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Sundad is an abandoned site in the Gila Bend Mountains between Phoenix and Gila Bend. The location can be reached either by taking Agua Caliente Trail (Agua Caliente Road) from Arlington for 32 miles or from Sentinel/I-8 to the south. There isn’t a lot of published information on Sundad but the interesting rock formations on site and cement pads make it worth a stop.
The site of Sundad can be split up into two small areas to explore. The first is the triangular section that connects the Sundad access road to Agua Caliente Road. In this little ‘wedge’ are numerous different rocks arranged in different symbols. The road is also bordered by a line of rocks. Symbols include stars, crosses, and even the word Sundad. Roughly half a mile down the lesser traveled trail are a larger cluster of symbols and some other ruins. To get to the ‘main’ section of Sundad, a 4x4 with good clearance is required. It can also be hiked.
The main site of Sundad is interesting. The dirt road running north/south is lined with numerous cement foundations. It is obvious that there were several buildings on the site at one point. There is also a lot of wood laying around and nails, further pointing to buildings being on site. Perhaps the more interesting reason to visit Sundad today is again, the numerous rock patterns. It is unclear when these were made, but someone took a lot of time to find and collect these rocks and then arrange them. Many symbols include piles of broken glass, headlights, and beer bottles. There is again “SUNDAD” spelled out on the north end of the ruins. Symbols include stars, circles, and other mysterious patterns. These are by far more impressive than the simple ones found along Agua Caliente Road.
The most widely believed explanation as to the purpose of Sundad was a tuberculosis asylum. It is estimated the site was built sometime during the 1920s. The warm, dry air of the desert drew numerous ailing people to this area to recover. This rumor however can’t be confirmed anywhere online or in any published sources. Whether it’s true or not only adds to the mystery of Sundad. This site is very remote and quite far from Phoenix. However, not too far to the southwest is Agua Caliente and its associated hot springs – a known and documented place for people to relax and recover from injuries and sickness. Perhaps Sundad was a stopping over point for people traveling from Phoenix to Agua Caliente, or even became a place for outsiders or the less affluent who couldn’t get in to Agua Caliente.
Either way, very little is known about Sundad except what is left today. A post office was never established here. The interesting rock patterns are the main draw for people visiting today. There are several old foundations on site and the hills to the northeast appear to have some mining activity. There were no registered mining claims within several miles of Sundad so perhaps these workings were those of Sundad dwellers.
Kingsnake. "Sundad Ghost Town • Hiking • Arizona • HikeArizona.COM." HikeArizona.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=19731>.
Thompson, Clay. "Sundad Failed as Facility for TB Patients." Sundad Failed as Facility for TB Patients. The Arizona Republic, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.