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Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site, AZ

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Guide 5 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Yuma NE
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.94 miles
Trailhead Elevation 335 feet
Elevation Gain 470 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.29
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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13  2011-12-18
Along the Gila Trail - Dec2011
Randal_Schulhaus
9  2011-02-10 Stoic
14  2008-12-14 azbackpackr
20  2006-07-02 Randal_Schulhaus
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov → 7 AM
Sun  6:21am - 6:40pm
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Culture Nearby
Quarry Irony
by Randal_Schulhauser

I've become familiar with a number of petroglyph sites along the Gila River corridor. One site frequently mentioned in the literature is Antelope Hill. It's significance due to the presence of ground stone quarries. Ground stone quarries are where the Ancients fashioned their "manos" and "metates" used to grind grains and seeds. It should be noted that the arkosic sandstone used in many of these tools found throughout the southwest has been traced back to this quarry site. It's somewhat ironic that this ancient quarry site has been significantly diminished in cultural value by a modern quarry site located on the northwest side of the hill.


I've previously noticed a mountain on the north side of I-8 with a large white "A" on its south slope. I've always presumed this to be Antelope Hill and as we approached the site with maps in hand, our presumption wase confirmed. Our approach from the southwest side of Antelope Hill passes a new housing development and the remains of a shooting range. We soon pass the modern day quarry, currently not in use. This site owned by the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District has been quarried extensively to produce rip-rap to armor the banks of the Gila River. Unfortunately the cultural value of this section has been destroyed.

Hiking Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site: As the road passes the quarry, it dips down into the Gila River flood plain. The west side of the road is dominated by a superb example of a railroad truss bridge. At the intersection, take the east fork and park by the BLM kiosk on the north side of Antelope Hill. The side of the road has a steel cable barrier with blue signage indicating an archeological site.

There appears to be many faint trails on the slopes of Antelope Hill, each leading to a petroglyph site. Keep your eyes open, almost every boulder with black desert varnish has rock art on it!

Matt and I contoured up the slope near the summit of Antelope Hill. It's interesting that we didn't see any petroglyphs outside the vicinity of the steel cable barriers with blue signage. We also trekked the complete perimeter of Antelope Hill and didn't notice anything of significance.

We returned to the sections marked by the steel cable barriers and blue signage and were soon rewarded by many rock art examples.

Some History: Archeologists know the hill as the largest and most productive milling implement quarry in the southwest, with tools made from Antelope Hill sandstone found at sites stretching up and down the Gila and Colorado rivers. According to Native American oral history, the hill was a "no-man's-land" in a hotly contested region. This explains the diversity of rock art samples.

In more recent times, Spanish explorers camped at Antelope Hill and scaled the summit to survey the land. There are reports they left their mark near the summit. Military companies from the American-Mexican war passed along this route. Early pioneers buried their dead near the foot of the hill. Other passers-by left their mark in the rocks.

Summary: The Gila River corridor has been utilized by the Ancients, early Spanish explorers, and 1800's settlers as an important travel route. The Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site left me somewhat appalled that such a significant archeological site could be partially consumed by a modern quarry! The apparent bullet holes in much of the signage and some of the boulders left me sad.

Ancient rock art continues to be a significant hiking attraction for me. I'm aware of couple of more sites within the Gila River corridor and plan to visit them in the future. For further reading I recommend "Of Stones and Spirits - Pursuing the Past of Antelope Hill" by Joan S. Schneider and Jeffery H. Altschul. Enjoy!

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2006-07-03 Randal_Schulhauser
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site
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    Along the Gila Trail - Dec2011
    Along the Gila Trail - Dec2011

    Put some miles on the F-150 today dodging rain showers and retracing a section of the GILA TRAIL while on the "trail of the ancients" from;

    Casa Grande Ruins National Monument => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=836
    Hohokam Pima National Monument (aka "Snaketown") => http://www.nps.gov/pima/index.htm
    Patio Area Petroglyph Site => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16371
    Gatlin Site - Gila Bend => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=1961
    Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=787
    Sears Point Petroglyph Site => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=868
    Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=892
    Confluence of Gila River with Colorado River near Yuma AZ? => Unexplored territory for this author (but suspect the area is rich in ancient artifacts...)

