SUPERSTITION WILDERNESS (3TV/CBS 5) -- This weekend's weather forecast puts us in the 90s, yet Debbie Hendricks of outdoor gear store Just Roughin' It, is writing about hiking in the Superstition Wilderness with maybe only a month left in the Valley of the Sun’s hiking season. Or is it?
The Superstition Wilderness encompasses over 159,000 acres of rugged land in the Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix.
It’s beauty and remoteness makes the area a hiker’s dream – hundreds of miles of trail, perennial water sources and varied elevations, making the area a great 3-season hiking destination (mid September through mid June depending on where in the Superstitions you choose to hike).
The Superstition Wilderness also carries with it a long history from early Native Americans, Mexican miners, American settlers, gold miners, cattle ranchers, U.S. military and even contemporary hunters for the legendary Lost Dutchman’s Goldmine.
Roger’s Canyon Cliff Dwellings
We are all familiar with the more trodden trails like Dutchman, Peralta and Siphon Draw. So let's hit up a trail that offers so much of the history the “Supes” are known for, AND get a way from the crowds.
Take the day (or a few days for those of you that love a good backpacking route) and venture to the Roger’s Trough Trailhead. You will need a high clearance vehicle to access it, but well worth the effort.
This 8 mile round trip hike takes you to a cliff dwelling that was built and occupied by the Salado Indians around A.D. 1300.
You can hike up to the dwellings that are fully intact. But please practice Leave No Trace principles – i.e. leave it like you found it because nobody cares that you were there.
Because this trail sees fewer people, and with all the plant growth, the trail will be overgrown with a lot of vegetation, especially the prickly types that Arizonans have grown to love. In other words, wear hiking pants. Plus, the streams are running so expect a few crossings on your way to your destination.
You will ascend just over 1,000 ft to 4,800 ft in elevation, making it a little bit cooler for hiking temperatures.
For you backpackers, spend a night and continue on to Angel Basin or spend a few nights and add the Reavis Ranch Trail to Reavis Ranch. You will ascend to over 5,300 ft in elevation to Ponderosa pines, perennial creeks, an apple orchard, Elisha Reavis’ grave (boo!) and Circle Stone Ruins.
As always, do your research and know what you are getting into before venturing out on any hike.