email us2 Cool Lizards Facebook2 Cool Lizards Pinterest2 Cool Lizards instagram2 Cool Lizards blog2 Cool Lizards twitter

Explore / Back Roads

Shoofly Ruins

Houston Mesa Campground

& Control Road Scenic Drive

2 Cool Lizards travel guide

Located in the Tonto National Forest north of Payson just off Hwy 87 on Houston Mesa Rd (Forest Road #199), the Shoofly Ruins offers a self guided tour.

After visiting Shoofly Village, continue north on Houston Mesa Road for a beautiful journey through the forest.

Shoofly Ruins and Control Road Arizona

Native Arizonans made their home at Shoofly Village from 1000 AD to 1250 AD. Views of the Mogollon Rim towering overhead to the north made this area an ideal location for the villagers. Shoofly Village is on the National Register of Historic Places and resides at an elevation of 5,240 feet.

After visiting Shoofly Village, continue north on Houston Mesa Road for a beautiful journey through the forest. The road passes through several washes: do not enter when raining. This road provides spectacular scenery as it twists and winds its way over steep terrain, through washes and past several small campgrounds. Where you least expect civilization, the community of Whispering Pines suddenly emerges from the forest. A fire station is located in this beautiful residential community.

Eight miles from the ruins, the paved road turns to gravel/dirt. You have a choice to make at this point. Hwy 87 lies 10 miles to the left and Hwy 260 lies 14 miles to the right. We followed Control Road to the left (to Hwy 87). Control Road joins Hwy 87 3 miles south of the town of Pine.

Shoofly Village Ruins view of Mogollon Rim from Shoofly Ruins

Archaeologists from Arizona State University excavated the site in the 1980's.

The original village consisted of 80 rooms, plus courtyards and plazas. A huge stone wall surrounded the village, offering protection.

The people of the Shoofly Village traded with their neighbors, including the Hohokam and Salado who lived in nearby deserts and mountains.

The main trails are paved and wheelchair accessible (small side trails are dirt).

Shoofly Village Ruins Mogollon Rim from Shoofly

The Mogollon Rim towers over the Shoofly Village area. Massive thunderheads gathering along the rim are easily viewed from the village.

Thunder rumbles and lightning flashes along the rim during the monsoon, which runs from July through August.

Control Road

Left: Control Road leading to Hwy 87 just south of Pine.

Take a Forest Service map with you if you plan to make this back road tour because there are several intersections and they are not clearly marked.

Be prepared! Slippery when wet, flooded washes during rain and icy in winter.


Drive NW from Payson on Hwy 87. Turn right onto Houston Mesa Road. Enjoy a scenic drive over paved road past the community of Mesa Del Caballo. Shoofly Village Ruins is approximately 2 miles from the turn-off from Hwy 87.

USDA Forest Service: Tonto National Forest  Houston Mesa Campground information

The map on the right points to Mesa Houston Campground.

accessible travel Accessibility
The main trails were paved and wheelchair accessible. The restroom was closed when we visited (July 07). Houston Mesa Campground has restroom facilities, potable water and showers, plus accessible sites.
travel with children Children
This beautiful area provides a look at Arizona's history. The self guided tour provides descriptions at each site. The restroom was closed when we visited (July 07); nearby Houston Mesa Campground has restroom facilities, potable water and showers.
travel with pets Pets
Keep your pet on a leash. Clean up after your pet. Bring food and water; there are no facilities at Shoofly Village. NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. Pets are allowed in Houston Mesa Campground.