Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area (Summary Page)

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This page last updated on 03/05/2019
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Arrow Canyon Cover

   Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow that will help to preserve these unique and fragile cultural resources that are part of our heritage. Guidelines for Preserving Rock Art. If you would like to learn more about the Nevada Site Stewardship Program, go to my page ... Nevada Site Stewardship Program (NSSP).


03/26/2015 Trip Notes: I visited Arrow Canyon again, this time with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Senior Center. Unfortunately, because Arrow Canyon received heavy flash flooding during August of 2014, the lower access road to the canyon was washed away, making it impossible for our van to drive to the trailhead and parking area. This left us with an additional 1.5 mile to hike just to reach the trailhead for this hike. To reach the main petroglyph area it was a very slow, excruciating 2.5 mile hike over water polished stones and rocks (Fig. 03). Several in the group gave up and returned to the van before reaching the petroglyphs. Along the way, in addition to the normal desert scrub, we actually passed several flowering plants (Figs. 04-06) that provided a little color to our hike. Those that reached the main petroglyph area were impressed by the large number of panels and glyphs that were scattered about the large monolithic outcrop (Fig. 07) located just a few hundred feet short of the main canyon. To view more information and detailed pictures of the petroglyphs we observed on this visit, go to my page … Arrow Canyon Petroglyphs. Even though a few of us continued to hike up the canyon and did locate some additional petroglyphs, we ran out of time before reaching the dam and had to start our return back to the van. Scroll down to see pictures of the dam from my previous visit that is located at the end of the canyon.
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MAP-Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area
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01/22/2013 Trip Notes: With a bright and early start, Harvey and I set out for Moapa and Arrow Canyon. With the early morning temperatures in the low forties, compounded by a slight breeze and the fact that the sun is unable to reach most of the canyon floor due to its narrow high cliffs, the beginning of the hike was a little cool. However, by the time we reached the end and started our return, the day’s clear sunny skies brought warmer temperatures, enough that we even had to remove our jackets. The picture in (Fig. 01) was taken shortly after we left the truck and headed west towards the canyon. The orange dotted lines in (Fig. 02) show our hiking route and the locations of various points of interest. The map in (Fig. 08) (Click to enlarge) shows the boundaries of the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area. Arrow Canyon boarders the northeast corner of the wilderness area.

(Fig. 09)
The immense depth of this vast narrow canyon is awesome and overall we enjoyed this hike very much. And even though there really isn’t anything difficult about this hike, the first .75 miles of the lower canyon require walking on loose, water-polished cobbles and rocks that take their toll on the feet by the end. The ledges on either side of this end of the wash are covered with thousands of barrel cactus. There are more than seventy on the ledge in (Fig. 12) alone. At the end of this portion of the canyon, just before entering the narrows, we came upon a large outcrop (Fig. 09) with hundreds of petroglyphs as seen in (Figs. 13 & 14). Because there were several instances where they met the ground (Fig. 14), it leads one to think that the erosion filling the wash over hundreds of years may actually be covering several feet of petroglyphs. It was evident by the vast number of petroglyphs on this rock outcrop that this area has religious significance for the nearby Moapa Tribe. Unfortunately, it was sad to see that some people had see fit to deface some of rock faces that contained these impressive representations of past ages. Though relatively fewer in number, we were able to spot some more on some of the cliff walls as we hiked further up the canyon towards the dam.

(Fig. 10)
At a junction about three-quarters of the way to the dam, the canyon widens a bit and a narrow side canyon (Fig. 15) comes in from the southwest. This is actually the end of Side Canyon Wash that runs all the way from the Arrow Range, across a wide valley and series of bajadas, finally dumping into the Pahranagat Wash. We hiked this short .2 mile side canyon ending up on a small rise with an overview of the Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area. As you exit the canyon (Fig. 15), the view is facing due west and south along the entire length of the Arrow Range.

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Back at the junction, the canyon continues heading northwest with a trail through a grassy bottomed wash (Fig. 16) lined with mesquite and Catclaw Acacia "trees". We were actually quite relieved to find that this upper portion of the canyon had a more sandy, grass covered base (Fig. 17). Just before reaching the “cave” area we were surprised to run into another couple who were returning from the dam. As you can see in (Fig. 18) there is a another dam-like retaining wall directly in from of the main structure. Climbing this short wall we found a very dirty, stagnated pool of water (Fig. 11).

On our return journey, the placement of the afternoon sun provided us with what appeared to be some completely new scenes (Fig. 19). We also came upon four more people who were using bolting as a means to climb an area of the canyons steep cliffs. The plant in (Fig. 20) was on the side of the rock outcrop near the large concentration of petroglyphs. As I was climbing down from the ledge above it, I came upon a hole carved into a rock (Fig. 21). Three to four inches across and less than nine inches deep, it appeared to be an old mortar for grinding foodstuffs, that was perhaps used by the same culture that created the nearby petroglyphs. Archeologists call these bedrock or boulder mortars. Native Americans would gather plant materials from the desert environment and bring them to the mortars for processing – a mortar is used with some type of pestle, either made from wood or large cylindrical stones. In this area of the Southwest, mortars were probably used to process mesquite beans. Other than a couple of small lizards and a Great Road Runner that got away, the only other wildlife we saw was the butterfly in (Fig. 22).  Needless to say, by the time we returned to Harvey’s truck, the five and a half miles had taken its toll on us and were glad that we had a four wheel vehicle that allowed us to take off what would have been another three miles round trip. For more info click here ... http://www.birdandhike.com/Wilderness/ArrowCyn/_Arrow.htm.
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EFP-P1040093 - Copy
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Play a Slide Show
Clicking the picture-link below will open OneDrive in a new window and a folder containing 54 pictures taken of trip to Arrow Canyon Wilderness Area. To view the show, click on the first picture in the folder and you will get the following menu bar:
Clicking the "Play slide show" will play a fullscreen window of the slide show.

Note: Every attempt is made to provide accurate information, but occasionally depictions are inaccurate by error of mapping, navigation or cataloging. The information on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied, and is for informational and historical purposes only.


Reference Materials:
Manuscript written by Kenneth C. Clarke