Sears-Kay Ruins was once a small village located north of Cave Creek, Arizona. Before there were stucco homes, Circle K’s and drive thru windows for almost everything, some of the earliest Arizonan’s lived on this site and farmed the land around it. The Hohokam Indians occupied the village approximately the year 1200. High upon a mountain side are foundation ruins of five buildings with about 40 rooms in each unit. There is one room archeologists haven’t theorized what its purpose might have been. You can stand in the middle of this room and perhaps come up with your own conclusions.
You must hike to the mountain top to reach the Sears-Kay Ruins—therefore this adventure is not recommended if you have difficulties walking or breathing. It is rated a medium to hard climb. The trail is narrow at first and somewhat steep.
Our group of explorers arrived at the Sears-Kay Ruins in October 2006. We met in the parking lot about midafternoon. This gave us time to explore and photograph the area and enjoy the one-mile loop hike in the park. Some hiked down to view the petroglyphs and others admired the majestic Thunderhead Rock. Some stood at the top of the mountain and gazed at Four Peaks and Weaver’s Needle in the distance—along with the Superstition Mountains, Red Mountain, and Pinnacle Peak.
At the top of the mountain, everyone sought out a secluded spot in the rocky foundations of the ruins and studied the sites. Daytime pictures of the wonderful view below them were captured—as well as the nearby architectural beauty of the ruins. They explored the many rooms of this once thriving village. The round room was the most intriguing. Being the only round room at the site, we all felt it must have had a special purpose. Some archeologists believe it was a healing room where the elders or healing men brought the sick for treatment.
After a hotdog BBQ break down the hill at the Ramada, guests grabbed another bottle of cold water and hiked back up the mountain at dusk to prepare for our nighttime photography of the ruins. A silent vigil prevailed over the village. The abandoned city began to feel very peaceful to all of us. As the sun to set in the west, the chill of the evening sent the investigators back down the mountain one by one. The last eight investigators and I made the trek back down the mountain after dark with the aid of our trusty flashlights.
If you go:
Drive east on Cave Creek Road from Pima Road, past Desert Mountain and the turn off to Bartlett Dam. When the road turns to dirt just after entering the Tonto National Forest, go another quarter-mile. There will be a sign pointing the way to a paved entrance road (Forest Road 261) and parking lot.