BH:

I have had this Sierra Ancha cliff dwelling hike in my favorites listing for over a year now. Ken-topohiker and I had the opportunity this Saturday to join Randal Schulhauser(HAZ-hike description author) and Mike M. for this fun, challenging, and rewarding hike. See Randal's 5/3 triplog for more details.

I do believe that I enjoyed the hike in this special area in-along perennial flowing Cherry Creek as much as the actual Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff Dwellings themselves. The scenic views along this multi-colored rock & boulder creek bed, the grand smells of fresh Spring sycamore trees, surrounding and distant views going up(+1200') to the cliff dwellings and coming back down are just spectacular!

Some advise and two important GPS coordinates we would like to share with you:
When you complete the hike section down the old mining road/trail and arrive at Cherry Creek, you will be at GPS Coordinates: 33o 50.032'N 110o 51.612'W (this is important for your return trip to know where to leave Cherry Creek on the not so obvious trail up). While hiking north in Cherry Creek towards the Cooper Forks Creek drainage, hike/stay on the west side of Cherry Creek and try to keep from crossing over to the east side of Cherry Creek UNTIL AFTER you pass the Pueblo Canyon drainage area. Anytime after you pass this P.C. drainage area and AT or BEFORE you arrive at GPS Coordinates: 33o 50.609'N 110o 51.659'W, you should cross Cherry Creek over to the east side. Note: This last referenced GPS Coordinate(on the east side of Cherry Creek) is where the faint/cairned beginning trail takes off and up the north ridgeline of Cooper Forks Canyon to the cliff dwelling. As Randal notes in his 5/3 triplog, there is an old 50gal rusted steel drum and campsite/fire ring at this GPS Coordinate. Also, don't look for the Cooper Forks Canyon Creek drainage into Cherry Creek as your intended point of exit..as it is completely covered with overgrowth/boulders and not easily visible from Cherry Creek.

On our way back down Cherry Creek Rd(FR203), we stopped for 10 minutes to "re-set" the LEISURE TH sign for Moody Tr#140 that someone had knocked over..again!
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Wildflowers Observation Light
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
May 02 2008
topohiker
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 Guides 14
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male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 02 2008
topohiker
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   6 Hrs   40 Mns   0.68 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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"Everywhere is walking distance...If you have the time"
-Stephen Wright
May 31 2007
sneakySASQUATCH
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 Guides 4
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52 male
 Joined Aug 23 2005
 Pike National Fo
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2007
sneakySASQUATCH
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   4 Hrs      1.13 mph
1,200 ft AEG
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Had a day off finally got out of town with a buddy. Nice day good hike :)
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:o
Sep 28 2006
abfan1127
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 Triplogs 2

39 male
 Joined Apr 11 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2006
abfan1127
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   10 Hrs      0.45 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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See Randal Schulhauser's trip description.
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Apr 01 2006
Crocodile Ryan
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 Guides 1
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38 male
 Joined Aug 16 2005
 Tempe, Az
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2006
Crocodile Ryan
Hiking6.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking6.52 Miles   5 Hrs      1.30 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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the terrain isnt that difficult, do not cross the creek until you have to it is a much easier hike on the side closest to the "trailhead" if you can call it that, there is small sections of trail to follow here and there, wear long pants there are a lot of thorny bushes in the area
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An adventure is merely an inconvience rightly considered
Sep 24 2005
sneakySASQUATCH
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 Guides 4
 Routes 25
 Photos 4,176
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52 male
 Joined Aug 23 2005
 Pike National Fo
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 24 2005
sneakySASQUATCH
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   4 Hrs      1.13 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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:o
Sep 17 2005
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
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 Photos 9,967
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61 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2005
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   0.62 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 
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Went with a determined group of hikers wanting to visit these cliff dwellings. With Eric Stewart, Matt Bond, Denis Evans, Eric Cope, Duane Bigelow, John Day, Riley Kimbal, Mike Mattes, Ken Schoepen, and Wendy Jones.

Mike and Ken took a different route following Cooper Forks Creek way up until you could almost directly contour across to the ruins. We arrived at the ruins at 10:10 am, they made it at 11:30am. Can't say which route is easier...

Suffered a flat tire on the way up - rock slashed my sidewall on FR203 between Ellison Ranch and Devil's Chasm. No problems negotiating Devil's Chasm on the way in. On the way out, another story. Both John's Jeep and my F-150 needed to be towed up by Matt's Toyota Tundra!

Great time had by all. Plotting our next adventure - Comb Ridge maybe?
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HAZ Rides
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Sep 17 2005
mcbond
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 Photos 6
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40 male
 Joined Sep 19 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2005
mcbond
Hiking4.52 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.52 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   0.62 mph
1,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Weekend by Cooper Forks at Pottery Point.
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Oct 08 2003
pgschroe
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 Triplogs 1

60 male
 Joined Oct 06 2003
 Chandler, AZ
Cooper Forks Canyon Cliff DwellingsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 08 2003
pgschroe
Hiking3.00 Miles
Hiking3.00 Miles
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I have a few pics of the ruins in cooper forks in Cherry creek. You can find them on my web site under "cherry creek cliff dwellings". These are only the sites in cooper forks. The entire area is loaded with ruins. There are ruins in pueblo canyon, devil's chasm, copper forks - just to name a few. The area is extremely rich in salado dwellings. I'm afraid that they will soon be lost to us, so please help preserve the sites if you go. I'm planning on spending some more time up there this season and hope to post some more pictures.
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"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger"
Friedrick Nietzsche
average hiking speed 0.92 mph
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