Home > Best Sites to Visit > On Public Lands

            The sites which follow are a small list.  There are also others which are well managed, and we hope to be adding more as management methods improve and funding is found to support public visits. 

            Which of these sites do you think should remain on a list of best sites to visit?  What criteria are you using to evaluate them?  Which should be dropped?  Which others should be added?  Please let us know at [...]


Alberta, Canada


Writing on Stone, Alberta. 

            One of the largest collections of rock art in North America.  Available only on guided tours.  The trail is beautifully landscaped with several small wooden amphitheaters, so visitors  are comfortable listening to guides and to each other discussing the rock art images.  There is one panel on a self-guided trail with a wire protective screen which has large brown square mesh (for less visual interference) and has openings intended for cameras.  Friendly presentation, yet well protected, made possible by visitor center, permanent staff, and assistants.




Deer Valley Rock Art Center                        

            Visitor center, self-guided trail with labels and benches to rest.  In northern outskirts of Phoenix.


The V-Bar-B Ranch Petroglyph Site             http://www.redrockcountry.org/recreation/cultural/v-bar-v.shtml

            This is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley, Arizona, as well as being one of the best-preserved. Acquired by the Coconino National Forest in 1994, the site has recently been opened for general public visitation. This website is intended to provide the potential visitor with background information about the site and its rock art.  [Informal visitor Center, but no fulltime resident(?)  Open only certain days.  As of 2005 (?) a fence intended to protect the rock art from cattle rubbing against it has allowed trees to grow close to the rock, which creates a fire danger to the rock art, as well as obscuring the view of visitors and causing lichen and moss to grow over them.  Should this site be removed from a “best sites” list until these failures are remedied?]


Canyon de Chelly                                          

            Visitor Center.  Visits only in the company of Navajo guides.  Sites on private land are not normally visited, except with prior arrangement with landowners.  The experience is not primarily for rock art, but that is an incidental addition to the experience.




Little Petroglyph Canyon  China Lake, Naval Air Weapons Testing Station, Ridgecrest, California.


            The Maturango Museum guides provide public access to this treasure of rock art. Some of these petroglyphs have been dated to 16,000 years before present. We take you to "Little Petroglyph Canyon," the best of all of the many canyons on the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station land. There are over 6000 petroglyphs to be seen in a canyon a mile long.     Info at the Maturango Museum web site. Click on "Petroglyph Trips".


Painted Rock  Carrizo Plain National Monument, California


            This is a Chumash Indian rock art site, on BLM land. The site has been badly vandalized since the early 1920's, but is now actively protected and is closely monitored by members of the Southern Sierra Archaeological Society. Short hike required. Carrizo Painted Rock is located off Soda Lake Rd south of California Valley at Hwy 58. A sign marks the turn-off. Note that the site area is closed during raptor nesting season. Call the Goodwin Educational Center, at the site, for information, 805-475-2131.  [What are the management pluses which would justify putting this site into a ‘best” list?]




Ute Mountain Tribal Park

            Visits only in the company of a Ute guide.

New Mexico


Petroglyph National Monument                    http://www.nps.gov/petr/

            In June of 1990, the National Park Service Established Petroglyph National Monument for the preservation of cultural and national resources. Over seventy-one hundred acres in size, the Monument extends from Piedras Marcadas Canyon in the north to Mesa Prieta in the south; and from the volcanoes in the west to the escarpment edge in the east. The Monument area protects one of the most impressive collections of Indian and Hispanic rock art in the world. In addition, more than 100 archeological sites and a variety of volcanic features and associated wildlife habitats are protected, all within the Albuquerque city limits.  Visitor Center.




Hueco Tanks.  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/hueco_tanks/

            Unusual and beautiful rock formations with unusually elaborate and well-executed pictographs on them.  Docents conduct a rotating schedule of walking trips to see different areas of the rock art.  Management has succeeded in a very careful balancing of different uses, with accessibility on various staggered levels, from the merely curious visitor to the professional researcher and Native American visitors.




Sand Island

            Long wall with many glyph panels, protected by fence.  No visitor center, but ranger station is on the premises (?) and the area is so highly frequented so that acts as substantial protection.


[The following LA is mostly not able to evaluate.  Are there really no outstanding sites in terms of management in Utah?]

??? Petroglyph Pullout Walk Capitol Reef National Park





List merged from the Conservation and Protection Network and Bob Edberg’s lists, with addition of Writing-on-Stone, Hueco Tanks, Canyon de Chelly, Deer Valley, Sand Island, Ute Mountain Tribal Park. 


Again, should some on this list be deleted, some kept, and others added?  Which, and by what criteria? To be meaningful, this web page cannot list every site that is open to public access, and we would not want to do that.


[The following should be evaluated by those who know them and can compare whether they should be highlighted by being mentioned here, because they are more than normally well managed.]




Sanilac Petroglyph Site




Inscription Rock Site              http://www.ohiohistory.org/places/inscript/


Leo Petroglyph Site                http://www.ohiohistory.org/places/leopetro/