Hole in the Rock

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 1238 - 1320 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Hole in the Rock
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic geology




The Hole in the Rock Butte is located at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. The unique 'otherworldly' sandstone buttes are what set apart Papago Park in the Phoenix area. A short trail leads around the butte to a point where hikers can climb up and through the hole where they are treated to views of the surrounding Phoenix metropolitan area.


The Hole in the Rock trailhead is located in the parking area north of the Phoenix Zoo. There is a restroom across the road near the Ranger Station.


A primitive trail leads around to the opposite side of the butte.


Once behind the butte the trail scrambles up a steep slope that is covered with small amounts of scree.


Makeshift steps make the climb a bit easier.


Aside from the main porthole that the butte is named after there is another hole in the top of the butte that was integril as part of a Hohokum calendar site where light shining through the hole was used to track the seasons for agricultural and ceremonial purposes. The specifics are provided at the trailhead kiosk.


Kids will enjoy climbing through the hole where there are some nice views of the Papago Fishing Waters with the Phoenix Zoo in the background.


Downtown Phoenix can be seen off in the distance while just below Hole in the Rock Butte are a group of ramadas for those interested in having a picnic.


Getting around in the buttes alcove is made easier by a set of stairs that have been carved into the rock that lead from the hole down to a small bench that runs the length of the alcove.


According to the kiosk there are boulders that played a significant part of the Hohokum calendar to mark solstice and equinox events.


The Hole in the Rock Butte is very popular with visitors coming and going every few minutes. A typical visit can take less than 30 minutes but some people enjoy sitting around in the shade of the alcove for a spell and taking in the views and the peaceful ambience of the site. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.