Life in Carefree

Sears Kay Indian Ruins

Ancient Hohokam Indians occupied this area in the 1000s and then mysteriously disappeared in the 1200s. As evidence of their existence, they left remnants of their ancient homes all through the southwest. One such example is the Sears Kay Ranch Ruins just a handful of miles east of Carefree, Arizona which is about 30 miles north of Scottsdale AZ.

The Sears Kay Ruins, which stand on a hilltop about 10 miles east of Cave Creek, Arizona gets its name because it was discovered on the Sears-Kay Ranch which was founded in 1887. The ruins are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a 40-room set of ruins that once provided shelter for about 100 ancient Hohokam inhabitants.

Located in Sonoran Desert within the Tonto National Forest, this is a beautiful area of rolling hills, Saguaro cactus, granite bolder outcrops, and fields of colorful wildflowers that come to life in the spring. Sears Kay Ruins set on a high hill with views of the North Scottsdale valley. On a clear day, one can see far-away Four Peaks and the Superstition Mountains in the distance.

Hiking from the parking lot to the ruins is about a 1-mile loop with an elevation gain of about 300 feet. It is an easy hike but it is not wheelchair accessible. The ruins are now just rows of short rock walls that originally were much higher and built around open courtyards. But just stroll the ancient ruins, enjoy the views and imagine what life could have been like more than 800 years ago for the Hohokam people.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Sears Kay Indian Ruins is in the fall, winter and spring months. It's a bit warm during the summer, but there are a few ramada-covered picnic tables, cooking grills and toilets at the parking lot.

Directions To The Ruins

From Central Phoenix. Take Interstate 17 north of Phoenix and exit east on Carefree Highway. Proceed east through Carefree, Arizona on Cave Creek Road. When reaching Bartlett Dam Road (bears right), bear left on Forest Road 24 for about 2.8 miles to Sears-Kay Ruin Road. Turn east about a quarter mile to the parking area.

From Scottsdale. Take Scottsdale or Pima Road north from Scottsdale to Carefree, Arizona. Turn right (east) on Cave Creek Road. When reaching Bartlett Dam Road (bears right), bear left on Forest Road 24 for about 2.8 miles to Sears-Kay Ruin Road. Turn east about a quarter mile to the parking area.

Map To Sears-Kay Ruins

Sears-Kay Ruins Map

For More Information

Cave Creek Ranger District
40202 North Cave Creek Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85262
(480) 595-3300

Camp Creek Falls Near Sears Kay Ruins



This page was last modified on 22 February 2012 at 11:01
Carefree and Cave Creek, Arizona