Little Black Mountain Petroglyphs
Little Black Mountain Petroglyphs
Right on the UT-AZ border, this site features a wide range of petroglyphs from different ancient cultures including Western Anasazi, Great Basin, and Lower Colorado River natives. A short trail with some interpretive signs along the way will walk you through the more than 500 different art items, and there is a picnic site and undeveloped outhouse onsite to help you make an afternoon of it.
|Elevation Range:||10 ft|
|Low Elevation:||4990 ft|
|High Elevation:||5000 ft|
There are several locations in Southern Utah that feature pictographs and petroglyphs, and this is one of the best. There is a wide variety of these early man drawings, and more than 500 of them are concentrated in a relatively dense area. While much of the purpose and significance of these drawings has been lost over the centuries, we postulate that there was both social and religous significance associated with some of them. Some of them are likely very similar to modern day graffiti - maybe not much significance to anyone else, but a special meaning to the person who put it there.
The LIttle Black Mountain Petroglyph site is located about 10 miles Southeast of St George UT on a few miles of dirt roads. To get there, either head south on River Road until it turns into dirt, or take Southern Parkway west and get off on the River Road exit. Heading south on Quail Hill Rd (what River Road turns into), take the first left about 1/4 mile onto the dirt, and follow the signs. The actual site is about 4.5 miles ahead from that point.
While 4-wheel drive is not required, a higher-clearance vehicle is recommended. There can be largish rocks on the road, and weather can make the road a little bit rough. The initial hill visible just a few hundred yards off of Quail Hill Rd is the steepest portion of the trip; if your vehicle can make that hill then you will be in the clear for the rest of the trip. If your vehicle isn't prepared for it, watch out for mud after any rain.
The location will be visible from a distance, and easy to drive to. Watch out for the various ATV trails that will take off to the side, and for ATVs that may be on the road. Pick any spot outside the gate to park.
Once parked, on the other side of the gate you can use the picnic area or the pit toilet. There is no water onsite, so make sure to bring any you might need.
The trail itself is a gravel path leading up to the base of the mesa. The trail once you get to the mesa, the trail extends in two opposite directions to guide you past the majority of the different petroglyphs. Peek around various boulders to find these drawings etched into the "desert varnish". These petroglyphs were made by scraping, chipping, or pecking off this darker colored desert varnish to leave the lighter-colored rock underneath exposed. As a bit of trivia: pictographs are drawings painted onto the rocks, and petroglyphs are scraped or otherwise marked into the rock.
Take your time, and enjoy all the different drawings. Overall this is a fun little hike that you can accomplish in an hour, although you can spend much longer exploring and locating each of the drawings if you feel so inclined.
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From River Road in St George:
- Drive South until crossing under Highway 7, into AZ on the dirt road
- On the left, watch for the BLM sign marking "Little Black Mountain" a few hundred yards after the road turns to dirt
- Turn left, drive for 4.1 miles
- Make sure to keep generally heading East, avoiding any side roads
- Once you are close to the base of the hill, you will see small structures, fence, etc. for the site
- Make a left and drive a couple hundred yards to arrive at the parking area
BLM Page - Summary of the little black mountain petroglyph site