Long before the Valley’s urban sprawl began creeping into Northwest Phoenix , ancient Native Americans made the Valley their home. These indigenous people literally left their mark on the landscape, carving more than 1,500 petroglyphs onto the basalt boulder formations in the Hedgpeth Hills.
This impressive concentration of rock art is a fascinating and revealing look at the civilization that once thrived here, and the petroglyphs—geometric and anthropomorphic drawings carved onto rock—give a peek into their stories, religious rites, and hunting practices.
The Deer Valley Rock Art Center (3711 W. Deer Valley Rd., 623/582-8007, http://dvrac.asu.edu , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun. Oct.–Apr., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues.–Sun. May–Sept., $7 adults, $3 children) is more than archaeological site, though. The 47-acre park also serves as a nature preserve for native wildlife and an ethnobotanical garden for the hardy crops that have been cultivated in Arizona for thousands of years, including corn, beans, chile peppers, onions, squash, and cotton.
Visitors may want to bring a pair of binoculars or rent some at the center to view the more distant petroglyphs.