Woods Wash Petroglyphs / Pictographs (Mojave National Preserve)

Woods Wash in the Woods Mountain area of the Mojave National Preserve is a pretty remote location, even for the Preserve where everything feels remote. If you decide to wander out and try to find this location be prepared for many miles of sometimes sketchy dirt roads. Once at the Woods Wash wilderness boundary you have to hike the rest of the way in. Petroglyphs begin roughly a half-mile in from the boundary. The petroglyphs are spread out over a couple of miles, covering the numerous basalt outcroppings that line the wash; the petroglyphs number in the thousands. There are a few faint pictographs (painted designs) as well.

Like a majority of the rock art sites in the Mojave Preserve, the Woods Wash petroglyphs are a mixture of designs from both Chemehuevi and Mohave tribes, and possibility of an earlier man from the Arachaic era (8000 to 2000 BC). The bolder lined designs are an attribute of the Mohave, while the narrower lined designs are accustomed to the Chemeheuvi.

With the extensive number of designs, the range in style is extensive. While a majority are abstract (geometric shapes), there are also anthropomorphic (stylized human figures), and zoomorphic (animals) designs.

The wash has a number of natural caves formed out of basalt rock, and mud. These caves were likely the shelters used by the Natives that created this wonderland of explainable rock art.

Enjoy the extensive 180+ images of Woods wash in the gallery below. The images of the pictographs have been enhanced with Dstretch.


Interested in visiting this site?

BOOK OPTION: Woods Wash Petroglyphs / Pictographs are featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. IV. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.





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.