Hieroglyphic Canyon in the Superstition Mountains

The lure of the Superstition Mountains in the far east valley of the Phoenix Metro area is unmistakable.   For centuries this mountain range has been inhabited by Hohokam Indians, miners, cowboys, explorers and adventure seekers.  The most notably of them all was Jacob Waltz, also known as the Lost Dutchman.  Legend has it that Jacob Waltz discovered a rich gold mine, but died before telling anyone of its location.  People from around the world have come seeking that lost goldmine, many have paid with their lives.

There are many, many wonderful trails and excursions into the Superstition Mountains, I recommend a trail book by Jack Carlson called, “A Hiker’s Guide to the Superstition Wilderness.”  One of the easier hikes in the Superstition Wilderness, which offers amazing views, petroglyphs and seasonal water, is the Hieroglyphic Trail.  I would recommend allocating about 3 hours for this 2.5 miles round trip hike, that way you’ll have some time to enjoy the petroglyph area, or explore beyond.  Located about 45 miles east of Phoenix, you can click here for a map of how to get there (GPS coordinates below).

There is a fair amount of free parking available, however on the weekends during peak season, it can fill up. Although it’s called Hieroglyphic Canyon, what you’ll see are actually Hohokam petroglyphs. The distinction was unimportant to the miners and cowboys who roamed these parts of the Superstition Wilderness. There is often seasonal water to enjoy…and, after a good rainstorm, the area is transformed into a series of raging washes…it’s quite a sight to see.

For the more adventurous, you can choose to venture beyond the petroglyphs and follow the Hieroglyphic Canyon up to the Superstition Ridgeline. Anchored by a 5,000-foot peak at each end and a long connecting ridge in the middle, you’ll be treated with astounding views of Weaver’s Needle and the city below.

To see more of my pictures of the Hieroglyphic Canyon in the Superstition Wilderness, click here.

GPS Coordinates:
Lat: 33 23 23.589
Lat: -111 25  29.0454

If you’ve been on the Hieroglyphic trail before, post a comment below and let me and my readers know what ya thought.


Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


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