Tag Archives: Golden Valley
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 trail head 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 trail head the hike to the petroglyphs is roughly 1 mile. Most of the hike will be up hill, but not at a drastic incline. There are no specific 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 early man pieces of art can never be replaced, please respect them so that future generations may enjoy them as well.
The petroglyphs at Steam Wells are believed to date back close to 1,000 years when the Kawaiisu occupied this territory. It is known that the Kawaiisu made these particular style of petroglyphs near permanent water sources.
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 from an old stone cabin, a collapsed mine, and one of many steam wells in the area. This area was mined in the 1930′s, the steam wells had been made to help power these activities. The steam wells have all been sealed off, however they are known to leak a bit, releasing a rather pungent stench.
All and all, this is a worthy trip. You can expect to spend a couple of hours at the minimum exploring the area. Once you are finished here, head back to the highway and visit Randsburg, Johannesburg, or Red Mountain. These three semi-ghosts towns offer much to explore.