Sloan Canyon, our third hike near Las Vegas, is home to the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, a large collection of Native American petroglyphs. This site is within the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area just south of Henderson, Nevada. It used to require lots of gravel driving to reach it until the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) built a paved access road from Henderson and installed a visitor contact station (which was closed thanks to the shutdown o_O ).

We started from the Petroglyph Canyon Trailhead (after walking up the gated access road), went up the 100 Trail into the North McCullough Wilderness, then over two small dry waterfalls. The petroglyphs are concentrated in an area just past the second waterfall, so we could see a lot of them with minimal wandering around. This “rock art” was created by chipping-off the dark desert varnish (or patina) on the surface of the rock to expose the lighter rock underneath. It’s fun to speculate as to what they truly meant (or mean) but that’s really not for us to know. After enjoying the petroglyphs, we looped back via the 200 Trail, which gave us a view out over the seemingly ever-growing Las Vegas (now with a smog layer 🙄 ). This was an easy, fun hike (6.8 miles return) to a fascinating collection of petroglyphs. Kudos to the BLM for managing access to this important cultural site! 😀

Starting in to Sloan Canyon on the 100 Trail
The first dry waterfall – an easy walk-around
The canyon narrows
Scrambling up the second dry waterfall
The petroglyphs are etched in the desert patina on rocks above the wash
P4 (Frog?)
P5 (Snakes & centipedes?)
P6 (Lizard?)
P9 (Beetle & snake?)
P10 (Big horn sheep)
Continuing up the canyon on the 100 Trail toward Point 3970
On the 200 Trail past Point 3970
Las Vegas from the high point on the 200 Trail
Back to the trailhead (and the smog 😦 )