|Hiking||3.11 Miles|| 3 Hrs || ||1.04 mph|
|555 ft AEG|| || || |
Cottonwood Canyon Petroglyph Sites Trifecta
I took notice of AZLOT69's hike description and queried one of my hiking "buds" about his knowledge of rock art sites in the vicinity of Cottonwood Canyon. He had a petroglyph site marked on one of his topo maps just north of Cottonwood Canyon. This tip came from the "father-in-law of one of his daughter's boyfriends". Not questioning the source, Mike Mattes and I agreed at a recent Christmas function to journey into the BLM lands just south of Florence Junction in search of rock art.
Site "A" - We studied Mike's topo map in a local Starbuck's and agreed that we needed to travel about 4 1/2 miles east from SR79 along Cottonwood Canyon Road and then trek north about 1/2 miles until we reach the topographic high point along a ridgeline. Mike's map had "petroglyphs" penciled in along the length of this ridgeline. At mile 4.4, we saw a jeep trail heading north off of Cottonwood Canyon Road a decided to explore. We soon landed in Cottonwood Canyon Wash and tracked east hoping to find a path heading north. No luck, so we back tracked and soon found a jeep trail tracking to the north and east. At a high point we spotted our objective and continued until our jeep trail came to a cattle fence tracking north-south. Mike's Jeep passed through the cattle gate and onto a double-track trail following the east side of this fence until we found ourselves on the ridgeline at N33o12.192' W111o16.078'. An off-trail trek west to the high point yielded a plethora of petroglyphs, many marked by small yellow flags indicating a past archeological survey. GPS hiking distance was 0.54 miles.
Site "B" - A larger hill lay another 1/2 mile to the north surrounded by black basalt palisades we expected to yield additional petroglyphs. We continued north following the cattle fence line until we reached our target. A hike down into a wash and up the boulder strewn hill yielded some random weathered rock art until we reached two clustered sites on the east side. From our hilltop vantage the eastern slopes of Four Peaks appeared to be snow covered. Guess that Saturday night rain was snow in the upper elevations. GPS hiking distance was 0.71 miles. Here's a tip for accessing Sites A and B, when you reach the 2nd flag pole and cattle guard along Cottonwood Canyon Road near mile 5.0, the jeep road and cattle fence that traverses north-south intersects this location...
Site "C" - Per HAZ hike description. GPS hiking distance was 1.88 miles.
This was a 138 mile round trip with 3.13 miles hiking capped off with pizza and beer at the Garage in Gold Canyon. Perfect - except for the mild indigestion caused by the rapid 21 points put up by the Vikings against the Cards...