Hieroglyphic Trail – Superstition mountains
Most hikes into the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix begin from the north side, accessed via the Apache Trail, and tend to be rather long and relatively little-used, but one of the shortest, easiest reached and therefore most popular routes starts in the south, at the edge of the expanding community of Gold Canyon along US 60. The 1.5 mile Hieroglyphic Trail climbs a gentle slope covered with many cacti then enters the lower end of a boulder-filled canyon, ending at a rocky section where pools persist for much of the year, a location important for the ancient Hohokam Indians, who inhabited this desert region up to 1,500 years ago. Evidence of their settlement includes hundreds of petroglyphs etched into the dark, weathered surface of the basalt cliffs above the pools, some with very intricate designs. This scenic location is high enough for a long-distance panorama southwest over Gold Canyon and the Gila River plain, and also provides close-up views of the jagged upper slopes of the Superstition Mountains to the north, rising over 2,000 feet higher.