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Hike the Hieroglyphic Trail

Gold Canyon, Arizona

5.0/5
based on 9 reviews

Details

Distance

3 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Description

Added by Breanne McNitt

Easy hike to view Indian Petroglyphs and hang out next to seasonal pools.

This hike is a great beginner hike for those who want to experience the beauty of the Superstitions. I suggest going early in the morning because this trail gets very crowded later in the day (especially on weekends).

To get to the trailhead from US60, turn north onto Kings Ranch Road where you will begin the winding path through the neighborhoods.  From Kings Ranch Road, turn east on Baseline Ave, north on Mohican Road, west on Valley View Drive, north on Whitetail Road, and east on Cloudview Ave until it comes to a dead end at the trailhead parking lot.

Start off by entering through the gate and then follow the Hieroglyphic Trail at any intersections you come to.  You will pass through a few gates, so make sure to lock them behind you so no cattle accidentally escape.  The trail goes up a few switchbacks, and then heads into the canyon for about 1.5 miles.  You will then reach the water, and if you look across the pools, you will see the rock walls lined with petroglyphs.  (Yes, this trail is named hieroglyphic trail, but since hieroglyphs are Egyptian writings, the pictures found here are actually petroglyphs).

If you turn around to the direction you came from, you will also be rewarded with beautiful views of the valley bellow.

Spend some time by the water, and make sure to enjoy the petroglyphs from a distance (Leave No Trace!).  Once you've had your fill, head down the trail the direction you came, and after 1.5 miles you'll be back at your car again.

If you want a more challenging hike, check out the Hike to Peak 5057 via Hieroglyphic Trail

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Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

I would definitely recommend taking this hike and using the trail frequently if you're in the area. It’s amazing how someplace so gorgeous and historic can remain so untouched in modern day America. The end of the hike, which is a perfectly average/moderate workout at the most, leaves you with the most memorable part of the trek. As the name of the trail suggests, ancient natives carved hieroglyphics into the rock walls adjacent to the small stream and pond. Incredibly, most of the carvings are still undamaged and one particularly of the Kokopelli is stunningly detailed, especially for having been chiseled into the stone some 1500 years ago. It actually gave me faith in humanity that nobody (at least from what I could tell) has defaced the ancient artwork. The end of the hike can be reached within a couple hours if you take your time and the finale alone could make the hike worth it, but for me, the most enjoyable section of the hike was the entire part leading up to the “end.” It's unique because this hike doesn't take you all that far up elevation wise at all, and since the entire hike leads you to the base of the Supers and not really up into them, you only climb 6-700 feet in elevation. What makes that nice is there is virtually nothing in the landscape to obstruct your view of the gorgeous desert expanse on your view on the way up, yet turning around gives you another gorgeous view of the whole east valley area, where on every day I’ve ever hiked this route, the skies were always clear and the visibility was breathtaking. The mighty Saguaro, some easily measuring 40-60 feet in height, innumerably dot the landscape and almost seem to watch over the goings on like ancient sages of majestic untold wisdom. Saguaro are truly some of the most fascinating living creatures of Earth’s varied nature. All in all, the hike is quite easy going in the cool months (don't hike in the summer; just don't), and a view of colorful beauty can be met in every direction. One final suggestion: do yourself the favor of timing your climb so that your descent back coincides with sunset. Arizona is already a treasure trove of sunsets, but the beauty of the landscape at dusk is awe inspiring, because the sky not only lights up some kind of fiery wonderful, but our sinking star does something magical with the Sonoran technicolor landscape. It's as if the laws of nature are suspended because every shade of pink, purple, and reddish orange are cast over the region, and if you're lucky, you may see one of those rare Sonoran sunsets where our sky really catches fire. Trail colors so surreally vivid and intense, I wondered if it was the only place where neon pink and hot purple could break all the laws of nature and appear on our palate. It’s not unlikely to find your spirituality greatly entertained here, if not strengthened. Maybe you will be one of the lucky few who come here searching for something and end up accidentally finding what they’re looking for.

This is a favorite hike for experiencing the desert without driving too far out of town. The end rewards you with a seasonal stream/waterfall and scrambling around the boulders at the end is always fun.

If you haven’t trained in the heat, only go in the cooler months (AZ summers are brutal). But when it’s nice out, this trail his super popular. Really beautiful!

The Hieroglyphic Trail is a popular hike within the Superstition Wilderness. The parking lot fills up quickly so be there early to grab a spot. Do not park along the road as you will be ticketed or towed. The canyon full of petroglyphs is quite impressive. During the cooler months there is often water flowing through the creek bed with a waterfall just below the petroglyphs. Always remember to look at the carvings but don't tough to preserve them for generations to come!!

I love this trail, it’s one of my favorites. It’s not too hard but you definitely feel it work your muscles.

This is a perfect trail if you are wanting to just get out of the house and see something pretty without too much exertion. The length is just short enough and the elevation is mild enough that this trail could be ran with little difficulty as well.

We had a blast! Very kid and dog friendly. If you can make The 1-1/2 mile trip up there then the trip down will be easy.

I was there this morning February 14 2018 awesome trail.

We just did this hike last weekend and it was perfect with our 5 year old. Elevation rise/fall is just right, never too steep, and the length was perfect (3 miles total). With a nice reward at the turning point, this is a great beginner hike if there ever was one.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike to Peak 5057 via Hieroglyphic Trail

Hike to Broadway Cave

Hike to the Wave Cave

Hike Carney Springs to Superstition Peak 5057

Catch a Sunset at Three Sisters

Backpack the Bluff Springs Loop