On a cold and overcast morning in the winter of 2013, I did a little hike in the Eagletail Wilderness just west of Phoenix. I don’t get over to Arizona that often and a desert full of tall saguaro cactuses is a different experience for me. This is fantastically scenic country.
After crossing open Sonoran desert, I entered a canyon cut into some low-lying volcanic hills. The petroglyphs started immediately and there were far more of them than I expected. This is an impressive site. As I hiked down the canyon, the walls of both sides were covered in petroglyphs. In one rock shelter, I spotted some pictographs; faded beyond recognition by exposure to the elements.
I expected to see a spring or some source of water here but I didn’t. If you venture out into this desolate wilderness, be sure to bring some water with you.
I begin my long hike to the petroglyph site.
My trail takes me to an old cattle gate in this wash.
In the wash.
It is quite scenic out here.
I love the unusual rock formations of Arizona.
Getting closer now.
Finally, the site comes into view.
I'm greeted by this large boulder of Mohave petroglyphs. I'll soon discover this is a large site.
The backside of the boulder.
I start to see petroglyphs everywhere.
That "H" looks like the Grapevine style found in many places around the Colorado river.
Petroglyphs are all over this boulder.
Lots of geometric patterns.
Long legged bighorn down near the bottom.
Horned figure and spiral.
"H" and cross-hatched patterns.
Nets? Entopics? The Milky Way?
More enclosed geometric grids.
No shortage of abstract petroglyphs here.
The walls are covered with them.
It goes on and on.
But many are interesting designs like this cross-hatched one.
Some of these abstracts look a little newer.
I find a circle of rocks marking the base of a shelter.
This little fishhook cactus picked a tough spot to grow.
Zigzag rain petroglyph.
A block style figure. Could it be a saguaro petroglyph?
Another net petroglyph. This one is not easy to reach.
Unusual design shows verical lines with wavy lines in between.
Some petroglyphs are so faint you can barely see them.
The wall continues on.
A rare anthropomorph among the rectilinear abstract petroglyphs.
Family of fishhook cactus. They are one of my favorites.
I love the wide variety of cactus here, although it makes for some tricky hiking at times.
Hiking along the canyon.
Approaching another low outcrop.
I immediately find a enclosed cross that I associate with the morning or evening "star" of Venus.
High on a cliff, another star symbol with a spoked wheel next to it.
This panel has a few bighorn sheep, concentric circles and wavy lines.
I look behind me to find faint bighorn sheep all over this boulder.
This overhang was probably used for shelter too.
Back in the wash.
Mortars in the bedrock. Only one is empty.
I find some more.
This must have been a good spot.
I can't tell if this surface has been worked or not.
Some more grinding slicks on top of a boulder in the wash.
I wonder what is over in this nice little alcove?
More petroglyphs, of course.
Some old ones.
You can't see these hatch patterns until you are right on top of them.
Interesting square spiral maze designs.
Closer view of the maze spiral.
Similar maze pattern is repeated on this rock.
Almost a checker board pattern.
Sunburst on the left?
Walking down the wash.
Some potholes still have water.
This one still has ice in it.
I come across another petroglyph panel. You have to keep your eyes open or you could walk right by.
I climb up to a small shelter.
Petroglyphs around the shelter.
Some faint color gets my attention.
I spot a jagged red pictograph.
Some false color treatment makes it stand out a bit more.
Here it is in D-Stretch.
I can see there were more pictographs here.
In the false color, you can see much of the original panel has weathered away and now lost forever.
Another look at it.
Note in the upper left of the panel there were some fine details.
They had a nice view.
I found a few pottery sherds at the shelter as well. I left them all where I found them.
This one was larger than the rest.
Side view of sherd.
More Grapevine style capital "I" zigzag patterns of the Mohave.
This panel was very tough to reach.
I crawled along some high rocks to get closer to this panel of enclosed patterns.
This complex panel was next to it. It might have been painted at one time.
A few sheep here.
A look down into the wash.
Well, I'm done and ready to go. So I start hiking out.
Hey, aren't those more petroglyphs on that rock?
Finally done, so I keep walking. But then I look up.
Nice bighorn sheep.
This place is big.
Crosses and hatch patterns all over this busy wall.
A few feet more.
More rain under a boulder.
I think I see another pictograph. Look on the right-hand side.
Some false color shows dark red circles with rays.
D-Stretch shows it as well.
Historic inscription are found here too. "E. Zillau. Jan. 14. 08" I'm guessing that's 1908?
"J. W. Prout .07 . April" next to a enclosed cross petroglyph.
Another wall of petroglyphs are above the inscriptions.
Ok, a final look at this fantastic site as I start to hike back to my truck.
Last Updated on July 31, 2020 by