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Rogers Trough Loop #1 - Tonto National Forest

Summary: A decent loop hike in the central Superstitions with indian ruins along the way. The loop uses the Reavis Ranch, Rogers Canyon, and JF Trails. A small arch located in Hewitt Canyon is also described.
Directions: From Phoenix drive east on Highway 60 1.8 miles past Florence Junction and turn left on Queen Valley Road. Drive another 1.8 miles and turn right on Hewitt Station Road (Forest Road #357) which immediately becomes well graded dirt. Drive 3 miles and turn left onto FR #172 at a brown sign pointing the way to Superstition Trailheads: Woodbury 11 miles, Rogers Trough 12 miles. After several miles the road crosses a dry stream bed then begins traveling through a high walled canyon. Keep an eye out on the left hand side in this area for a small natural arch (featured in David Meunch's AZ photo book). After 9.3 miles you will reach a sign for the Woodbury Trailhead 1.5 miles left, Rogers Trough 3 miles to the right. Stay right on FR #172A and drive the remaining 4 miles (not 3 as the sign indicates) up this rather steep road to the large parking area and trail head.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Easy, one tricky turn, just follow the trail description below
Length: 11.5 miles
Date Hiked: February 2002
Weather Conditions: Warm with a good breeze
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: The trail starts between the two rust brown posts at the end of the parking lot. After about 5 minutes you'll come to a signed junction with the right branching Pinto Trail (0.2 miles), continue straight on the Reavis Ranch Trail (#109). The sunny trail descends gradually between low hills beside the dry streambed of Rogers Canyon, sometimes climbing up on the side, before dropping back down to the wash (watch your footing on the descents as the trail consists of loose gravel & is slippery in places). Typical vegetation in the area includes: prickly pear, sugar sumac, juniper, agave, manzanita, scrub oak, ponderosa pine, utah serviceberry, and cotton wood. After about 1/2 hour of walking you will reach a sign for the Reavis Ranch Trail (1.5 miles) pointing ahead and back the way you came and a new Rogers Canyon sign pointing left. Turn left at this sign on the Rogers Canyon Trail (#110) which continues down Rogers Canyon. It more of the same as you continue down canyon. In the lower part of the canyon, shortly after passing a rocky section of trail which travels right down the stream bed, watch for a prominent use trail on the right which leads up the hill to some shallow caves and the well preserved indian ruins (also described in my Reavis Ranch Hikes write up). Please obey the faded sign which urges you not to climb or walk on the ruins (particularly the small granary). Most people will probably use this as their turn around point - if you are one of them I suggest you investigate the ruins then take your break in the dry stream bed below, so others can spend a few minutes with the ruins alone. We, however, are ready for more hiking and less people, so we'll continue down canyon to Angels Basin (a wide and grassy area with many good campsites - 4.2 miles). In Angels Basin you will reach a signed junction with the right branching Frog Tanks Trail (#112), stay straight on the Rogers Canyon Trail which now begins a moderate ascent beside a shallow wash. The trail reaches a shoulder (with good views to the right) then bends left and continues climbing up to Tortilla Pass (5.8 miles). You drop down a short distance on the other side and shortly reach a signed junction with the JF Trail (#106) which heads right and straight. Continue straight on the JF Trail as it descends moderately steeply on a rocky path. When you eventually reach the valley floor, the path meanders up a series of shallow washes past a Superstition Wilderness boundary sign to a shiny metal windmill and small stock pond with piped spring (which had a small trickle when the author was here). This area has been decimated by the cattle which you will see lounging in the shade of the scrawny trees around you. Follow the cairns and in a few minutes you'll reach the signed junction with the Woodbury Trail (#114) (8.3 miles). The Coffee Flat Trail is one mile to the right and FR#172A is one mile to the left. Head left and follow this old jeep track steeply up to the junction with FR#172A (9.5 miles). Turn left and follow the road the remaining 2 miles back to your car, keeping a close eye out for trucks tearing around the blind corners (11.5 miles).
Rating (1-5 stars):
Between the photo of the ruins in Arizona Highways and the fact that a once rough road is now passable by the most roll over prone SUV, the Rogers Trough area has become overrun with hikers, hunters and boy scouts. On this trip the author counted 20 cars at the trailhead and over a dozen people at the ruins. Sort of a shame as this significantly detracts from the experience (for me anyway). The author and his wife completed the loop in 7 hours at a moderate pace, wasting a 1/2 hour by missing the turn at the Reavis Ranch Trail sign and heading up Grave Canyon a ways before realizing our mistake.
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
The little arch in Hewitt Canyon. The well preserved ruins
near Angels Landing.