Signal Hill Petroglyphs

Not much of a hike, but a quick walk to the site of well-preserved Native American rock art.

Hiking Easy

Distance
505 m
Ascent
11 m
Descent
11 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
742 m
High Point
749 m
Gradient
Signal Hill Petroglyphs Map

If you enter Saguaro National Park and drive the Bajada Scenic Loop, you should definitely stop and see the Signal Hill Petroglyphs. It’s a short stroll to an interesting piece of human history, plus a nice overlook on a hilltop.

Description

Petroglyphs are symbols that are etched into rock. The depictions at Signal Hill are quite varied, from geometric designs to people and animals, to abstract shapes. Their exact meanings are unknown, but their prominence on boulders atop a hill suggests they were important signals to people at one time. They were carved by Hohokam Indians at least 800 years ago. This tribe thrived in the region from approximately 300-1500 AD.

The hike begins from the Signal Hill Picnic Area, which is about half a mile up a side road from the scenic loop. From the parking area, you’ll notice a nearby hill that’s crowned with dark-colored boulders. On those boulders are the petroglyphs, and a well-signed trail leads to them. It goes down at first to cross a sandy wash, then goes up the hill on some rock steps and uneven terrain, but for a short distance, to reach the top. The rock art is easy to spot, but you’ll want to spend some time to find all the intricate designs and to ponder their meanings. It is important to never touch the rock art, because oils from the skin can damage them over time. The symbols should be preserved as long as possible, as an invaluable legacy of American indigenous culture.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/upload/Trails%20in%20the%20Tucson%20Mountain%20District.pdf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohokam

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area