2012 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2014 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL14 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLEThiking archive
Scenic Drives Archive Photo
The Salado Indians occupied cliff dwellings in the canyon from a.d. 1150 to 1450.

© Tom Danielsen


>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.

Editor's Note click to expand
Arizona Hiking Guide BookFrom "backyard"
hikes to overnight
excursions, our
Arizona Hiking
guidebook has
something
for everyone.
To order, call
800-543-5432
or click here.

Rogers Canyon Trail
There are several ways to explore the rugged Superstition Mountains. One of them is a hike into Rogers Canyon, where the main attractions are ancient ruins and stunning landscapes.

By Jen Bondeson

the Superstition Wilderness contains more than 170 miles of trails, ranging in quality from pretty good to practically nonexistent. It's rugged country, and you'll want to get a USGS map before heading out. Here's why: Between 1920 and 1986, more than 25 people died somewhere in the mountain range. This is not a good place to get lost.

It was a spring Saturday when my boyfriend and I headed out. Our journey began before sunrise, after we nervously packed the car, unsure of what was in store. For two hours after we left the pavement, our Suburban ascended a narrow, one-lane dirt road up a mountain to an elevation of 4,800 feet. Our tires rolled into foot-deep crevices and frighteningly close to 1,000-foot drops. If you're cremnophobic (afraid of cliffs), this drive will push you over the edge.

Eventually, we made it to the Rogers Canyon trailhead and got rolling. We'd been hiking for almost an hour and a half when I looked around and realized I couldn't find a sign to indicate we were heading in the right direction. There are 3.8 million acres in the Tonto National Forest, and my heart was beating as loudly as it was earlier, when I'd gazed over the steep cliffs.

A level head got us back on track, and we descended to an elevation of about 3,700 feet. Keep in mind, this 8.4-mile round-trip trail is downhill on the way in, and uphill on the way out, so save some energy. As we made our way into the wilderness, I slipped, for the hundredth time, on a pebble planted loosely in the path. My head jerked back, causing me to look up. That's when my eye caught something on the other side of the canyon — something that Mother Nature couldn't have done herself. Stones were piled neatly inside a cave that sat high in the canyon walls. Cliff dwellings.

The Salado Indians constructed the cliff dwellings in these mountains more than 600 years ago. Before they were sought out as a hikers' destination, the mud-and-stone homes were well preserved. Today, all that remains are the stone walls.

A recreation assistant for the Superstition Wilderness Area piqued my interest when explaining that although the trail's main attraction has always been the ruins, Forest Service officials now encourage hikers to keep away from the dwellings because of preservation concerns. That's OK, though. The ruins are just as impressive from a safe distance.

With the main attraction checked off our list, we hiked down to a stream. The path wasn't easily distinguished, and thoughts of lost hikers resonated as we scanned the brush for an empty clearing. The hike continues beyond the dwellings to a spot called Angel Basin, which is the most common turnaround point. On our hike, we never even made it that far. It was late, we were tired, and the deepening night sky, splashed with glimmering speckles of stars, said it was time to head home and avoid becoming a statistic.

Trail Guideclick to expand

Map of Area
Length:
8.4 miles round-trip, from the trailhead into Rogers Canyon and back. The trail links to other trails for longer hikes.

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation: 4,600 to 3,700 feet

Vehicle Requirements: Four-wheel-drive is recommended

Directions: From Phoenix, go east on U.S. Route 60 toward Globe. Two miles past Florence Junction, turn left on Queen Valley Road, go 2 miles to Forest Road 357 (Hewitt Station Road) and turn right. This road is hard to find, so track your mileage. From there, go 3 miles to Forest Road 172, turn left, and go 9 miles to Forest Road 172A (Rogers Trough Road). At FR 172A, you'll see a sign to Rogers Trough. Turn right and go 4 miles to where FR 172A meets Forest Road 650. Stay left at the junction and go a quarter-mile to the trailhead.

Information: 480-610-3300 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto  

Leave No Trace Ethics:
  • Plan ahead and be prepared.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly and pack out your trash.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Respect wildlife and minimize impact.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • >> Back to Hiking Archive


    Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

    Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

    Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

     

    Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

    Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

    Best of AZ50 of our favorite things around the state, including photography, nature, dining, adventure, lodging... [more]


    site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

    Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

    © Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.