Explore AJ/Gold Canyon area - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

AJ/Gold Canyon area Map

on Hieroglyphic Trail

13 hours ago

Awesome hike for kids, ours are 5, 4, and 2. Parking was kinda crowded and a lot more people than what I usually like, but we also went on MLK day so that may be why. I imagine it’s just as busy on a weekend though. Such a beautiful place!

15 hours ago

Good incline until the end and the way back is nice and easy. Good family hike.

Trail was really great. Definitely busier than I would have liked, but it was a holiday. I was impressed with all the kids and older people breezing through. It was MLK day and the lot was full so everyone was parked on the dirt road, we made the mistake of following suit and got towed. Thank goodness we had more people with a second vehicle to take us to our car, but they were ticketing and towing dozens of vehicles. Leaving folks stranded. Moral; no matter how many people are parked on the road, don’t do it! $75 for the tow and that was cheaper than a citation.

Took my 5 month puppy here and she did great. Be careful and pay attention to trail signs or you’ll end up on a different trail. Also, the downhill part is very steep with sand. Otherwise, a great hike and beautiful scenery.

1 day ago

Such a great hike for families! Long enough for the little ones to complain (it’s good for them) but super rewarding at the end with all the rocks to climb. I had an 11, 10, 8, 5 and 2 year old (in a pack) with me and they all did awesome. The parking lot fills up quick and I got a ticket for parking along the road... so watch out for that!

loved the hike. my two boys did it pretty well without too much complaining and they loved the end!

Nice enjoyable hike. Cool little waterfall at the top. Be ready to climb over some rocks.

Hieroglyphic Trail is a lot of fun and should not be missed, there are petroglyphs and small waterfalls at the end of the trail along with beautiful views of the Valley. This family friendly trail is a 2.8 mile moderately-heavy trafficked and rocky out and back trail. Depending on experience level, this trail is mostly easy with some moderate features including rocky areas / loose gravel and "possible climbing" for some around the petroglyphs and waterfalls. For bonus points, keep hiking past the waterfalls for a more challenging experience. Weekend foot traffic can get heavy, best for weekday and early morning use. We highly recommend this trail.

I would recommend this trail to intermediate or advanced hikers. It has beautiful views in the last part. Pretty tough train in the middle and the end. It takes along time to get to the hard part going counter clockwise. I recommend going clockwise

Definitely a good workout in the last leg of the trail. Parking at the trailhead is a bit tricky on the weekend and the trail is narrow in a few spots but not so narrow it is difficult to let others pass by. Takes a little over an hour to get up to the cave with a few brief water stops. The views are stunning and the cave offers a cool reprieve after the hike up. This is a rigorous but quick hike for any morning or afternoon. Trailhead is about 40 minutes from downtown Gilbert.

Great first hike in AZ.

Very very easy trail to hike, did it with my wife and her young nephews. Gorgeous when you get to the end with the spring and you can see the many Native American Petroglyphs. Carried a single bottle of water with me and was fine.

loose rock, good climb wth the right amount of difficulty for the average hiker, great view at the top

2 days ago

Great trail! Took a wrong turn in the beginning, but found our way back and finished it out. Trick is you have to go THROUGH the wire fence when you get to it, do not go left! If you go left you are basically going around the mountain :) It’s a gorgeous sight to see, but not the way to the cave. Once back on the trial it was very easy to navigate the way to the top. Gets a bit harder as you get closer to the cave, but its worth the beautiful site when you finish. Careful on the way down as it gets pretty slippery on the loose rocks. All in all it was a great day out enjoying nature even with the detour.

2 days ago

Really cool hike! Can get confusing to follow the trail but luckily somebody had put arrows in the sand which really helped point us in the right direction! At the trailhead there is a sign that says “wave cave trail” at a fence - go through the fence. The trail is flat at the beginning then very steep. Had to climb up over some boulders as well. The views are amazing and the cave is really awesome. We stayed longer than planned taking photos and enjoying the cave. It was a cloudy day with not many hikers passing through. Would be a cool place to sit and have lunch. It did get chilly in there though later in the day.

2 days ago

no shade
3 days ago

Toddler alert: be prepared to carry your toddler and pass them up and down rocks near the top of the trail but totally doable with two adults.

3 days ago

Love this trail!

Love this trail! Not too strenuous but just enough to get your heart rate up, depending on your pace. The length of the trail is maybe 90% loose gravel and rocks so I recommend wearing shoes with good grip and stability. There are a couple of spots near the top where older or less-steady hikers might require 3 points of contact, but still, I saw plenty of folks 65+ make beyond those spots with no problem.

