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Monument Hill, Avondale, Arizona

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by Julie Diebolt Price (subscribe)
I am a pro photographer, teacher, author, and passionate traveler. Learn more at
Published February 2nd 2021
Why hiking ground zero in the Valley of the Sun is worth it
Valley of the Sun, Arizona
Valley of the Sun from Monument Hill, Avondale, Arizona

Fourteen miles southwest of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, is a short, 150-foot steep climb up Monument Hill. This little hike will take you to ground zero. For breathtaking, 360-degree views of the Valley of the Sun, you can't beat this experience.

survey, marker
Survey marker on Monument Hill

A survey marker adorns the peak and designates the zero point tied to almost every legal property description in Phoenix and Arizona. This marker governs Arizona's surveys and the layout for the street grids in Phoenix begins here on Monument Hill.

The Gila River, seen easily from the top, was the original boundary between the United States and Mexico. The first marker was set in 1851 by the U.S. and Mexico Boundary Commission. It was the initial point for land ownership in the Arizona Territory, and all survey marks in Arizona were established from this Initial Point.

The Monument Hill initial point was added to the National Register of Historic Places as of October 15, 2002. The installation has been repaired and replaced over the years, with the most recent in 2006.

national, register, historic, places, monument hill
Monument Hill in Avondale, Arizona

Monument Hill, aka Rattlesnake Hill, is on the east side of Phoenix Raceway. The western side of Monument Hill is terraced for low-priced (the cheap seats) for race viewing. Phoenix Raceway's Hillside is known around motorsports as one of the most unique and beautiful vantage points to watch a NASCAR race!

Phoenix, raceway, avondale, Arizona
Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona

March 12-14, 2021, Phoenix Raceway for NASCAR 2021 is back for their annual spring weekend. This three-day event has limited capacity, so get your tickets online early.

Traffic and parking are issues during Phoenix Raceway events, so go early and be prepared for a wait.

Hiking at Ground Zero

Look for the sign Tres Rios Base and Meridian Wildlife Area on the west side of the parking area in the back of the parking lot and follow the trail.

tres, rios, tribal, land, sign, Monument Hill
Entrance to Tres Rios indian tribal land

The 200-acre BLM preserve is at the Salt and Gila Rivers' confluence and is managed by Arizona Game and Fish. Hiking on Gila River Indian Community land is subject to tribal laws and regulations.

Getting to ground zero

From Phoenix on I-10, exit on Avondale Blvd/115th Ave. After driving south 6 miles, after crossing the Gila River bridge, turn left into the Phoenix Raceway parking lot. Follow the road 1/2 mile back toward the river and park in the marked stalls or dirt lot at the end of the road.

The address for Phoenix Raceway is 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr., Avondale, AZ 85323.

Stunning views of the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, as well as Estrella Mountain Regional Park, are a fitting reward for your efforts.

It's a little windy at the top, so hang onto your hat!

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Where: 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr., Avondale, AZ 85323
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