Saturday, June 06, 2009

Cow Cove Petroglyphs

I've procrastinated posting this. A few weeks ago I visited a really neat petroglyph site. I took more photos (over 70) than I have at any other petroglyph site. The site lies just east of I-15, south of the Cima Road exit in the middle of the Mojave desert. Dirt roads get you most of the way there, leaving a 30 min walk along an old 2-track trail.

Here's the catch: WARNING - the deep sand in these roads can be treacherous. It seems that each time I drive these roads (3 times so far this spring), the sandy sections get deeper. On this trip, I'd estimate the sand to be about 8 or 9 inches deep in the worst sections. So this means you need 4wd and high clearance (or a very light vehicle).

After parking at the 2-track trail that's signed closed, it was an easy walk to the dark ridgeline visible to the northwest. The glyphs are on that ridge of lava rock boulders, as well as on the many large pieces of rock lying at the base of the ridge.

It's easy to scramble on the boulders. From almost every one you can look around and see glyphs. I didn't see any signs of theft, and only 1 sign of modern mimicry/vandalism (easily spotted in the photos I've shown here). I was surprised to find a BLM sign at the site. Here's a Google map centered on the dark ridge.

There were plenty of footprints, so the site is well explored. Standing atop the ridge offers a great view of the huge and expansive Cima volcanic dome to the east. It looks like a huge bulge in the Earth's surface.

If you go there, then bring a hat (there's no shade) and gloves (the black boulders get really hot in the sun). I'll be returning there again this summer. I took some photos of nearby rocks using my camera's 12x zoom and discovered what appear to be more glyphs, so I want to investigate and explore. This map is centered on the parking area at LAT 35.333088 LON -115.713072.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

My name is Steve Sears. I'm writing a book for outdoor/nature photographers, with an emphasis on California desert areas. I would love the opportunity to mine your wisdom on a couple of areas. I can be reached via email at