While none of the rock image sites in Walnut Canyon are open for public visitation, there are a number of rock image sites within several hours drive of the National Monument. Before you visit any of these sites, be sure to read the Archaeological Site Etiquette Guide from the Coconino National Forest. Rock image sites are not just interesting places to visit, but are culturally important to Native Peoples. Too many have been damaged or destroyed already, either thoughtlessly or deliberately. Please help conserve our national cultural heritage.
In the Flagstaff area:
- Picture Canyon Natural And Cultural Preserve – Located on the east side of Flagstaff, a network of trails through this city-owned riparian area takes you to several petroglyph panels created by the Sinagua culture.
Within one hour of Flagstaff:
- Homolovi Ruins State Park – Just north of Winslow, AZ. The Tsu’vo Trail takes you to several petroglyphs.
- Keyhole Sink – Petroglyphs in a small box canyon. May be flooded after the spring melt.
- Laws Spring – About 45 minutes west of Flagstaff. Petroglyphs and historic inscriptions.
- V Bar V Heritage Site – About one-half hour south of Flagstaff, just off Wet Beaver Creek. The largest petroglyph panel in the Verde Valley. Typically only open Friday-Monday, check the website for the current schedule. A Red Rock Pass required and can be purchased several places in person or online.
- Wupatki National Monument – The Monument offers backpacking trips to Crack-in-Rock Ruin, a pueblo built atop a mesa that has a staggering number of petroglyphs carved into the red rock it sits on; nearby mesas hold many additional petroglyph panels. This is a strenuous 20 mile overnight backpacking trip, typically held in October and April. Participants chosen by lottery, with a $75 fee. November through March, the Monument also offers day hikes to locations of interest, including petroglyph sites.
Within two hours of Flagstaff:
- Grand Canyon National Park – A short hike down the Bright Angel trail, stopping right after going through the tunnel, will lead you to a large pictograph panel. Look up and to the left to see a large group of red pictographs, including deer and geometric elements. For the best view, bring a pair of binoculars; climbing up for a closer look is strictly prohibited.
- Palatki Heritage Site – Roughly 45 minutes NW of Sedona. A large rock image site, mainly pictographs. Maintained dirt road leads to the site. Reservations and Red Rock Pass required.
- Honanki Heritage Site – A few miles further west of Palatki. A large set of Sinagua ruins, with many pictographs. No reservations required, but a Red Rock Pass must be purchased. Road can be rocky and rutted, so high-clearance vehicles recommended.
- Petrified Forest National Park – Petroglyphs visible at the Puerco Ruins, the Martha’s Butte hike, and at the Newspaper Rock site. Bring binoculars for the best view at Newspaper Rock; scanning the rocks to the east (right) of the Newspaper Rock panel, you should be able to spot many more petroglyphs.
March is Arizona Archaeology Month, and tours of rock image sites throughout the state are a common event. For a calendar of events, visit the Arizona State Historic Preservation Officers website.