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Cottonwood Canyon Petroglyphs

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Cottonwood Canyon Petroglyphs

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We were exploring in the Mineral Mountain area the other day in the green monster and ended up making a loop trip via Mineral Mountain Road south to Cottonwood Canyon Road and back west to state route 79. The area is old mining country/ranching country turned into ATV country. The Hohokam Indians lived out here back a few hundred years ago before white men cluttered up the area. They must have enjoyed the countryside and took some pains to create this amazing rock art we find today.

The petroglyph site can be visited fairly easily by turning off of state route 79 about 5 miles south of Florence junction. Watch for an ATV staging area just off the highway and be aware that if red flags are flying that the National Guard is doing live artillery firing in the area. Follow this maintained road which is the Cottonwood Canyon Road, about 6 miles to a gate. Go past the Len ranch entrance and the road drops down into the creek canyon. There are some rough places where the canyon narrows and you will pass by a collapsed wooden building. About a mile from the gate the road goes back up out of the creek bed and you get to the petroglyph site. There is only a one or two car parking spot by the roadside. The petroglyphs are a short hike back down into the canyon and are etched on the boulders on the opposite side of the creek. The surrounding boulders sport swirly banding and have an interesting geological history of their own.

These are impressive petroglyphs considering they are right out in the weather and hundreds of years old. Several panels feature images of animals and people and some designs. These are typical Hohokam. The BLM has set up a few informational signs for your information. Remember that you must pass through State trust land to get here so be sure and get you Arizona State Land permit which is $20 for a family per year.

Will was here 1/24/2014