Ridgecrest BLM Rock Art / Native American

Indian Wells Canyon Pictographs


The pictograph site in Indian Wells Canyon is not a well documented site thus there is no visible vandalisation, and the site is well-preserved.

The Indian Wells Canyon pictographs were discovered in 1968 by Grant, Baird and Pringle during field reconnaissance in the Southern Sierra Nevada. The attributes of these pictographs tie them to “Coso” style rock art.

The pictographs utilize orange/red and white pigments. Most of the designs are still vibrant, and visible without the use of any enhancement.

One of the most intriguing designs is that of a horse and a rider wearing a hat. This would date these pictographs to a time period when white settlers had already been in the area.  Based on this depiction, it would date these pictographs to historic times. This is unusual because it was previously believed that no “Coso” style rock art was created during this time period.


Indian Wells Pictographs






About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/groups/358025760893320/#!/groups/445358320166/ Cwh-1

    This is a wonderful place. Very nice..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/G253BF4NYMXWLYIGRGXVEKSIKI Camera R

    This is a very neat site to visit. Here’s a recent visit my wife and I made Feb 2012.

    What I see in these pictographs requires a large stretch of the imagination. The jagged line represents the jagged ridgeline directly above where this boulders resides in Indian Wells Canyon, and as such the overall scene represents the history of IWC. The scene is a creation/history story, and is read from right to left. The two tiny stick figures on the right represent the first two people to arrive in Indian Wells Canyon. The two giants and the shield represent the “great spirits” that overlook and protect IWC and its occupants. And proceeding to the far left represents the modern lives of the late occupants (as when this painting was made).