We've been meaning to hike Sloan Canyon ever since reading Deborah Walls' book, Base Camp Las Vegas. This hidden gem is actually closer than we thought, and has been called "Sistine Chapel of Native American rock art" due to it's 300 rock art panels. Having seen many great petroglyphs at Valley of Fire, we decided to explore Sloan Canyon.
These petroglyphs are some of the best preserved in the western states, and date from the archaic to historic eras. Some of the rock art appears as abstract motifs, while others are more representational of animals, cacti, and people. At least one seems to eerily depict the early contact between Native Americans and westerners on horses (above right).
The directions that the BLM lists on their website follow a 5-mile bumpy access road accessed from I-15. This makes it a long and potentially damaging trip for anything other than a high-clearance vehicle. Molly found this out when she originally tried to hike the canyon alone with a broken arm (not advisable).
What most people don't know (and we only recently found out) is that there is a much easier way to access the trail head through recent (stalled) developments in the Henderson/Anthem area. Here are our directions, followed by a guided video tour:
Starting from I-215 E:
1 Take exit 6 to merge onto NV-146 W/Nevada State Route 146/St Rose Pkwy
2 Turn left onto Executive Airport Dr
3 Turn right onto Volunteer Blvd
4 Continue through intersection onto Via Inspirada
5 Road curves left onto Bicentennial Pkwy
From there, use existing resources to find the petroglyphs.
Important: To keep the petroglyphs pristine, please do not touch the rock art because contact with the oils in skin will damage them. The BLM doesn't actually publish the location of the petroglyphs due to past valdalism. Respect the canyon and its natural surroundings. Leave No Trace.
A variety of volunteer opportunities exist at Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area including visitor contacts and trash clean-ups. Please contact the BLM more information.
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