Best Petroglyph Trails on South Mountain

Today, the dusty dirt ground and saguaro cactuses emerging up to the sky that once existed in downtown Phoenix has been cloaked over with concrete roads and tall shiny skyscrapers rising up to the heavens.

You can walk around the urban development of downtown, with brightly colored murals and hipster bars beckoning your visit…that it’s easy to forget you’re in the Sonoran desert.

But the first settlers of Phoenix, the Hohokam tribe, they didn’t let you forget that they were here.

Buried underneath the concrete slabs upon the land that remains the Hohokam once walked the paths we walk today.

In fact, right here along our South Mountain there are plenty of spots where the Hohokam left their mark.

This tribe existed during 300 – 1450 AD, not only in Phoenix but in other areas of Arizona as well . This tribe has mysteriously disappeared with no explanation of their fate but clues of their existence are still seen today.

Especially along Phoenix’s, South Mountain.

At times, the South Mountain Park and Preserve Park will have signs pointing out the Hohokam petroglyphs and other times, it won’t be marked. So keep your eyes peeled for these ancient drawings along these hiking trail.

Telegraph Pass

Hohokam Petroglyphs along Telegraph Pass

Telegraph Pass is a moderate hiking trail that leads up to South Mountains ridgeline. While this trail does began as easy, it does quickly become more steeper along the route that beginners may find difficult.

However, the Hohokam art can be found before the steepness of the hiking trail kicks in!

About 0.8 miles along the trail you’ll see on the left hand side, a little area that has wooden fence post around it. This is where the Hohokam art can be found.

Kiwanis Trail

Kiwanis Trail is a great hiking trail for beginners of all age levels. This 2 mile hike (round trip) follows along a canyon area and gradually inclines up where it will end at the Summit Road.

Hohokam art along South Mountains, Kiwanis Trail

The Hohokam art can be found about half mile into the trail. While there are no signs posted explaining that this is Hohokam art it is very close along the trail. Look for the yellow “area closed” sign and you’ll find this rock facing towards the trail.

Holbert Trail

Holbert Trail is a moderate to difficult trail that leads to the popular Dobbins Lookout.

Similliar to Telegraph Pass, the Hohokam art can be found near the beginning of the hiking trail, before the more difficult sections of the trail occur.

As you are on Holbert Trail leading towards the water tower, you’ll come across a section on your right hand side that has wooden fencing around it. This is the area where you can explore the Hohokam petroglyphs.

While there may be more trails that with Hohokam art along the route, these three trails are the best ones to explore.

As mentioned earlier the park does not always point out where the petroglyphs are at, so pay close attention to your surroundings. You never know, you may just discover some new petroglyphs!

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