“High Noon” Pictographs (Joshua Tree National Park)


I was tipped off on this location from a friend and fellow rock art enthusiast that had previously visited the site. This is one of the more intriguing locations that I’ve had the opportunity to visit. Located in a wash near the Wonderland Ranch ruins, this giant granite boulder is hollow underneath. To view the pictographs you have to crawl through a hole, and once you are under the boulder there is enough room for a six-foot tall person to stand straight up.

The designs that are present are simple, yet interesting. Present are number of “ticks”, which are believed by some to represent a calendar, or counting system. On the top, middle a pictograph of the sun is present. I speculate that the position of the sun pictograph indicates “high noon”. All of the designs that are present are made using a red pigment. One petroglyph is also present.

A blackened mortar hole is located above the entrance, likely used as a fire starting tool by the one time inhabitant.




About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, 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.