As I ate lunch with my twins near hundreds of years old Anasazi petroglyphs, I felt like I was sitting next to rock stars – rock art stars that is. If you’re like me, I have to find hikes with a lot of bang for the buck or my children lose interest and complain. Recently, during our trip to St. George, Utah, I took my twins, mom and cousins, to the Anasazi Ridge Petroglyphs – a rock art site overlooking the Santa Clara River a few miles west of St George.
As we walked along the trail, we were surrounded by a red rock mountain range that was just gorgeous. The hike was a moderate 1.5mile uphill trudge and had the right amount of difficulty for my five-year-old twins and my 72 year-old Mother. When we arrived at the top, we wondered whether we were in the correct spot because it was quite flat. We realized we had to hike below the rocks to see the petroglyphs. I was inspired and humbled to observe how old the petroglyphs were and I pondered how human beings hundreds of years ago desired to leave their mark in the world, just as we do.
This hike was enough off the beaten path we felt like National Geographic explorers. It was exhilarating. I saw similar symbols I had seen in modern decor, furniture, jewelry, and even tee shirts and I wondered what they meant. Archeologists vary in their opinions some think they are simply “doodles”, while others believe they demonstrate tribal territories, the presence of game (animal symbols), or religious rituals (zigzags, spirals, dots symbols). Whatever the petroglyphs represent, they are unique and worth seeing. Any visit to the American Southwestern deserts should definitely include petroglyph viewing. You can find these sites by an Internet search, contacting local chambers of commerce and museums, or by checking with the National Park Service.
Pack water, sunscreen and snacks/lunch.
Visit in the morning or evening for best light and viewing.
Directions to the Anasazi Valley Trailhead: From I-15 Exit 6 turn north on Bluff Street. Turn left on Sunset Blvd. Continue on Sunset Blvd as it turns into Santa Clara Drive. Continue 3.2 miles past the Jacob Hamblin Home as Santa Clara Drive turns into Highway 91. Turn left onto a gravel road and travel 0.3 miles to the Anasazi Valley Trailhead. (Directions from BLM website)