Papago Park: Hole in the Rock Hike

Dear Students,

Every time I drive to the Zoo, my eyes wander over the prominent buttes that form the “Hole in the Rock, to the left of the Zoo.” To me, the non-hiker with two little boys, it looked like an impossibility.

Because I don’t know anything about Arizona yet, we parked at the zoo and walked over where I saw the dedicated parking area…c’est la vie

This weekend we had mild weather, we were in the Zoo parking lot, I said on impulse, let’s walk to the Hole in the Rock. And so we did.

We didn’t know if we would walk to the back of the rock and see technical climbers with crampons and ropes. We hoped there was a manageable way to reach the top.

Mr. Dreamy walked with Brady and I walked with Max.

Max was eager to climb, he left the well marked trail and took off vertically

The path was graded and had steps cut into it at spaced intervals. I corralled Max and we caught up with our family

by now we are three minutes into the hike and three minutes from the summit

We rounded a corner and lo and behold, Hole in the Rock hike is 1/10 of a mile long and an elevation of 200 feet. Dead easy. I saw pregnant woman walking littles in flip flops. This is my kind of hike!

The hole reveals itself in stages, it is bigger than it looks

We entered through a smaller oval in the rock, certainly big enough but it opened to yield a cavern in the rock and a larger hole facing the zoo. People streamed in and out continuously, posing for pictures, enjoying the view, children climbed the rocks in the interior.

This is the reason we aren’t going to the Grand Canyon for a long time

Telling Max when we reached the top “Look at you! You climbed a mountain!” and the reward of his beaming face makes this a million dollar hike. I know he traces mountain ridges with his hands and tells me how he would walk along the top if only I would let him. Today, he got his wish.

we had our own turn at a group picture and then we were off to feed the ducks

My verdict on the park: The Hole in the Rock hike makes my roster for “out of town guests”, it’s so easy nearly anyone can do it. It’s a thrill to do it the way we did it, totally unaware of how easy it was and how pretty the view would be. This will be fun to share with my out of town guests. Do you bring family to the Hole in the Rock? Have you watched the city lights and seen the sunset?

From the Peak of Papago,
Mrs. Kenney

If you visit the park: All gated roadways and trailhead parking areas are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the park located east of Galvin Parkway. Trailhead parking west of Galvin Parkway is sunrise to sunset or 7 p.m. whichever, comes first. Though gated parking areas including restrooms and ramadas will close at 7 p.m., the trails remain open until 11 p.m. Don’t overlook the nearby Nature Trail, .25 miles long and begins at the ranger’s office. It has signage for the desert plants. I’m sorry we missed it. (Links to all 4 trails in the park)


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