Signal Hill Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 2408 - 2465 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Signal Hill Picnic Area
Fee: $15/vehicle
Attractions: Hohokam petroglyphs, picnic area

The Signal Hill Petroglyph trail is located in the Tucson Mountain District of the Saguaro National Park west of Tucson, Arizona. The trail leads up to a rocky hilltop where many of the boulders have Hohokam style petroglyphs carved into the dark patina of the rocks. The Hohokam lived in the area from around A.D. 200 to 1450. Traces of Hohokam habitation are found throughout the area.

The trail begins at the Signal Hill Picnic Area. Signal Hill can be seen in the background near the center of this photo.

After passing through one of the picnic sites the trail descends a short distance and passes through a wash.

There are several signs along the trail that provide useful and interesting information.

Some of the best petroglyphs are near the top of the hill facing the picnic area. These petroglyphs are best viewed from below while climbing the hill. Closeup examination of this rock art is not possible so unless you have excellent vision you will benefit greatly from a pair of binoculars and a telephoto lens.

This is another group of good petroglyphs that can only be seen from below.

The trail continues up the small hill and approaches the summit from the north side.

Numerous other petroglyphs, mostly geometric patterns, cover many of the rocks on the summit of Signal Hill. Many of them are well worn from the exposure of hundreds of years of weather.

A spiral that may have served as a solar calendar can be seen on one boulder. These were commonly placed in a location where a shadow or shaft of light would intersect the spiral at different locations at the equinoxes. There are the proper times to do all things. A proper time for certain ceremonies and celebrations and a proper time for different stories.

The picnic area has tables, charcoal grills and a vault toilet for those that care to use them.

Getting to the Signal Hill Picnic Area requires driving about a mile down a gravel road. There are several other trails that pass by Signal Hill. A short loop hike can be made by combining the Manville trail with the Cactus Wren trail. The Hohokam petroglyphs by themselves are enough of a reason to take the time to visit Signal Hill. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.