A thousand years ago the ancients stood on Signal Hill and carved beautiful symbols into the rocks here. There are approximately 200 petroglyphs at this site, making it one of the most important sacred spaces for Tucson’s ancient people.
What do these symbols mean? Why did they carve so many of them here in this one place? Nobody knows. No one will ever know. That’s what makes Signal Hill so very special. These petroglyphs were carved by the Hohokam from 450-1450 CE.
Visitors are forbidden from climbing on the rocks. Even touching the rocks is forbidden. Only about a dozen ancient petroglyphs are visible and photographable from the viewing area. It is still an amazing experience to stand where the ancient ones stood so many years ago.
Signal Hill is located on the Bajada Scenic Loop, off of Hohokam Road, in Saguaro West National Park. It is an unpaved road. The speed limit is 25 m.p.h. It is open from dawn to dusk. It is closed to motor homes, buses and vehicles pulling a trailer.
Saguaro West National Park is located in the beautiful Tucson Mountains. It is free, if you have a national parks pass. Otherwise you must pay $20.00 at the Red Hills Visitors Center on Kinney Road. The $20 pass is good for seven days.
The “hike” to Signal Hill is very short and very easy. It is an unpaved walk with rock steps built in the 1930’s. It is only a third of a mile loop from the parking lot. The views of the surrounding area from the top are beautiful. It is a perfect outing for families with little ones. There are picnic tables and a covered Ramada.
If you wish to hike longer, there are many other trails intersecting the Signal Hill Loop, such as the Cactus Wren Trail, the Desert Winds Trail and the Manville Trail. The Wild Dog Trail is just .9 miles and is accessed across the street from the parking lot. Free trail maps are available at the visitors center.
Saguaro West National Park has over 40 miles of hiking trails for hikers of various abilities. Signal Hill is an excellent place to start.