Roy Purcell Murals

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Destination: The Roy Purcell Murals at Chloride, Arizona.
Distance from Point of Origin: 89 miles from Las Vegas.
Estimated (One Way) Travel Time: 1 hour 40 mins.
Directions: Chloride is about two hours from Las Vegas. From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and bear right to merge onto US-515/93/95 south towards Boulder City. Follow US-93/95 for 20 miles and turn left to stay on US-93 South. Crossing over the Boulder Dam by-pass bridge into Arizona, travel 59 miles and turn left on W. Chloride Road, AZ-62 and proceed 3.7 miles to the town. Proceed through the town until you see the signs for the murals. Turn right and follow a very rocky dirt road about 1.5 miles. There are a number of signs and arrows painted on rocks to keep you headed in the right direction. When I was there in 2010 the drive in on the barely passable 1.3 mile road was extremely slow and very rough going. Unless you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, I suggest that it is probably best to hike it.

General Description: The town of Chloride is nestled down in a valley at the base of the Cerbat Mountains. Founded in 1862, it was at the center of sliver ore production for the area. In the early 1900's Chloride was the county seat and had a population of more than 2,000. Today, with a population of only 352, the village is a collection of vintage miner's shacks and many of its residents are artists, sculptors and local miners. 
Special Attraction or Points of Interest: The main point of interest here are the 2,000-square-foot set of Roy Purcell murals painted on some boulders in the Cerbat Mountains about a mile and a half outside of town.  Painted in 1966, Roy's panels are scattered all over the hillside, facing different directions, on the angled sides of boulders, and as a result can't be captured in a single photo.
Primary Activity: Photography.
Secondary Activities: Hiking and Rock-Hounding.

Elevation: 4,476 feet.
Best Time To Visit: Although this area is accessible year round, it would be best to visit in the cooler months of the Fall, Winter or Spring.
Difficulty: If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you can drive right up to the base of the murals. If not, be prepared for a relatively easy two mile round trip hike. Climbing the hillside to take some pictures once you are there could be considered moderate to strenuous..
Facilities: None.
Estimated Round-trip Time: 4-1/2 to 5 hours.

Personal Trip Notes: I visited Chloride, AZ and the Purcell murals with my wife Connie on 02/23/2010. I drove my Cadillac to within a 100 yards of the site, something I don't recommend. It was extremely rough going and and took forever to turn around. You really need a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

08/21/2012 Trip Note: On this visit I hiked to the very top of the panels. In doing so I got to view a few of the panels in more detail. Back when I visited here the first time, I don’t think I realized that the rock at the top of the sight, shown below, was intended to be Roy’s signature rock for the paintings or that it indicated the original date of the paintings (1966)  and the date of their refurbishment (2006). From May 27 to June 2, 2006, Roy Purcell along with other artists returned to Chloride to restore the faded murals to their original condition. With the help of some area business's sponsorship and 10 other artists, 19 murals were restored, adding vibrant color to the faded panels.

Artist Background: Born in 1936, Roy grew up in rural Utah, where he learned an appreciation of the earth and developed a sensitivity for its beauty. His works over the years have personified the life that thrives in the desert; some of his more recent works, like wildflowers, is dazzling at a distance and compelling in its detail. However, it was these murals in the Cerbat Mountains near Chloride, Nevada, where he first gained national attention as an artist.  At the time he had recently been working toward his Masters in Creative Writing and Fine Arts at Utah State University, and was working in Chloride as a miner. The extraordinary taxing project provided Roy with the symbolic foundation for his future work, “I could no longer hide from myself. I had begun a journey of self discovery from which I could never turn back.” thus the ‘title’ and of the murals noted in the first photo. This work, executed in the abstract Modernism tradition, led to early would-wide recognition for Purcell and helped launch him on a professional career that continues today.
Roy Purcel Collage

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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 24 pictures that were taken at the site of the Roy Purcell Murals outside Chloride, Arizona.

                                                  [Return to Chloride Arizona Page]

PDF Collage: In 2009 I produced a series of  PDF collages for the creation of  "Our Travel & Entertainment Diary" blog. Click here to view a three page PDF collage of our trip to Chloride and the Roy Purcell Murals ... Roy Purcell Murals in Chloride Arizona