Hole-in-the-Rock (Papago Park)

Coordinates: 33°27′23″N 111°56′44″W / 33.4565°N 111.9455°W / 33.4565; -111.9455
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Hole-in-the-Rock, west (front) side shown

Hole-in-the-Rock is a natural geological formation in Papago Park, a municipal park of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona.


In 1892, Charles Poston named and claimed "Hole-in-the-Rock".[1]

Hole-in-the-Rock is a series of openings (tafoni) eroded in a small hill composed of bare red arkosic conglomeritic sandstone. The sandstone was first formed some 6–15 million years ago from the accumulation of materials eroding from a Precambrian granite, long since eroded away. The tafoni are thought to have been eroded by water. An open, shelter-like chamber in the face of the formation communicates with the rear of the formation via a hole eroded completely through the rock. Another substantial opening exists in the "ceiling" of the chamber.

There is evidence that the Hohokam, early inhabitants of the region,[2] used and recorded the position of sunlight shining through the latter opening to mark the seasons—notably the equinoxes and the solstices, which were marked by carving a slick area (metate) in the rock. Other positions were marked with boulders.

The formation is a popular attraction in the park. The openings and main chamber near the summit are easily accessible via a smoothly ascending path that passes behind the hill. It is also possible to climb the face of the hill to reach the chamber. While popular, the trail can be dangerous.[3] The chamber provides a good view of the city of Phoenix west of the park.[4] A nearly constant wind blows through the openings in the rock.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Arizona history-April 10–16". AP NEWS. April 6, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "The best parks in Phoenix". Lonely Planet. February 15, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  3. ^ McDaniel, Michael; Torres, Miguel (February 7, 2021). "Hiker dies from critical injuries after 40-foot fall at Papago Park in Phoenix". Arizona Republic. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  4. ^ Lawrence, Katie (April 29, 2022). "This Family-Friendly Park In Arizona Has A Zoo, Botanical Garden, Hiking Trails, And More". OnlyInYourState. Retrieved August 30, 2022.

External links[edit]

33°27′23″N 111°56′44″W / 33.4565°N 111.9455°W / 33.4565; -111.9455