on June 13, 2012 Local Hikes: Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs

Local Hikes: Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs

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.

Sloan Canyon PetroglyphsSloan Canyon Petroglyphs

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).

Sloan Canyon PetroglyphsSloan Canyon Petroglyphs

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).

Sloan Canyon PetroglyphsSloan Canyon Petroglyphs

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.

Sloan Canyon PetroglyphsSloan Canyon Petroglyphs

ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Art and culture since 2009.

Written by David Hardy

David Hardy

David Hardy grew up in suburban Baltimore. Most of his twenties were spent in bands. He moved to Las Vegas when he lost a bet, but ended up loving it. He is a graphic designer, professor, and dreamer. He enjoys the many lowbrow activities that this city has to offer.


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