Howe’s Tank in the Rodman Mountains was a site that I had heard of, but had a little difficulty pinpointing its location. I finally had it narrowed down to two possibilities, so on one hot day at the end of this summer I tortured my wife with this hike across a long, flat, and barren stretch of desert. The temperature reached well over 100 degrees, the land was covered in black volcanic rock, which made the sun feel that much more intense.
After a couple of hours we arrived at the first location that I had suspected, and it turned out that my intuition was right on. We approached the tank from the top, and found ourselves looking down at a 20 foot drop off. Nevertheless, we made it, and immediately began finding petroglyphs on the top of the tank.
For those that may not be aware, a natural tank is an area that water collects after a rainfall. Native desert people were drawn to these tanks because they could collect water for consumption. In many cases these tanks would hold water for long periods of time, giving the people an extended water source.
The tank itself is very impressive, it measures 20′ x 30′ x 8′ deep, and was created over an extensive period of time by water rushing down the walls of the volcanic rock, creating a depression in the sand. In terms of rock art, there are hundreds of petroglyphs pecked into the basaltic rock that makes up the tank, and a small faint pictograph.
Like the neighboring Surprise Tank site, the rock art at Howe’s Tank is likely to have been placed here at various times, ranging from 10,000 to 1,000 years ago by the Colorado River and Pacific Coast tribes that traveled this route as a trade route between the two.
Interested in visiting this site?
GUIDE SERVICE OPTION: Jim’s Guide Service may be the right choice for you. Jim can provide you with a single day to multiday rock art tours throughout the Mojave Desert. Visit the guide website for more details.