Whenever I have out of town guest visiting they always ask to see the desert. As a life long Arizona resident I take these visitors on one of the first trails I ever hiked, the Hieroglyphics Trail in the Superstitions. This trail has changed over the many years in existence, and with the urban sprawl reaching to the base of the Superstitions it is some times difficult to find the old trailhead. There are some magnificent saguaros and picture perfect photos ops of the superstitions along the way.
After about 25 minutes you'll reach the official trail head of the Hieroglyphics Trail. The trail from this point climbs gradually through fields of saguaros, jumping cholla paloverde, creosote bush and other desert plants. As the trail rises to Hieroglyphics Canyon, the end of your destination, teddy bear chollas join the cacti present along the trail. There are wonderful views of Mesa and Apache Junction to the west and wilderness are to the east. It is at this point the trail levels out some and is great place to stop and take in the beauty of the desert. The trail continues and follows the drainage channel from the canyon and some spectacular views of the canyon and rock formations can be seen along the way. After some minor rocks to climb over you have reached the end of the trail and can view some remarkable Indian hieroglyphics. Beware though, some of the hieroglyphics have been recently etched by some modern day morons. After rains there will be pools of water in the rock areas. Every time I have been there water was present and it was polluted. On the return trip the views are just as great as the conversation about the hieroglyphics you've just seen. The total distance is about 1.8 miles from the official trail head. This is a great trail for winter visitors, visitors from back east, or anyone looking for a easy fun trail to hike in the beauty of the Superstition Mountains.
Forest Tonto Pass is a forest wide permit for recreational sites and campgrounds. Typically not for trailheads.
To Hieroglyphics Trailhead From the East Valley follow US 60 East to South Kings Ranch Road. Kings Ranch Road is 14.1 miles east of Power Road for reference. Turn North on Kings Ranch Rd and follow to 2.8 miles to Baseline. Turn East on Baseline and follow 0.2 miles to Mohican. Turn North onto Mohican and follow 0.4 miles to Valleyview Road. Turn West onto Valleyview and follow (naturally turns North, and turns into Whitetail Road) for 1.4 miles. At the intersection of Whitetail Rd. and Cloudview Road turn East and follow 0.4 miles to the end. The trailhead parking is here and the trail is easy to spot to the East.
From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 42.9 mi - about 54 mins From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 95.3 mi - about 2 hours 3 mins From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 187 mi - about 2 hours 58 mins
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.