Sloan Canyon Hike

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MAP-Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site-2
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Description: The rock art in Sloan Canyon is primarily of the Great Basin and Range tradition with abstract elements accounting for the majority of the rock art panels found in the canyon. Anthropomorphs (human-like) and Zoomorphs (animal-like) appear in about equal numbers throughout the canyon.  Most of the anthropomorphs and zoomorphs are traditional stick-like figures that are not culturally specific. Some of these have been dated to be more than 900 years old. However, there are two known exceptions to these common stick-like petroglyphs, both of which are historic figures. One appears to be a cowboy holding a rifle and the other appears to be a cowboy riding a horse.  It is believed that these may depict contact between Native Americans and early American pioneers during the westward movement.
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11/21/2013 Trip Notes: On today’s visit to this area we approached the area from Bicentennial Parkway. Not only was this a much shorter, easier route, it was accessible by our van. Once we reached the beginning of the road leading to the trailhead (Fig. 03), we followed the road about 1.1 miles to the actual trailhead. We then began the 1.1 mile hike up the  loose gravel filled wash to the petroglyph area. Stopping short of the actual site, I detoured up the lower portion of the “loop trail” (Fig. 03), after which I returned to the trailhead and then hiked up the wash to the top of a ridge behind the trailhead Kiosk. When I reached the top of the ridge, it provided me with a good view of wash and Sloan Canyon as it began to narrow on its way to the petroglyph gallery (Fig 05). As a result, I never did make it to the site of the petroglyphs on today’s visit.
(Fig. 05)
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02/21/2012 Trip Notes: I made this trip with Harvey Smith, one of the regular rock-hound hikers, who volunteered the driving with his new 4x4 truck. The drive along the power line access road was extremely rough and required the four-wheel drive in a couple of spots. Once we reached the trailhead which starts at the beginning of the North McCullough Wilderness Area, the hike up the loose gravel filled wash to the petroglyph gallery was relatively easy, excepting the climb up the last of the three wash-overs.

(Fig. 06) shows the approach to the third and most difficult of the three scramble ups that we encountered. As you can see in (Fig. 07), there is a huge boulder stuck right I the middle between the two cliff edges. Climbing up the right side, which Harvey chose, was quite steep and then required a jump of nearly 12 feet after you reached the top to get back down to the base of the wash. Climbing the left side, which I opted for, shown in (Fig. 09), was much shorter, however the face of the rocks were as smooth as glass, making it extremely difficult to get any footing. This “staged” photo was taken after my decent on our return trip, showing what it would probably have looked like if Harvey hadn't been there to assist me. (Fig. 08) is a shot from the top of this impediment, looking back down the canyon's narrows. The petroglyphs in (Figs. 10 thru 15) are but a few of the hundreds of ancient etchings in this area.

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After taking dozens of petroglyph pictures (Click here for more ... More Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs) in the main gallery area, we continued hiking further up the Sloan Canyon wash and a couple of side trails for what was probably another mile and a half. Finding nothing but a few scenic views, we started our return to the trailhead. The three pictures below (Figs. 16-18) are some of the views we observed in this upper area.
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)
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After leaving the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area we decided to turn east on the power line road and look for an alternate route out vice going back over the same rough route we took in. After tough four-wheel climb, we reached the highest point in the power line road next to Seven Hills (Fig. 19). Using his binoculars, Harvey spotted what looked like a possible way out which led us to a place where we were able to “sneak” onto Bicentennial Parkway, just south of the Henderson Airport. Great job Harvey!
(Fig. 20)

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Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 61 pictures that were taken on 02/21/2012 on a hike to the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.