Mule Tank is a small, seasonal tinaja along the foothills of the Mule Mountains along the Colorado River. It is a long walk to any other source of water, so this catchment would have been important source of water in this vast and arid region. The petroglyphs themselves are in the small canyon below and at the tank.
The Chemehuevi and Mojave indian groups were both in this area and likely made some, if not all, of the petroglyphs here.
Not far from Mule Tank and along an indian trail are a series of intaglios. An intaglio is similar to a geoglyph but instead of rocks being aligned on the ground, rocks are removed to create a negative image. Intaglios were probably made for group ceremonies like dances and rituals. A large circular trail crosses over one of the long distance trails here. It is probably a dance circle. Part of it has been destroyed by a dirt road but enough remains that you can clearly see it.
The intaglios here are sets of circles, cleared of desert pavement, that lay in a semicircular pattern adjacent to the trail on the gravel bench above the wash.
Indian trails cross great distances over the open desert, usually from water source to water source, for trade and contact. One of the trails here leads to Corn Springs, some 30 miles away, another heads over to the Colorado River.
For more information on Mule Tank, check out these sources: David Whitley’s book “Guide to Rock Art Sites: Southern California and Southern Nevada” and the Dzrtgrls site, which has a trip report on Mule Tank.