Located in the Spirit Mountains, Grapevine Canyon is one of the earliest known petroglyph sites in Nevada and is sacred to many different tribes.
The parking area for Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs is about 2 miles along Christmas Tree Pass, the name conjours up visions of stately pine trees surrounded by snow covered mountains. Wrong! it’s part of the Lake Mead National Recreation area and is just west of Laughlin Nevada.
As we turned into Christmas Tree Pass a sign informed us of rough road ahead due to storm damage, but the section to Grapevine Canyon was fine.
At the trail head a sign warns you that the trail is unmaintained, but it’s an easy ¼ mile walk along a dry sandy wash, of course if you were daft enough to walk it after or during a storm I’m sure it would be a whole different scenario.
As we set off DB correctly summised that the rocks we could see covered in desert varnish would be the ones that had the petroglyphs on.
There must be thousands of petroglyphs on rocks on both sides of the canyon, rectangles with wavy lines inside, rectangles with squares round the edge and what looks like a paw print at the top.
We really couldn’t decide about these, some of the designs reminded us of patterns we’ve seen on Navajo carpets, but who knows?
Is the one below telling that there’s good hunting round here? Does the sun mean it’s only good hunting on a sunny day? Or, does it mean it’s how many were caught on a sunny day?
Part of the fun is trying to put them together and make a story, but we’ll never know if it’s the right story.
A longer, much more strenuous trail leads up and out of the canyon further into the Spirit Mountains, but it’s not a trail for a very hot day.
It’s a great place and we really enjoyed our visit, maybe next time we’ll get to drive over the pass and who knows we might even find some real Christmas Trees!
Have fun, we are!