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Reavis Ranch Backpack
Superstition Wilderness
May 18-20, 2007
by Michael Humphrey
  GPS Route Map 
Rudy, Dave, Roger, Norm, Michael

It is 8:00 AM after a long drive on a dirt road and five persons have their backpacks on, ready to start their hike into the Superstitions. Trail #109 starts from the Rogers Canyon Trailhead. This is the shortest with the least elevation changes trail into the old Reavis Ranch (Reavis is misspelled “Reevis” on the map).

It is only 6 miles to the old ranch site with 1000' elevation change. This is a good backpack to check out gear, especially if you want to do backpacking in the future.

The well-marked trail starts by going slightly downhill. It follows the Rogers Canyon streambed until it climbs up the north bank and stays there. We pass though a mix of desert bushes and scrub juniper. We get to a forest of Manzanita trees, where the trail splits between Reavis and Rogers. Here we take the signed Reavis Trail and start uphill toward Reavis Saddle. At this point we get to some Arizona sycamore trees, which mark the point where we get to start going uphill for real. Just a little ways up this hill, after we have started the switchbacks that will lead up to the saddle, there is a little unmarked trail to Mr. Reavis’ grave.

You have probability seen pictures of Elisha Reavis. He had a beard and looked a little crazy. He grew vegetables and apples at the ranch site and sold them to the miners in the area. This made him enough money that he could afford to have his picture taken. That made his picture one of the few pictures of persons in the Superstitions. He was also friends with the “Lost Dutchman”, so some of the Dutchman’s trips into the Superstitions were not to his mine, but to Mr. Reavis. The “Dutchman” Jacob Waltz was really German, but that is a story for another trip report.

We take our packs off and pay our respects to Mr. Reavis.

This is a good spot to take a rest, before continuing up the switchbacks. Mr. Reavis’ grave had a headstone in the past, but that is gone now. The rest of the trail up to the saddle is in the sun with only a few patches of shade. We get to the saddle and stop for lunch. There is a little camp site with logs for us to sit on, so this makes for a good spot to rest after the climb to the saddle. The trail at this point switches from desert scrub to pine forest. These trees provide plenty of shade as we walk slowly downhill.


We make our way to the junction with the Fire Line Trail where we have to cross Reavis creek a couple of times.

This creek always has water. Reavis Canyon looks more like Flagstaff than the middle of the desert.

We continue on the Reavis trail down to the old ranch site. There is apple, peach and pine trees here and we pitch our tents in a meadow.

We have plenty of time to look around the old ranch and see the left over machinery. We cut up a fallen pine tree for a fire, which does feel good at night. This area is about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix, the night time temperatures does get down to the low 50's. You can see many stars from here because the mountains that surround the ranch site block the light from Phoenix and Globe. The three highest peaks of the Superstitions are here Iron, White and Mound mountains. Each are over 6,000 foot, which is why Reavis Creek runs all year due the snow that falls on these mountains.

The next morning we get up and fix breakfast, clean up camp and put our food up a tree. There is plenty of deer and other animals that would not mind a change of diet.

It is time to start the hike to Circle Stone. This is a Indian ruin that there is some debate over its use. It has a clear line of sight to Phoenix and Globe. The wall that surrounds the site is an ellipse with a north east alignment, very close to magnetic north.

The folks who built this wall could have told us.
Mound Mountain
Mound Mountain is the highest point in the Superstition Wilderness.

We fix our lunch and start the hike to Circle Stone. We get to the Fire Line Trail an follow it around Mound Mountain. We come to a unmarked trail that will lead us up to Circle Stone. This trail runs steeply up the mountain ridge until it stops at Circle Stone.

We take the group picture next to one of the walls that is still standing after 500 - 1000 years. In most spots this wall is only 3 feet tall, but in others it is still over 5 feet.


We find a shady spot for lunch and we seat down and debate what we think the site was used for.

We also use the time to take out our cell phones and call. With a clear line of sight to Phoenix and Globe the phones have 3 to 4 bars of signal strength. It is time get back to the camp site before the sun goes down.

On the way back we run low on water, so we fill up at the junction of the Fire Line and Reavis trails.

We meet a few fellow backpackers here, so we talk about what their plans are and where they are from. Then we continue back to camp for dinner. Rudy and I finish off the beer he brought up to the camp site. We burn some more of the old tree and then everyone goes to bed.

We get up and some of us fix breakfast, while others pack up and head up to the saddle. On the way out we get to see some of the local wildlife which wants nothing to do with us. Rudy and I stay and make sure the camp site is clean and nothing is left behind. We catch up with the rest of the group at the saddle having their breakfast. We all rest here for the trip back to the trucks. At the saddle you get a great view of both Reavis and Rogers canyons, Reavis having pine trees and Rogers having desert scrub.

Don’t get rattled.   I live here.

We take our time going down to the junction with Rogers trail and make the left turn and start back uphill. It is not far to the trucks, where we left lunch. We have lunch at the trucks and enjoy the wilderness, before getting back to Phoenix.

This is an easy backpack where you start in the desert and camp in the pine forest with running water in the creek not far from your camp site.

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updated February 9, 2010