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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Signal Hill Petroglyphs

Signal Hill- home of one of the two greatest attractions in Saguaro National Park.  The first attraction in Saguaro National Park is the saguaro cactus itself.   Interestingly enough, signal hill doesn't have saguaros on it, but you do drive down a dirt road through a saguaro forest to get there.  No, the attraction I am referring to is a well publicized accumulation of petroglyphs.  The hill itself is unassuming, out in the desert, adjoining a wash.  It's also the most popular hike in Saguaro National Park.  We arrived mid-day and there was no shortage of people along the short 1/4 mile trail to the top of the hill. 
Actually, there are quite a lot of petroglyphs visible along the front of the hill once you start down the trail from the parking lot.  The area is roped off so you can't actually get close to these petroglyphs, but instead you wrap around the back of the hill on your hike where you can then see several of the petroglyphs pecked into the boulders at the top.  This spiral is one of the most photographed petroglyphs in Southern Arizona.  Cool yeah, but possibly slightly overrated. 
 Nearby you can see a family of three bighorn sheep pecked into the face of another boulder. 
We also saw some "wheels" and squiggles, and many other petroglyphs here.  I liked the hike, and most kids and everyone else likes the hike too.  It's short distance, coupled with the sight at the end draws a lot of crowds.  On the way back down, I overheard two groups of my fellow tourists commenting on the "Watch out for Rattlesnakes" signs that are along the trail.  We didn't see any snakes, but February is probably a little early in the year for them.

I liked the Signal Hill hike, but it was more controlled and didn't have the fun sense of discovery that we had while hiking Kings Canyon Wash earlier in the day.  It still is one of the top hikes in Saguaro National Park.  As we got back to the car, the kids were spent from the combination of the two hikes, so we loaded them in and drove off down the dusty road.  Saguaro National Park- it was fun to finally come see what it was all about.

Nearest City: Tucson, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 30 min
Difficulty: easy
Kid Friendly: Yes, with supervision (potentially rattlesnakes are about)
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