Rogers Canyon – Superstition Mountains – AZ (12.23.16)

Rogers Canyon, from the cave that was home to the Salado Indians 600 years ago

The Superstitions is such a special place. It is so rugged, raw, and the depths of which are hardly explored! My buddy Jason and I decided to do a nice day hike and hopefully see some Indian ruins in the process. The road to Rodgers Trough trailhead is an adventure all in its own. We headed out the night before in hopes to reach the trailhead, but we were thwarted by the Queen Creek running pretty deep from all the recent rain we had been getting.

The foggy drive in

We decided to camp for the night and wake in the morning in hopes that the creek would have gone down a bit, and the dirt road (which was undoubtedly a sloppy soup) could dry out a bit. We woke early, fired up the van, and headed back to the crossing. It was much better at this point and the rest of the drive to the trailhead went smoothly (although the road is anything but).

Wilderness baby! Just like home, time to get moving!

The sky threatened rain, and the clouds looked unwelcoming as we drove further into the heart of the Superstitions. After an hour or more we finally arrived at the trailhead. W grabbed our packs and rain gear and set out on the trail. Although it was sprinkling slightly it was a pretty nice day to hike. It didn’t take long before the dew covered trail side plants soaked our legs and pants. We trekked on further into the canyon until being dumped in the bottom where a small creek was running. We followed the trail, hopping back and forth until the canyon headed up and over the next hill. We made the junction for Rodger Canyon and we paused to admire the sign before headed west away from the AZT.

Look at those fresh signs, Rogers Canyon and Reavis Ranch trail 109 junction
Where are we going again?!

The trail was in pretty good condition despite the rain. We trekked on startling up a few deer and birds as we hiked. What a nice day, the overcast and cool temps were welcome as we pushed further. Finally after about 5 miles we reached our destination, the Salado Indian Ruins. I had been to this site before, but it was a bit of a surprise for Jason. We checked out the structures that stood for 600 years in total awe. We imagined what it was like to live in that time, what it took to survive there, how many people were in that small cliff dwelling, and of course, what actually happened to them.

Jason making the scramble to the first glimpse of the large ruin up top
Ruin from the back of the cave
picture stitching wasn’t perfect, but hey here is 1 more view

We hung out in the dwellings for some time, had a snack, enjoyed the views, and finally the fog and the gloomy clouds began to give way to bluebird skies. The structures themselves were increduble. How the indians lugged that much rock, logs, and dirt up into the high cave was beyond me. I wondered how long it took them to complete just 1 room of the structure. How much food they would have had to gather just to feed the workers that labored on for days on end, perhaps months, to complete it. Thier fingerprints were frozen in time with the mud caked walls of the ruin. We could have stayed in the canyon forever, but we decided to get moving, back the way we came, towards the trailhead.

Finger prints frozen in time
Still holding strong 600 years later!

Back to creek hopping we went following the twisting trail back and forth heading out of the canyon. We turned a corner and 30 feet from us stood a huge 8 point buck. As soon as he saw us come into view, he and the doe with him turned and like lighting bolted up the canyon walls. It is always awesome to have that chance with nature encounters in the wild.

Once the fog and rain cleared it made way for a beautiful drive out
Who wants to go splashing?!

We pushed back to the trailhead, loaded back up in the van and drove back up the muddy dirt road towards phoenix. The sunset and the views on the way back were so incredible; pictures can hardly do it justice. Sometimes its hard to imagine a life without the amenities of the modern world: cars, smartphones, grocery stores. Its nice to come to places like this and be reminded to stay humble and grateful for what you have. Another awesome trek in the beautiful Superstitions was safely complete.

Sky of fire!
  • ruin roof assembly, Large beams, small support, hay covering, mud and rock on top
  • AZT baby!


Rodgers Canyon, Superstition Moutnains


  • Weather: Hi 60s, Low 40s, Cloudy, Rainy
  • Water: 2.0 liters
  • Food: 1 Cliff Builders Bar, 1 Cliff Bar, 1 apple, 1 powerbar, bag of Mediterranean vegitable chips
  • Time: 6 hours
  • Distance: 10 miles Round Trip
  • Accumulated Gain: 1,100 feet


  • Mule Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)
  • SPOT Tracker


  • Cotton Handkerchief
  • Smart Wool Long sleeve shirt 195
  • Smart Wool beanie
  • Nike Running Shorts
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
  • Darn Tough Medium Wool Sox
  • Patagonia rain jacket