Pueblo La Plata Cultural Site
Pueblo La Plata is a large archaeological site within the Agua Fria National Monument. One of the most prominent and easily accessible ruins within the Monument, Pueblo La Plata was at one time a village consisting of 80 to 90 rooms. Named for Silver Creek, a water source for the village and a steep hike away, it is easy to see that the location was chosen not for the convenience of those who had to carry pottery ollas back and forth to bring water to the community, but for the view. From the settlement, the canyon cut by the Agua Fria River can be seen wandering to the south. Fires set by people living in that direction would be easily seen and the inhabitants of Pueblo La Plata would know of the impending arrival of traders, enemies or messengers.
A massive stonewalled building, Pueblo La Plata would have been an imposing sight rising out of the mesa's semi-desert grassland. It is probably the first major habitation a traveler would have found after having climbed the rim, but all along the rim of the mesa there are signs of terracing for agricultural fields and possible fortifications. It appears that the approximately 3,000 people lived in scattered villages on Perry Mesa between AD 1200 and 1450. But they were hardly isolated. The broken pottery around Pueblo La Plata consists of styles created locally, but also some from Puebloan peoples, and from the Verde River Valley peoples as well.
From Phoenix, drive north on I-17 to the Bloody Basin Road (exit 259). Turn right off the exit ramp onto Bloody Basin Road which soon crosses a cattle guard and becomes well graded dirt before reaching a kiosk. Drive 8.3 miles to an unmarked dirt road on the left (north). You can identify this road by the earthen cow tanks a short distance down it. Turn left on this road which is suitable only for high clearance vehicles, though even then you may want to park and walk the final 0.5 mile, which is rather rough. Follow the main track staying right and the first branch, left at the second, and left at the third. The road ends at a parking area with a walk through gate. Walk through the gate a short walk to a register. Sign in and pick up information on the site.