Hieroglyphics Trail

Hieroglyphics Trail

Hilario makes his home in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. This is a deliberate choice. The Sonoran Desert that he so loves flourishes here because of the altitude and the little extra rain that falls, caught by the nearby mountain peaks. He calls it a really good day when he can hike the foothills, enjoy the sights and smells of his desert home, and gather inspiration for his art.

In just a few minutes from his house, Hilario is at a trailhead for one his most favorite hikes…the Hieroglyphics Trail. The trail winds upward on the south face of the mountains for nearly two miles into magical Hieroglyphics Canyon. (Visit the Superstition Wilderness webpage.) The canyon slices into the side of the mountains, dropping sharply from north to south.  Giant boulders lie piled atop one another up the sides of the steep walls. And, at the bottom of this canyon is that rarest and most precious desert commodity…water. Water from storm runoff and deep rock springs cascades down the canyon in a series of falls from pool to pool until finally it drops into a stream bed and flows out of the canyon and into the desert below. But that’s not the best part.

The steep rock walls of the canyon near the falls and pools are covered with Native American petroglyphs. Pioneer explorers in the late 19th century confused the petroglyphs with Egyptian hieroglyphics and the name has stuck. Some images are obviously snakes and animals but other images are difficult to interpret. It is clear, however, that water has rushed through this canyon for millennia.

Hilario hiked the Hieroglyphic Trail on a cool winter’s day after a recent heavy rain. The water was roaring down the canyon, clearly audible before it was visible from the trail. It was a good day.