Did you know that just 15 minutes north of Scottsdale you can hike an easy trail and experience the ancient ruins of the Hohokam Indians who once visited and lived in the area? They vanished quite mysteriously in the 1200’s but left remnants of their life and lifestyle behind.
You can drive to the base of the ruins, park and in a short 5-minute hike be standing in the center of the ruins on the hilltop. The Sears Kay Ruin is listed on the National Register of Historic places and is located in the beautiful Sonoran Desert within the Tonto National Forest.
What’s left of the Hohokam’s homes are low rock walls around open court yards. It certainly doesn’t take much to imagine what took place on that ridge 800 years ago. Once at the top of the ridge it is clear that the strategic positioning of their habitat was for defense purposes.
If you continue down the trail, count on moderate difficulty. You’ll do a mile loop, but be certain to wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction since the rains have degraded one portion of the trail.
The views are exquisite with rolling purple and green hills in all directions, granite boulder outcroppings and with the recent rains the colorful wildflowers will start dotting the hillsides at this time of year.
From the far side of the loop you can be guaranteed not to hear car noise or any other manmade sounds… well, maybe a jet flying thousands of miles over head. You’ll see the snow-capped Four Peaks off in the distance as well as the majestic Superstition Mountains.
There is a picnic area and covered eating areas with grills if you want to enjoy the solitude of the space with family and friends. There are rarely more than one or two cars in the parking area but be sure to clean up after your party and refrain from taking any souvenirs off of the trail.
To get there from Scottsdale, just drive north on Pima Road until it dead-ends into Cave Creek Road and head due east. You’ll pass the Bartlett Road turnoff and you will wind down and around to the entrance of the ruins, noted by the brown National Forest markers. You do not need to pay for a day pass to experience the ruins, but anytime when entering the desert make sure you have enough water for the two-legged and four-legged members of your party!
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