    Missed out on a "drive-by" of the Fortaleza Ruins between the Gatlin Site and Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site => viewtopic.php?t=2915#p32656

    I've embedded in a HAZ FORUM post a reference document I used researching the GILA TRAIL => viewtopic.php?t=6627 . Thought I would share with HAZ members.

    I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with some "insights" on rock art near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers. I've never had a chance to explore this area and suspect there are some significant sites. :wrt:


    Started the day heading down the I-10 towards Casa Grande searching out the "Snaketown" site near Gila River bridge. From the NPS website;

    "Hohokam Pima National Monument was authorized by Congress on October 21, 1972, to protect an ancient Hohokam village known today as "Snaketown." Excavations in the 1930's and again in the 1960's revealed the site was inhabited from about 300 BC to around 1200 AD and may have had up to 2,000 inhabitants. Following the last excavations, the site was completely recovered with earth, leaving nothing visible above ground. The Monument is located on the Gila River Indian Reservation and is under tribal ownership. The Gila River Indian Community has decided not to open the extremely sensitive area to the public. There is no park brochure, passport stamp, picture stamp or other free literature available. Snaketown was first excavated in 1934 by the Gila Pueblo Foundation, under the direction of Harold S. Gladwin. Between 1964-1965, a second excavation was led by Emil Haury. The two expeditions discovered that the site contained more than sixty midden mounds. A central plaza and two ovel shaped fields were surrounded by pit houses, and an elaborate irrigation system fed the nearby fields in which beans, maize and squash were grown."

    My home library has many historical photos from the principal archeologists from the "Snaketown digs" and I recall some of the artifacts are on display at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. I conduct a drive-by of the Snaketown site bounded by the I-10 on the east, the Gila River on the south, Maricopa Road on the west and Riggs Road on the north. The site is completely buried, unkown, and returned to nature. Check out the 2009 video archive posted by University of Arizona commemorating the excavation's 75th anniversary => http://uanews.org/node/26247

    I now head towards the village of Maricopa and Hwy 238 in search of the Patio Area Petroglyph Site => http://www.brazilbrazil.com/patio.html A chance to explore before a squall line comes in from the south bringing some serious rain. Time to head out.

    A stop at the Shawmutt Trainspotting Loop yields some interesting clouds. The dogs are appreciative of the chance to stretch their legs after that bumpy escape along the 4x4 tracks from the Patio Area.

    Next up is the Gatlin Site. A sad, lonely spot after the acrimonious divorce between the Town of Gila Bend and the Arizona Archeological Society.

    A stop in Gila Bend to pick up some 'burgs and we make the trek out to the Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site to enjoy lunch in the pouring rain!

    Sears Point and Antelope Hill (was also going to check the nearby Texas Hill rock art site, but had enough rain for one day) are up next before the stretch run home to catch the 2nd half and OT of the Cards game...
    Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    With Matt Bond.

    Original plan was to hike Pinal Mountain, specifically the Icehouse/Telephone/Sixshooter loop hike. But found out before we set off that the area is closed as a fire precaution (also found out that the area reopened on 7/3). Needing an alternate destination, we decided to take in the petroglyphs at Sears Point as well as Texas Hill and Antelope Hill.

    The irony of an ancient quarry site being destroyed by a modern-day quarry site isn't lost on me...

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    Directions
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    To hike
    From Phoenix: Take I-10 east towards Tucson approximately 10 miles to exit 164 for Queen Creek Road/Hwy 347 towards Maricopa. Drive approximately 15 miles to the town of Maricopa. Turn right onto Hwy 238 (aka Maricopa Road) and travel west approximately 40 miles to the junction of Hwy 85 at the east end of the town of Gila Bend. Turn left onto Hwy 85 and travel west through Gila Bend. Merge onto I-8 West and travel towards Yuma approximately 75 miles until you reach exit 37 for Roll Road/Avenue 36 E. Travel 2 miles north towards the mountain with a large "A" on its south side. On the north side of the mountain there is a designated parking lot near the Gila River just east of the railroad bridge. The parking lot entry marks the beginning of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property.

    NOTE: No permit is required to enter area. Call 1-928-317-3200 or http://www.blm.gov/az/yfo/antelope_hill.htm for additional information.

    See GPS overview map and detailed map for route to Antelope Hill Petroglyph Site trailhead.
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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