If you have ever driven that long, desolate road from Ely to Reno, you would have passed the Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area. On this lonely bluff, thousands of years ago, people of the Desert Archaic culture left their marks.
There is no water and very little shade at the trailhead or trail itself. The area is very remote, so while the trail is not challenging, the nearest help is in Austin, NV; not exactly a bustling hub with tons of services. Be careful.
The Pony Express and Butterfield Stage routes ran across the open spaces of central Nevada. Hundreds of years before the horse routes opened, stringing the fledgling American nation together, these valleys were home to nomadic hunter-gatherers. These people, collectively called the Desert Archaic culture by today's archaeologists, hunted big game like mammoths during the wetter times. They gathered nuts and berries from trees and shrubs, and came together at the Hickison site to leave their marks. What the enigmatic markings on the sandstone mean today is unknown.
The hike starts in the parking area and heads south to the draw between two buttes. The petroglyphs are located along the southeast bluff. The hike is not difficult or long. It is the remote location and the expansive views from the summits, and the interesting rock art, that make the visit worthwhile.
Austin, 20 miles to the west on US50.
There is a primitive campsite with vault toilets and no water at the trailhead. The nearest services are in Austin. - Oct 04 2010 Rob del Desierto