Ancient Art: Petroglyphs Of Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area

The Sloan Canyon National Conservation one of the most important Native American cultural sites in Southern Nevada, with more than 300 rock art panels and 1,700 individual petroglyphs that were created from the Archaic to historical era. The area itself is composed of over 48,438 acres, with scenery that is filled with beautiful features including the Sloan Volcanic Section compromised by four 13-million-year-old extinct volcanoes with volcanic domes peaking at 5,000 feet in elevation that were formed from viscous lava pushing up through vents and hardening. There are also several waterfalls seasonally along with Petroglyph Canyon that predominantly slices through the Mount Sutor Volcano.

Go See It With Google Maps

To visit, the main entry point is via a paved road and trailhead that starts at the visitor contact station at the end of Nawghaw Poa Road (Paiute language for Bighorn Sheep Road). From the parking lot, you take the Sloan Canyon Trail, a 4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail that begins in a wide wash that is typical of the Mojava Desert and soon gains a canyon feeling as the walls and grade steepen. The wash continues south to a fork in the canyon, and splits with the 100 portion of the trail to the left, and 200 to the right. Following either trail will eventually lead to the main petroglyph gallery since it is a loop.

Taking the 200 trail brings you up a significant incline and around a volcanic hill and down into Petroglyph Canyon back down the 100 trail which includes several slippery rock scrambles down waterfalls depending on the season.

On reaching the canyon, petroglyph panels become evident, scattered amongst the boulders all over the hillside. According to archaeological surveys, these panels believed to be of Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Puebloan, and Late Prehistoric era’s. It’s theorized that the reason for the plethora of rock art within the narrow canyon is the seasonal hunts of bighorn sheep that still roam the canyon to this day. It is thought that during the desert’s monsoon season in late July and early August, Native Americans would gather in Sloan Canyon, one of the few places that bighorn sheep could find water in natural tanks after the summer rains. They would build hunting blinds up high in the narrow canyon and wait for sheep to come for water while other mebmers of the tribe would make campand prepare food while the hunters were away.

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