Steam Wells Petroglyphs

The Steam Wells Petroglyphs are located within the Golden Valley Wilderness boundaries near the Rand Mining District. From highway 395 take Trona Road for 1.3 miles. Turn right on RM1444, and follow for 4 miles. At the 4 mile mark you will see the trailhead on the left. There is a small parking area to the right. It is recommended that you have at the minimum a high clearance 2WD to make the drive.

From the trailhead the hike to the petroglyphs is roughly one mile. Most of the hike is up hill, but not at a drastic incline. There are no markers on the trail that point out the exact location of the petroglyphs, but once you reach a wooden fence guard continue to your right. You will see a basaltic outcropping. Climb to the top of the outcropping (roughly 100 feet), here is where you will find the Steam Wells Petroglyphs.

Sadly a number of the petroglyphs have been chipped out by vandals and thieves. Others have had modern people deface them by scratching in the rocks directly beside them. If you are a regular visitor to my site I would hope that I don’t need to remind you to leave everything as you found it, but I’ll mention it anyway just in case! These petroglyphs can never be replaced, please respect them so that future generations may enjoy them also.

The petroglyphs at Steam Wells are believed to date back to 1,000 years ago, when the Kawaiisu occupied this territory.

Once you’ve visited the petroglyphs head back down to the fence guard, and continue up the small canyon. Here you will find the ruins of an old stone cabin, a collapsed mine, and one of many steam wells in the area. This area was mined in the 1930s, the steam wells were used to help power mining equipment. The wells have all been sealed off, however they are known to leak and release a rather pungent stench.



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.