Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The improbable red buttes of Phoenix's Papago Park are some of the area's most recognizable geological formations. The buttes, which are easily visible from the freeway, lend the city a certain dream-like quality.
Before the land that now comprises the 1,200 acre park was purchased by the city of Phoenix in 1959, it served as a reservation for the Maricopa and Pima tribes and as a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. It was also declared the Papago Saguaro National Monument by President Woodrow Wilson. The area's national monument status was later revoked.
Over time, erosion has chiseled a hole through one of the park's red buttes. Called Hole-In-The-Rock, this formation was used by the Hohokam people to mark equinoxes and solstices.
Climbing Hole-In-The-Rock via the footpath toward the back of the formation affords park visitors a spectacular view of both South Mountain and downtown Phoenix.
View of South Mountain from Phoenix's Papago Park