Lone Rock Petroglyphs (Valley of Fire State Park)

Valley of Fire - This is probably my favorite panel in park. The anthropomorphic images and spirals are amazing.
Valley of Fire - Incredible petroglyph panel that is adjacent to Lone Rock.

Valley of Fire – Incredible petroglyph panel that is adjacent to Lone Rock.

 

Valley of Fire - Close-up of above panel

Valley of Fire – Close-up of above panel

 

Lone Rock is just what you would image it is from its name, it is a single large boulder that sits away from a boulder strung canyon wall (sorry, no pictures of Lone Rock…I was too busy looking at petroglyphs).  The park provides a single table and grill, making for a nice picnic area. Lone Rock itself is not a secret, it is clearly marked, and located near the rock cabins. The petroglyphs are located along the western cliff side, and are probably not much of a secret either, but more than likely missed by the casual visitor. The great thing about Valley of Fire is that they don’t pretend that petroglyphs don’t exist in their park, but rather embrace the fact that they are here, and provide education opportunities to enhance one’s visit.

The thousands of petroglyphs located in Valley of Fire have been dated by archeologists, some of which have been identified to be over 3,000 years old.

The Gypsum People were the first known inhabitants of Valley of Fire, they visited here 4000-1800 years ago (2000 B.C.-200 A. D.). Theses people were nomadic hunter-gather people.  It is believed that they didn’t live in the Valley of Fire, but rather traveled here for ceremonial and religious purposes.

Later groups of native people who would spend time in and around the Valley of Fire include the Basket Makers, the Anasazi Pueblo People that farmed in nearby Moapa Valley, and later in historic times, the Southern Paiute.

None of these groups of people lived full-time in the Valley of Fire, as there are no water sources; with the exception of water that may have collected in natural stone tanks (like Mouse’s Tank) after a good rain.

It is very likely that the Valley of Fire petroglyphs had been created over a period of roughly 3,000 years, by members of each of these cultural groups.

Valley of Fire - Either a very old panel, or very eroded panel. Contains a spiral and several small circles.

Valley of Fire – Either a very old panel, or very eroded panel. Contains a spiral and several small circles.

 

Valley of Fire - Close up of above panel.

Valley of Fire – Close up of above panel.

 

Valley of Fire - This is probably my favorite panel in park. The anthropomorphic images and spirals are amazing.

Valley of Fire – This is probably my favorite panel in park. The anthropomorphic images and spirals are amazing.

 
Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 7

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.

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