Hieroglyphic Trail

Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona

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Hieroglyphic Trail


  • Spring wildflowers in the desert.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Approaching the petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam petrogylphs above pools of water.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Badly Worn Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Water flowing through the seasonal creek.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Hohokam Petroglyphs.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Ancient grinding stone.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • A saguaro cactus at sunset.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Map showing part of the Superstition Wilderness areas.- Hieroglyphic Trail
  • Entering the Superstition Wilderness.- Hieroglyphic Trail
Overview + Weather
Petroglyphs. Seasonal waterfall.
Trail can be congested at times.
Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, AZ
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
2,685.00 ft (818.39 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Total elevation gain: 
605.00 ft (184.40 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,080.00 ft (633.98 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

The Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Wilderness is an easy out-and-back trail that features ancient Hohokam petroglyphs and a seasonal waterfall.  The Hohokam were an ancient Native American culture centered in Arizona from 1 A.D. to around 1450 A.D. The petroglyphs in this canyon depict animals, people, and geometric designs.  

The Hieroglyphic Trail is great for beginners and families. The trail starts from a large parking lot on the edge of the small community of Gold Canyon, Arizona. This is also the parking lot for the Lost Goldmine Trail. This trail has gained in popularity over the past few years, so the parking lot can fill up quickly on weekends, especially during nice weather. If the lot is full, do not park along the road or your vehicle could be towed. The trail is exposed with little to no shade, so be sure to bring plenty of water and get an early start if you'll be hiking on a hot summer day. 

To begin the hike, make your way through the gate on the north end of the parking lot. The trail is easy to follow and well marked. The elevation gained is gradual across the entire length of the trail, making for a mild hike. A short distance into the hike you will come to a fork in the trail. The trail to the east is the Lost Goldmine Trail, and the trail to the north is the Hieroglyphic Trail. This intersection is clearly marked with signs and a boulder etched with modern pictograms pointing the way. A short distance from the intersection you will come to a fence with a gate marking the boundary of the Superstition Wilderness. When passing through the gate, please be sure to close it behind you by latching the chain. The mouth of the canyon is about a mile from the wilderness boundary. 

Once you reach the canyon walls, it's like stepping back into time. There are petroglyphs all along the western side of the canyon. Many of the petroglyphs are quite well preserved, but some are faint and badly worn. Unfortunately, there is also some damage caused from vandals trying to carve into the rocks. When visiting the petroglyphs, it is important to not touch the carvings or carve into the rocks to help preserve the site. The oils from your hands can be damaging from just a touch. The best time to visit the site is in early spring when wildflowers bloom along the trail and water is flowing through the canyon. There are usually several pools of water directly below the wall of petroglyphs. At the mouth of the canyon there is also a seasonal waterfall.

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(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Visit Mesa

Welcome to Mesa, Arizona. A gateway city to one of the most dynamic regions in the country. With countless places for new discoveries, outdoor sports, wild west adventures and farm to table cuisine, Mesa is a city that knows no bounds. A geographic wonderland, Mesa is close to the Tonto National Forest and the iconic Superstition Mountains, but far enough to experience the wide-open and true Arizona vacation. From here, all things are possible, leaving you breathless and sure to show you why we are "City Limitless."

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