The Hole in the Rock

The Hole in the Rock at Papago Park
People climbing into The Hole in the Rock.
Our next stop after the Gateway Loop Trail was Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona. My friend had never been there, but after she suggested it, I looked online and what I saw definitely looked very interesting and worth seeing—it did not disappoint.

In Papago Park is a formation called "The Hole in the Rock" because, well, you guessed it, there's a hole in the rock. The rock is called a butte (an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top) and was created 6 to 15 million years ago. The holes were formed by erosion, and the main hole has a chamber that you can climb into, if you are brave enough, to sit and enjoy the view.

This was another place where I wished I had my hiking boots. Note to self: buy some hiking shoes that are more packable. It's not a strenuous hike, but can be a little slippery in regular sneakers, especially when coming back down. But it was a neat place to see, and if my camera battery had not started to die, we would have stayed a bit longer.

View of Papago Park from The Hole in the Rock
Spectacular view thru The Hole in the Rock.
I'm usually so good about having a backup battery with me at all times or at least having a fully-charged battery when setting out for the day, but I broke both rules on this outing. As a result, I'm going to create a little laminated card to put with my camera that will be a checklist of things to take with me on all outings. I am hoping that will help my obviously too-full brain to remember.

Oh, well, I still got some neat shots, I think. Whenever I see the opportunity to create a sun flare shot, I like to do so because it can provide more interest to something that can otherwise be a little plain all by itself.

Sun flare thru The Hole in the Rock
Sun flare coming thru The Hole in the Rock.
I was also thinking that the sun could possibly create a shaft of light thru the hole, based on time of day or year. Later, I did a little online research and learned that the ancient Hohokam people had discovered just that. They apparently marked the solstices and equinoxes in the chamber, but I didn't get to see that. We decided not to crawl into the hole since we didn't have our hiking shoes.

On the path to the hole in the rock, I spotted a tiny cactus that had beautiful pink flowers trimmed in white. I actually squealed in delight. There's not much that I love more than flowers and seeing such dainty, colorful flowers on a cactus was truly a treat. Such an interesting juxtaposition of sharp and soft.

Fishhook cactus with pink flowers at Desert Botanical Gardens
This fishhook cactus was only about 8" tall.
Then there was the little lake with palm trees and reflections. It really looked out of place in this desert setting. From what I understand, palm trees are not native to Arizona, but they sure seem to thrive there.

Water with reflection of palm trees in Papago Park
 A little oasis in Papago Park.
I imagine that if I lived in Scottsdale, I'd visit Papago Park quite often. Absolutely beautiful!

Next stop: Desert Botanical Gardens

Have you been to Papago Park and climbed into the Hole in the Rock chamber?


  1. Every time I go to this park, I remember our visit. I love how you saw that teeny, tiny cactus and didn't just walk by it. Beautiful photos!

    1. Thank you. I loved this park and would go there often if I lived there.