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Spanish Ruin

Views from the Spanish Ruin
Walls of the Spanish Ruin
Spanish Ruin: Map
metates (grain grinding holes)
Spanish Ruin: Elevation plot
Views from the Spanish Ruin
hiking along the trail to the Spanish Ruin
Walls of the Spanish Ruin
Views from the Spanish Ruin


How to Get There
This hike is located near Payson, AZ.

To get to the trailhead: From the Phoenix area, take HWY87 North, leaving the city limits. Once you enter the city limits of Payson, you'll quickly turn left onto signed Phoenix street. Take this paved street 0.4 miles to a T intersection and turn right onto signed Mc Lane road. Take Mc Lane road 0.4 miles to Main street and turn left. Take this road about 10.4 miles to the end of the road and the signed Doll Baby trailhead. This road is mostly paved, but the last few miles require a high clearance vehicle.
Doll Baby Trailhead
Superstition and Mazatzal Wilderness

Hike details

3.60 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
The hike described is 3.6 miles round trip to the site and back.
2.00 [Hours]
We were hiking for 2 hours to get to the site and back (along with some time spent exploring the site)
Elevation Change
800 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
About 800 ft elevation gain.
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back


Best Season
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
Date Hike completed
May 23, 2021


Solitude Details
Very good solitude here. On a lovely Saturday morning, we only saw two other hikers.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
The dirt road is easy, but scrambling to the top of the mesa requires some skill. The out and back described here is a Moderate hike.


Be Aware of
cows, scrambling

Hike to the Spanish Ruins (native american site) near Payson Arizona.

Arizona is blessed with many native american sites that remain for us to enjoy even hundreds of years after the people that built them moved on. An interesting site is located near Payson and features not only impressive walls, but great views. This area is known locally as the Spanish Ruin.

From the parking area and Doll Baby trailhead, walk through the gate and follow the closed dirt road west. Looking up west you can see the flat mesa that will be the ultimate destination of this hike. The road/trail gains steady elevation and is easy to follow. After 1.4 miles of hiking, you'll reach a gate. Go through this gate (close it behind you) and take the faint trail immediately left of the gate that heads towards the mesa. This section is more difficult to follow, so watch for cairns. You'll reach a spot to scramble up to the mesa. Thankfully there isn't much exposure, but you will need to use hands and feet to get to the top of the mesa. From the top, follow the cairns across the mesa to the easily spotted rock walls of the site.

The site is pretty large and worth spending some time to explore. There are also great views to be enjoyed from this mesa. A bit south of the ruins are some metates (grain grinding holes) to check out.

Please be gentle with the fragile walls here and leave any arrowheads or pottery shards where you find them. When ready, return the way you came.


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