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Reavis Ranch Hikes - Tonto National Forest

Summary: Two hikes are described here:
       A shorter out and back hike with a small loop.
       A long out and back hike to a nice canyon and some well preserved ruins.
Directions: From Phoenix take US 60 east.  Exit at Apache Junction and drive northeast on State Highway 88.  Follow 88 to the end of the pavement (about 25 miles) then a few miles further until the road begins a steep decent into the canyon.  Once in the bottom continue driving until you see the sign for Reavis Ranch on the right hand side.  Turn right and follow this somewhat steep, but smooth and well graded road to the trailhead at the end.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Moderate - a few sections of faint trail
Length: Shorter Hike = 16.1 miles
Longer Hike = 24.5 miles
Date Hiked: December 2000
Weather Conditions: Nice - highs in the mid 60's
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the signed trailhead begin hiking up the Reavis Ranch Trail on a smooth well graded path as it ascends moderately into the rolling hills of the eastern Superstitions. After about 2 miles you will reach a small pass after which the trail becomes somewhat rockier, though still ascends at the same moderate grade. This portion of the hike passes through grassy rolling hills up towards Castle Dome, the pyramid shaped mountain you see off to the right. The trail then passes Castle Dome to the east heads through Windy Pass (which as it's name implies always seems to have a brisk breeze blowing through it) then heads down on the west side of the hill. Shortly afterward you will arrive at the signed junction with the Plow Saddle Trail (6.4 miles). Turn right onto the Plow Saddle Trail (don't make the mistake of heading off in the direction that the sign is pointing, head 90 degrees right, walk 15 feet then turn 90 degrees left, you'll see some cairns and the trail). The Plow Saddle Trail heads fairly steeply down the hill eventually heading along the right side of a wash where a few Cottonwood Trees are growing, then down into the wash itself. After a short walk of 0.4 miles you'll come to Plow Saddle Springs (there's an old hard to read sign if you can find it) with an old concrete tank and coral (6.8 miles). There is no trail sign at this point, but the trail branches right (for the longer hike to the ruins) and left (for the shorter loop back to the Reavis Trail).

Shorter Hike: Turn left at Plow Saddle Springs. The trail winds it's way along the hillside, then up through a juniper dotted slope before joining the Reavis Ranch Trail 1.5 miles later (8.3 miles). Turn left on the Reavis Ranch Trail and follow it 1.4 miles back to Plow Saddle (9.7 miles), then follow it the remainder of the way back to your car (16.1 miles).

Longer Hike: Turn right at Plow Saddle Springs, onto the 5.4 mile long Frog Tanks Trail. The path winds along the hillside, climbs a low ridge before descending a fairly steep slope in the general direction of the gap in the cliffs you see below you. Eventually the slope becomes more moderate as the trail enters the trees in the bottom of Rogers Canyon (water flowing when the author was here). This area with pines and grass strikes me as decidedly un-Arizona like (but nice). A short distance after passing Hole Spring (with more tanks and a coral) the trail makes a steep but short climb up the right side of the hill, winds along the slope a ways, then drops just as steeply down into Canyon once again. The trail becomes a little faint as it passes through the trees, then dumps you into the stream bed of Rogers Canyon. From this point the trail bends left and follows the stream on one side or the other up one of the prettiest canyons in the Superstitions. After a few miles the canyon widens and you'll find yourself in Angel's Basin, a large grassy area with plenty of camp sites. Off to the right in the basin is a sign pointing back the way you came for Frog Tanks, the rest of the sign is trashed (12.2 miles). Continue up Rogers Canyon in the same easterly direction you have been traveling for the past hour (do not head up the trail to the right past the sign mentioned above). A few tenths of a mile up canyon look up on the left hand wall for the shallow caves and the Indian ruins. The ruins were constructed approximately 600 years ago by Salado Indians and are some of the best preserved and well constructed ruins the author has seen anywhere. This area is fairly popular and except for some carving in the beams of the ruins by ignorant ass wipes, most people appear to be fairly respectful of the place. Though I probably do not need to remind the reader, please do not disturb, touch or climb on ruins. Look, study, photograph, then when ready, return the way you came (easier said than done since you still have over 12 miles to go and some pretty good climbs ahead of you (24.5 miles).

Rating (1-5 stars): - shorter hike
- longer hike
The author has done the shorter hike once with his wife and the longer hike twice solo. Both hikes were done as day hikes. Most recently he completed the 24.5 mile hike in 9 hours pushing fairly hard the entire way. Most people would probably prefer two days to complete  this hike.
Maps: Beartooth Maps - Superstition Wilderness Topographic Map
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
Ruins in Roger's Canyon. Rock outcropping seen on the
way down into Roger's Canyon