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Indian Mesa

Checking out the native american site at Indian mesa
Investigating the site at Indian mesa
Tarantula on the Indian mesa trail
wall at Indian Mesa
Alont the Indian Mesa trail
Crossing the Agua Fria river
Elevation plot: Indian Mesa
map: Indian Mesa


How to Get There
This hike is located in Phoenix, AZ.

From the Phoenix Area, take I-17 North to exit #236 (Table Mesa Road) and turn left (West). Follow this well graded dirt road for about 5 miles where it ends in a large parking area.
Phoenix Area and Central Arizona

Hike details

6.00 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
6.0 miles out and back
3.00 [Hours]
It took us about three hours to complete this hike, with about 20 minutes to explore the site and eat lunch.
Elevation Change
550 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 550 ft gain.
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back


Best Season
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • October
  • November
  • December
Date Hike completed
October 10, 2018


Solitude Details
Not too bad considering this hike is close to the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Expect about 10-20 other hikers.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
There's some route finding and minor scrambling here to find the native american site. This is a Moderate difficulty hike.


Be Aware of
Route finding, brushy in places (wear long pants!), and minor scrambling.

Hike up to a well preserved native american site near Phoenix Arizona called Indian Mesa.

The Hohokam tribe have been in the Phoenix area for over well over a thousand years. They left several, hidden sites that give the adventurous hiker some idea what it might have been like to live in the Sornora desert so long ago. The hike up to Indian Mesa is a great way to experience this.

From the parking area, go around the gate and start hiking along the closed road to the Agua Fria river. Most of the time, this river is just a trickle, but we had some recent rains before this hike, so it was a little more interesting to cross and keep your feet dry. After reaching the other side, use those route finding skills to follow the now closed road generally South West. The road stays in the wide open valley of the Agua Fria river, but starts to drift away from it after about a mile of hiking. From here, the closed road gets more difficult to find and can be choked with pricker bushes. Aim for the mesa (this is Indian Mesa) you can see directly ahead of you in the distance. The trail will go up a briefly steep deteriorated road section and you'll reach a clear fork in the road after about 2.2 miles of hiking. Turn right here (JCT_1R). After 0.7 miles of additional hiking, keep an eye out for some rock cairns (JCT_2L) on your left that mark a trail heading steeply up to Indian Mesa. Follow the rock cairns on this trail all the way up to the top.

The site is well preserved, with plenty of rock walls and pottery shards to explore. Please leave the site exactly as you found it. The views from this mesa are also impressive and it is easy to see why the Hohokam picked this spot.

When ready, return the way you came. 


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