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Hieroglyph Canyon

An easy hike into the Superstition Mountains and Superstition Wilderness, Hieroglyph Canyon is a canyon full of petroglyphs. The petroglyphs are Hohokam and have been dated to 700-1100 A.D. The canyon is popularly known as "Hieroglyph Canyon", with hieroglyph using the broader definition, as using pictures to represent words or ideas, not related to Egyptology in any form. Hieroglyph Canyon was listed in National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

With a distance of 2-2.5 miles each way, the hike to Hieroglyph Canyon is sure to please. Hikers will see Saguaro cacti, barrel cacti, different varieties of cholla cacti, palo verde trees, mesquite, jojoba, and other Sonoran Desert plants.

Once you are well within the canyon, you will be able to spot the petroglyphs near a series of cliffs which run along the side of a seasonal stream and pool. Visitors will see eight sheep in a row on the cliffs above the pool. Other petroglyphs include various animals, pipettes, and a number of strange designs. The petroglyphs are found on both sides of the canyon. Most visitors see the ones that surround the main pool, missing some of the more remote panels.

Please do not touch the petroglyphs, since your hand oils and rubbing, combined with thousands of other visitors, will deteriorate and destroy the artwork. Although petroglyphs may not be as susceptible to damage as pictographs, with the fragile painted pigments, the carved pictures can be worn away by visitors adding a little more wear with every touch.

Anciently, this area was inhabited by the Salado and Hohokam. Tonto National Monument is close by and is worth a visit. Roosevelt Dam and Lake are also close by.

Location: Superstition Mountain Range due east of Apache Junction . US 60 approaches it from the south. The canyon is located in Central Arizona approximately 2 hours from Metro Phoenix.

Climate: This is high desert. Summer temperatures easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hikers should carry plenty of water and be prepared for conditions.


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