Tucson Mountain Disctrict: Signal Hill + Cactus Wren Loop
Saguaro National Park
The Signal Hill Trail takes visitors back in time through a series of petroglyphs left by the Hohokam people 500 - 1100 A.D. While most come to Signal Hill for the petroglyphs, few explore the Cactus Wren and Manville trails, which form a 4.5 mile loop through an ecologically rich desert scrub community.
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The Hohokam were master canal builders; archeologists have uncovered over 1,000 miles of canals built over a period of 1,400 years
Hohokam means 'gone' or 'all used up' in the Akimel O'odham dialect
Ironwoods create shade and richer soil beds for smaller plants to begin life; it's one of the most common nurse trees for saguaro
Hohokam is not an ethnic group, but a cultural term applied to Native Americans of the Santa Cruz, San Pedro, Gila and Salt watersheds from 500 - 1450 A.D.
Portions of the loop pass through thornscrub, a wetter ecotone in the desert scrub community
While most glyphs at Signal Hill are abstract, some depict more familiar scenes and wildlife
The Hohokam used the long, stiff ribs of fallen Saguaro to harvest (by poking and knocking) the fruit from living saguaro
The Sonoran Desert has the greatest diversity of plant growth forms (structural and biological means for survival) of any desert ecosystem
Hohokam had ball courts (sporting arenas), a cultural institution more closely related to Mexican and Central American peoples'
The Sonoran Desert is home to 4 ungulates — mule deer, pronghorn, javelina and bighorn sheep