This trail is a beautiful way to see what the Superstition Mountains are all about! I chose the clockwise route. The first mile or so is pretty challenging as it is a steep, rocky climb to the summit of a windswept ridge that provides an awesome vista. The desert was very lush and the photo opportunities were numerous along most of the route. You will end up crossing the creek 7-10 times, but the water level was low enough to not be an issue with getting the feet wet. Thanks to the various cairns along the way, especially while crisscrossing the stream bed, following the trail was very easy.
The trail has many areas that contain loose, softball-size rocks, so it is necessary to be very careful while climbing or descending. I saw several large javelinas near the trail. They were very husky and I was surprised how big they were compared to the ones I have seen around town in the development near me.
Completed the entire 9.4 mile loop in just under 4 hours. Stopped about 10 min for a snack and took many pictures along the way.
I would rate this hike about a 6.5/10 for difficulty level. Pretty challenging, but nothing the majority of people in halfway decent shape should be able to handle. Saw several hikers in their 70’s doing quite well on this trail.

beautiful trail

4 days ago

Very nice hike with opportunities to branch out along the way. Very green desert after recent rains.

Awesome trail , definitely recommend clockwise as the hardest incline is right at beginning then smooth sailing. Overall not a super difficult trail except for first 30 minutes, however the distance got to me at the end. Very rocky and wears you out after awhile. The springs and creeks were awesome and my dog loved this trail.

5 days ago

This trail won't disappoint, my 85 year old Mom had no problem, but then again her nickname is mountain goat

5 days ago

Easy but beautiful at the end.

The trail doesnt really end at the waterfall area. That's what makes this a great hike. All the touristy people stop at that point .You can keep on going and there is a TRAIL. No one out there. I'll go back to continue furthur on the SECRET trail..shh..

7 days ago

This trail was so amazing. I’m new to hiking and towards the top got pretty difficult but I pushed through and the view was just stunning!

nice hike, lots of options.

READ before you take this trip

This was an incredible hike. Only saw 2 other people the entire trip. The only complaints and advise I have is:

- the road to the parking for the hike is dirt road. We went after it rained and it was a little challenging with a car. Suggest a truck or Jeep. It’s a long drive from the main road. My car made it fine but it was a lot slower than if I was in a bigger off road vehicle.

- the hike is NOT 8.6 miles. We followed it to a tee (this app was amazing and it recorded everything) it was 10.3 miles long! Thank goodness we took snacks and plenty of water. (Pack accordingly) better to have more than enough then not enough)

- stop and enjoy the sights!! It was beautiful! We went clockwise (and so happy we did!) the hardest part was at the beginning but once you get over the first mountain to the bottom the running water was beautiful and so relaxing. We sat there for 30 min listening to the water run and the birds chirp and took our first break.

- the rest of the trip was great. Lots of up and downhill. But nothing too hard. There are a few places where you need to watch your footing because of the drop (small trail)

- Stop for breaks and bring snacks as this is a long one. NOT recommended for hot weather. The sun was out and at times made it hard (it beats down on you) not a lot of coverage. But since the weather was so nice, the breeze made it tolerable. Wear good sunblock! Even though it was breezy and cool we got a good redness from the day. Cloudy days seem to burn more lol.

I hike often but this by far was the longest one I’ve been on. I’m not in the best shape and still was able to do this one. A little harder at times but definitely, if you have the stamina do it! My daughter (18) came with me and she has only hiked ( more like walked ) once in her life. It was hard towards the end to get to the finish. But definitely doable. I would say between moderate and hard. Because the length and the climbs. Be prepared for over a 10 mile hike for this one. I will try to attach my map so you can see. The record on the map was spot on and so helpful. There are only 2 places along the journey that it is hard to find the connecting trail, the map helped when we zoomed in and were trying to figure the direction. Otherwise it is easy to know where to go. It is not marked well at all and easy to get lost so make sure to look at your phone often.

*********I took a charging case and a backup mophie charger for my iPhone. Thank goodness or I would have run out of battery. The app runs constantly and drains the battery. we would still be in the mountains if it wasn’t for the app! *******

We are definitely sore today. Mainly calves, but feels great to accomplish this one! Enjoy your trip!

This was a nice morning hike! Took my dog for the first time and it wasn’t too hard for him. It’s beautiful at sunrise! It took about an hour to hike the whole thing!

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