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Phoenix, AZ: Hieroglyphic Canyon

This 3-mile out-and-back in the Superstition Mountains climbs gently through ocotillo and saguaro cacti to Hieroglyphic Canyon’s mysterious petroglyphs.

Rating

The Hieroglyphic Canyon Trail makes a great family day hike. The climb is easy and steady, and the trail is rocky but not too tough. Hit the right weather window, and you can cool off in seasonal slickrock pools near the hike’s turnaround point. Just be careful around the cacti and watch out for rattlesnakes.
The trail climbs through Sonoran Desert cacti and far-reaching views of the Superstition Mountains before entering the narrowing canyon. After a short scramble, look sharp: petroglyphs are carved into the rocks above the spring. Archaeologists aren’t sure who left the petroglyphs in Hieroglyphic Canyon, but most think they were drawn between 700 and 1100 A.D., during the Hohokam habitation.
Mapped by Steffan Fay

To Trailhead

I-10 E to US 60 E/Superstition Freeway to Gold Canyon, AZ. Turn left onto S. Kings Ranch Rd. In 2.9 miles, turn right onto Baseline Ave. In .2 mile, turn left onto Mohican Rd. In .4 mile, turn left onto E. Valley View Dr. (becomes S. White Tail Rd.). In .5 mile, turn right onto Cloudview Ave. Follow .4 mile to trailhead parking.

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