The Hole in the Rock: A Phoenix Landmark You Must Experience

The Papago mountain in Phoenix Arizona USA

Credit to Joe Flood

The desert landscape in and around Phoenix is quite unique, and some areas are absolutely awe-inspiring. One spot that is always worth a visit is the Hole in the Rock in Papago Park. This sandstone hill began as a rock and was eroded into the interesting shape it is today. All year round visitors climb the auburn sandstone to take in the magnificent views of downtown Phoenix.

Credit to Catey Traylor ‏@catey_traylor

Credit to Catey Traylor ‏@catey_traylor

Exploring a Geological Wonder in Scottsdale

What makes this formation so special is its history. Time and weather caused a series of holes to appear in the small butte, so various tunnels and a natural skylight developed in the hill. The earliest settlers of the region, the Hohokam Indians, realized the rock’s ceiling gap created light rays that shifted positions throughout the year. They discovered they could mark each season according to these movements.

sisters playing at Papago Park

Credit to Brian Zenner ‏@bwzenner

Knowing the story behind the rock makes exploring it even more exciting. As you step through the front of a chamber, you can really feel the past coming to life. Because the holes eroded through to the opposite side, there is a breeze continually blowing through each opening. It’s almost as if history is whispering its tale to all who will sit calmly and listen.

Sunset January 2015 at hole in the rock

Credit to Lou ‏@dubois

Relaxing in the Natural World in Phoenix

Hiking to the top of the formation is easy and quick. It takes less than 10 minutes, and you’ll see plenty of gorgeous foliage on the way up. There is a smooth path ascending gradually toward the summit, but there is also a rocky stairwell on the other side of the hill. The latter is more challenging and ideal if you’re expecting a traditional hike.

Family Fun

Credit to TxBubba ‏@Tx_Bubba

Once you reach the butte, you can stand inside the chamber. The interior walls are remarkable, with each crevice and shadow creating fascinating images. If you visit on a sunny day, you’ll see light dancing on the surfaces and highlighting the textures. The sights outside the hole are even more incredible. Down below, reflective water weaves throughout the beautiful green valley, and on the horizon, a striking mountain range serves as the backdrop.

Happy couple hiking

Credit to Sam Lee ‏@sushi_cats

Making the Most of Your Experience in Arizona

Although the trek to the Hole in the Rock takes very little time, you can still enjoy the surrounding area for hours. Bring a picnic lunch and settle into the shadows of the rock, or discover the marvels of Papago Park. You can go hiking, biking or fishing and enjoy the beauty of the sandstone from an entirely new perspective. Sunsets in this area are mesmerizing, and the changing light provides outstanding photo opportunities.

Mountain View from the side

Credit Meghan Davidson ‏@PhoenixFlame35

Dog and master under the hole

Credits to @Critcher and Logan Peck ‏@loganpeck


Credit to Channel ‏@Channel_Az

Sunrise in Scottsdale

Credit Justin Farrell ‏@farreljt

Because this unusual piece of nature is so close to the city, planning a day trip isn’t difficult. The climb is perfect for all ages, so even the tiniest toddlers can explore the hole. If you’re ready to pose for some fresh selfies with your loved ones, this is the place to do it. It’s simple, silly family fun that tourists and locals enjoy day after day.


Directions from Scottsdale


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