Arizona Winter Loop | Friday, February 3, 2023
After spending a day walking among the saguaros near Tucson it was time to continue heading north as we started the long drive back since we wanted to make it home late on Saturday evening. We had hotel reservations to spend the night in Camp Verde later today, but there were a couple stops we wanted to make along the way as we left the Sonoran Desert and made our way over the Black Hills to the Verde Valley. We were up well before sunrise on Friday morning, packed up our camp and left in the dark shortly before dawn. On our way towards Phoenix we left the interstate and reached the foot of the Picacho Mountains just after sunrise so we could spend a couple hours searching boulders for petroglyphs, which is one of our favorite things to do. And we found plenty!
Petroglyphs of the Picacho Mountains
We had a lovely morning exploring the foot the Picacho Mountains.
Like I said above, we found a lot of scattered petroglyphs on boulders in this area! Below are some of the better ones we came across.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
After spending the morning searching for petroglyphs, we continued a bit further north until we reached Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and stopped for a short visit.
Casa Grande Ruins
As we were leaving the ruins Diane looked down and noticed there were a couple rocks along the sidewalk with petroglyphs on them.
The Superstition Mountains: Hieroglyphic Canyon
After leaving Casa Grande Ruins there was one more stop I wanted to make on our way to Camp Verde. I have wanted to hike in the Superstition Mountains for quite a while now, but it never seems to work out on any of our trips to Arizona, so I wanted to change that this time. Although we didn’t have time for a long hike or backpack into the wilderness, I thought a shorter hike to the petroglyphs in Hieroglyphic Canyon would be a good introduction for us.
Hiking up the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trail into the Superstition Mountains.
As we neared the petroglyphs, we passed this large boulder alongside the trail with a bunch of cupules carved into it.
The petroglyphs near Hieroglyphic Spring were quite nicer than I was expecting and they were in a beautiful setting.
Here’s a closer look at the main petroglyph wall.
There was a nice pool below Hieroglyphic Spring.
Hieroglyphic Canyon Petroglyphs
Here’s one last view of Hieroglyphic Canyon before we turned around and started heading back down to the trailhead.
Leaving the Superstitions. Hopefully we can return for a longer hike in the future…
After returning to my Jeep we stopped for an early dinner before leaving the Valley of the Sun and then headed over the Black Hills to Camp Verde.