Titus Canyon Petroglyphs / Klare Spring Petroglyphs (Death Valley National Park)


Petroglyphs in Death Valley National Park are hard to come by, not because there is a lack of them, but rather because the Park Service has done their damnedest to keep the public from finding out about these sites.

The National Park Service has a three-tier system when it comes to the acknowledgement of cultural sites. The first tier is public sites, these sites are advertised and readily available to the public (The Titus Canyon site is the only such site in Death Valley). Second tier sites, are sites that they will acknowledge, only if a ranger is asked about it by name. Third tier sites, are sites that are not to spoken of, and no admission of these sites existence can be made by an employee of the Park Service.

While I don’t necessarily agree with this system for various reasons (sounds like an opportunity for a rant in the future), the Titus Canyon / Klare Spring petroglyph site is a good example as to why a system like this has been put into place. This small petroglyph site that is nestled in the rather remote Titus Canyon, has been subjected to years of vandalism. So much so, that the original petroglyphs have become rather lost in the jumble of desecration.

The Native people who created these petroglyphs, came to Klare Spring, for both a water supply, as well hunting. The spring attracted wildlife, like the native Bighorn Sheep. Petroglyphs at the site confirm this, a number of the designs represent sheep and water symbols. To this day Bighorn Sheep are known to frequent the area.

When visiting this petroglyph site, or any other, please do not add to any existing graffiti. New defacement will only lead to more restrictions, and even less access to these culturally significant sites.



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.