Hieroglyphic Trail an easy path to petroglyphs and waterfalls in the Superstition Mountains

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Two of the most exciting things to find when you’re out hiking the trails of Arizona are rock art (i.e. petroglyphs) and waterfalls. If you set out on Hieroglyphic Trail at the foot of the Superstition Mountains at the right time of year, you’ll likely find both.

Of all the trails I’ve hiked in Arizona, this one offers the best payoff for the amount of “work” you put in. From the trailhead, it’s less than a 1.5 mile walk through an incredibly scenic expanse of desert until you reach the spot that gives this trail its name.

Water trickles over rocks with petroglyphs on Hieroglyphic Trail
Water trickles over rocks decorated with petroglyphs on Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Mountains

Video: What you can expect to see if you hike Hieroglyphic Trail in Gold Canyon, AZ

What you need to know about Hieroglyphic Trail:

  • Located 30 miles east of Mesa near Gold Canyon, AZ (see map below)
  • 2.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail, rated as moderate
  • Dozens of hieroglyphs (aka petroglyphs or rock art) in plain view 1.4 miles from the trailhead
  • Accessible year-round; features a waterfall in winter and spring in years of normal precipitation
  • Water must be treated or filtered before you drink it
  • Dogs welcome on this trail but must be kept on leash
  • Great hike for kiddos! Even if you have to carry them part of the way.

Slideshow: Hieroglyphic Trail gets its name from these ancient images etched in the rock

Although most people consider the hieroglyph site the turnaround point, you can hike well beyond that spot. Some avid hikers continue on all the way up to the Ridgeline that runs across the top of the Superstition Mountains, high above Hieroglyphic Trail.

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Balanced rock visible on the Superstition Ridgeline from Hieroglyphic Trail

If you’re looking for a hike in the Valley of the Sun that’s not too hard and offers incredibly cool sights to see, you need to put this one near the top of your list.

The map below will get you to the trailhead. Follow the signs from there.

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4 Comments

  1. Beautiful shots! I did a post on Petroglyphs not too long ago that we found on a off road trail from Bloody Basin in Agua Fria Monument.

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