Hiking Hieroglyphic Trail | Gold Canyon, AZ

Of all the Superstition Wilderness trails I’ve hiked, Hieroglyphic trail is by far the most family-friendly. If I can offer one piece of advice for weekend hikers, it would be to arrive early (or late) to avoid the heavy trail traffic.

The Stats:
Trail name: Hieroglyphic Trail
Location: Superstition Mountain Range near Gold Canyon, AZ
Distance: 2.8 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 567 feet
Published Difficulty: Easy
Dog Friendliness: As dog friendly as it is family friendly

A relatively short but very rocky trail in the Superstition mountains, Hieroglyphic Trail offers a payoff packed full of history. Petroglyphs drawn by the Hohokam people who lived in central and southern Arizona as early as 500 A.D. mark the canyon walls. Why am I calling them “petroglyphs” when the trail is called “hieroglyphic” you ask? Hieroglyphics are Egyptian writings – so the trail was technically misnamed. #themoreyouknow.

The trail departs from the Lost Goldmine trailhead in the center of a well-populated Gold Canyon neighborhood. You will pass through a few cattle gates, so make sure to lock them behind you so we don’t have any escapees.

The trail starts to climb up a some reasonably steep switchbacks along a ridgeline heading into the canyon for about 1.5 miles. Along the way, you’ll be accompanied by saguaro, prickly pear and jumping cholla cactus. Don’t get too close to the last one. It has its namesake for a reason.

As you approach the mountain, you can begin to make out the valley in which the hieroglyphs are tucked away. Watch closely as you’ll encounter a very large, flat rock with unusual bowls believed to have been created by the Native Americans for grinding their grains.

Climb just a little bit further and you’re there in the valley amongst pools of water and petroglyphs. And maybe a few new lizard friends.

Directions to Hieroglyphic Trail

From Phoenix, follow US 60 east to Gold Canyon. Turn left on S Kings Ranch Road to head north. Turn right on E Baseline Avenue, left on S Mohican Road, then left on E. Valley View Drive. You’ll follow E. Valley View Drive north onto S White Tail. Turn right on E Cloudview Avenue and follow it east to the end. This is where you’ll find the trailhead parking lot.

Note: make sure to park in the lot in order to avoid getting towed.

Looking for other Superstition hikes?

Pick up the 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Phoenix book. Or view other trail recaps below. Happy hiking!

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