|Circlestone, Arizona. Photo Taken: March 26, 1989.|
By George DeLange.
Circlestone lies about fourteen miles east of the Superstition Mountain and northeast of Mound Mountain, which at 6,265 feet is the highest point in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area, located within the Tonto National Forest. A Google Earth Map search marks Circlestone at about 33.477620, -111.134575. You can see the site on a Google Earth Map if you go to those coordinates. Of course, our map on this page shows Circlestone on a Google Map!
It is thought that the first Anglo-American people to visit Circlestone were cavalrymen under the command of Major Brown
Elisha Marcus Reavis, the "Hermit of the Superstitions", was probably the next Anglo-American visitor to Circlestone, when he moved to the high mountain valley below Circlestone in 1874.
He lived about 2 1/2 miles below the area, in his mountain home, until his death around April 10, 1896.
Today the place where was lived in, is known as the Reavis Ranch and is a trail destination in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area.
For several years after the discovery of Circlestone, there were many theories about what Circlestone was. They ranged from a corral for cattle to an ancient observatory. It is now pretty much accepted that it is an ancient Solstice and Equinox Sun Watch Station, built by the ancient Sinagua, pre-Columbian cultural group of people, in Arizona. There is a site called "Casa Malpais", near Springerville, Arizona that has a slightly similar circular structure. There is an other similar site in Wyoming; called the "Bighorn Medicine Wheel."
We do know that during the entire year, Polaris, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, and other night time objects can be seen from Circlestone.
Also, about 1000 yards from Circlestone, there is a sandstone cliff with drawings of Ursa Major and the Sun.
An opening in Circlestones wall does align with the summer and winter solstices.
There is a 17 foot square structure in the center of Circlestone which has some astronomical alignments into the square. And there are several others.
For a more complete description of Circlestone we strongly recommend the book; "Circlestone, A Superstition Mountain Mystery" by James A. Swanson and Thomas J. Kollenborn.
To Get There:
Make sure you have water with you. Then from your campsite at Reavis Ranch, go back to the Reavis Ranch Trail, FS #109, and follow it south past the old ranch house foundation and stock tank. Then go across the meadow and down and across Reavis Creek.
You will be on the east bank of Reavis Creek. Continue south on FS #109 about 1/4 mile to the 'Y' of the Fireline Trail, FS #118. Then go up the Fireline Trail away from the creek.
The Fireline Trail travels up and out of the Reavis Creek drainage. Continue on the Fireline Trail past Whiskey Spring about 2.25 miles further, from the start of the Fireline Trail, to a saddle feature.
To the south of the Fireline Trail, you will see the bottom of the knoll that the Circlestone Ruins sits upon.
The trail to Circlestone, which is sometimes called the Blackman Trail, is not numbered or on a map. Occasionally, there is a cairn marking the trailhead on the south side of the Fireline Trail.
The trail goes up through the Manzanita and Gambel Oak. Eventually the trail straightens and you will see more Alligator Juniper, it then continues up the knoll to Circlestone Ruins.