CHERRY CREEK IN GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA

Cherry creek passes through canyons, washes, forest and open grazing lands. Most sections of this creek were "etched" high into the side of the canyon walls many years ago to open the area to mineral exploration, lumbering and ranching.

This creek also has some amazing Native American history attached to it.  The Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwellings are a series of Pre-Columbian native American cliff-dwellings located in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. They were built between 1280 and 1350 by the Salado people. The Sierra Ancha is home to several prominent ruin sites known as the Devil's Chasm Fortress, the Canyon Creek Ruins, the Pueblo Canyon Ruins, the Cold Springs Canyon Ruins, and the Cooper Forks Canyon Ruins. Collectively they have been called the Cherry Creek Ruins.

This is pretty WILD territory but it plays a significant role in the Pleasant Valley War, that is called the bloodies range war to ever happen in the united states.

Access Points

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

From Payson head east on to Highway 260 to the Young Highway.  Take Cherry Creek Road (road 203) from 288.  Proceed to Cherry creek road.

Warning

This road is strongly recommended for high clearance, 4x4 vehicles with the emphasis on "high clearance" such as Jeep and All Terrain Vehicles (ATV/UTV). Further, it would be wise to include a winch and tow straps to winch boulders and/or trees from the road or your own vehicle back onto the road.


The entire area is "out of range" for cellular phones and AAA wouldn't come out here on a bet.
Road maintenance has long since ceased on the Northern half of the road, travel is at your own risk.
Travel on this road is not advisable during the Monsoon Season.
Long wheelbase 4x4's (Suburban, etc) are not recommended.

History of Cherry Creek

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

This 40 mile road passes through some of the most remote and inaccessible terrain in Arizona. Many of the canyons feeding into the main Cherry Creek Canyon are known to have centuries old cliff dwellings hidden high on the walls tucked under protective overhanging cliffs.

Around the year 950 AD, a new people, called the Salado, appeared and settled in the area we know today as the Sierra Ancha's. These people built their multiple family dwellings high above the floor of the 4,000 ft deep canyons to better ward off attacks from outside warring elements. Access to these dwellings is extremely hazardous but doable and they should be treated with the utmost respect when approached. Remember, this is our heritage, once it's gone, it's gone forever.

Other activities in the area included mining for minerals such as Uranium and Asbestos. Many of these now abandoned mines have open shafts and tunnels that can be explored. These mining areas are hazardous and caution should be exercised, remember, help is a long way off.

Cherry Creek Trails

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

For a list of trails near Cherry Creek click here.

Cherry Creek Fish Species

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Limited informaiton

Cherry Creek Fishing Strategy

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Limited Information

Boating Options

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

No boating options on Cherry Creek.

Cherry Creek Camping Options

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

For Camping options near Cherry Creek click here.

Hells Gate Wilderness Swimming Holes

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

For more information on swimming holes in the Hell's Gate Wilderness - click here