username
X
password
register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Rock Art Ranch, AZ

details
drive
permit
forecast
route
stats
photos
triplogs
topic
location
55 4 1
Guide 4 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northeast > Holbrook
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 3
 
5
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.76 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,041 feet
Elevation Gain -51 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.02
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
25  2016-07-18 AladdinSane
5  2007-12-29
Chevelon Canyon - North of Lake
Randal_Schulhaus
25  2007-12-29 Randal_Schulhaus
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → NOON
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:57am - 5:16pm
openimportsetbegin
Route Scout App
1303followactivity
Official Route
 
0 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Joseph City Fissures
Joseph City Fissures
5.6 mi away
2.0 mi
50 ft
East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
9.6 mi away
2.0 mi
300 ft
Clear Creek Reservoir
Clear Creek Reservoir
10.0 mi away
Homolovi Ruins
Homolovi Ruins
12.0 mi away
4.2 mi
136 ft
La Posada Walking Tour
14.5 mi away
1.0 mi
25 ft
Chevelon Canyon - North of Lake
Chevelon Canyon - North of Lake
26.1 mi away
9.1 mi
1,196 ft
Durfee Trail
27.2 mi away
0.9 mi
300 ft
O
O'Haco Ruins - ECC
29.3 mi away
1.2 mi
Chevelon Lake #611
Chevelon Lake #611
32.3 mi away
2.2 mi
588 ft
Hamilton Crossing Trail #623 - Sitgreaves NF
Hamilton Crossing Trail #623 - Sitgreaves NF
32.4 mi away
0.8 mi
612 ft
[ View More! ]
Ranch Dressing
by Randal_Schulhauser

Likely In-Season!
Some History
I can recall being in Moab Utah a couple of years ago when the front page headline of the local news paper announced the Wilcox Ranch in the Range Creek region of Utah would be transferred to the Utah Trust for Public Land. The significance of the land transfer was buried within the story of how the Wilcox ranching family kept a pristine cluster of cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and burial sites a secret for more than 50 years before turning over to the state land trust.


While visiting Homolovi Ruins last year, I became aware of a similar story about how a Winslow ranching family has managed to keep a significant cluster of petroglyphs protected from wanton vandalism for more than 50 years. Rather than transfer the site to the state land trust, the Baird family has created "Rock Art Ranch AZ". For a fee, the Baird's will guide trekkers to view the 3000+ rock art images located on the Chevelon Canyon walls traversing their 8000 acre working cattle and buffalo ranch.

A team of NAU archeologists led by Don Weaver and Evelyn Billo has spent more than 8 years documenting the site and has declared Rock Art Ranch as; "One of the premier rock art sites in the world". The significance of this site is amplified by rock art samples spanning 6000 years produced by Anasazi, Sinagua, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni cultures. The site demonstrates an artistic evolution from simple geometric shapes to more complex human and animal form examples.

While the site primarily represents ancient Native American culture, there are also significant ties to more recent Arizona history and the "taming" of the wild, Wild West. A company of US Calvary soldiers camped beside the access road butte the day before participating in the Battle of Big Dry Wash in 1882. The Aztec Land & Cattle Company ran 60,000 head of cattle on a 2 million acre spread in the late 1800's to early 1900's prior to the Baird's acquiring a subdivided section of land in the early 1940's. The "Hashknife Outfit" was so named because of the brands' resemblance to a chuck wagon cook's hash knife. In those days, Cattle Companies were commonly known by their brands. "Hashknife" employees are notorious in cowboy lore for their toughness, ability to get into a brawl whenever they went into town, and numerous run-ins with the law. A "Hashknife" bunkhouse has been preserved on the Baird property in addition to a museum of Anasazi artifacts gathered from the property.

The Hike
Note that this hike is on private property and arrangements must be made in advance with the Baird family prior to visiting Rock Art Ranch. Contact the Baird's at 928-288-3260 to make your arrangements.

I talked with Brantley Baird prior to a recent visit to the Winslow area to make arrangements to view the rock art on a Saturday Morning. He indicated that for $15 each this could be arranged. With the date, time, and fee arranged, we met ranch hand Clem Rogers at the corner of Territorial Road and Bell Cow Road at 10 am on a recent Saturday morning.

After greetings and salutations with Clem Rogers, we follow his truck along a rutted ranch road for a couple of miles. We pass through a couple of locked gates along the ranch road until we reach a parking corral beside the lip of Chevelon Canyon. Clem leads the way down a make-shift staircase to the bottom of the canyon. A foot bridge traverses Chevelon Creek. Clem points out that recent snow melt have caused flooding in the canyon with water cresting above the footbridge.

We follow Clem along the footpath within the canyon. He points out the location of many rock art panels and apologizes that the high water level prevents passage to see additional panels upstream. He cautions us about the thin ice. Having completed a mini-guided tour, Clem explains that he needs to get back to the buffalo round-up (it's market day) and gives us a key to unlock the gates when we want to leave. He tells us to take our time and spend the whole day if we want.

The canyon has a special serene quality to it with a gentle babbling brook providing the soundtrack. You begin to contemplate the artist's inspiration for generating these varied rock art designs. Psychedelic ice patterns make you wonder about chemical inspirations.

We wander downstream about a - mile viewing many animal form petroglyphs. Clem mentioned to us that this section is a permanent waterhole. Maybe the petroglyphs commemorate successful hunting at this waterhole? It seems that critters continue to frequent this spot today.

I balance on some icy stepping stones to position myself to view additional petroglyphs upstream. More sunlight begins to fill the canyon as time approaches the noon hour. The light reveals additional petroglyphs previously invisible in the morning shadows. Reflections from the water and ice create some interesting visuals.

Approaching hour number three of exploring the canyon, we decide we've had our fill and should be making our way back home. We gather our stuff and climb the stairs out of the canyon. Our truck makes it way along the bumpy ranch road. We pass through the last gate, locking it behind us and placing the key Clem gave us into the drop box.

Summary
This is a unique opportunity to visit pristine rock art in a secluded canyon. Personal guided tours by owner Brantley Baird and his ranch hand, Clem Rogers, on a portion of the former Hashknife Ranch can be arranged. Included are a museum of ranch life, a Navajo hogan and sheep pen, a prehistoric map of the region carved on a flat stone, and thousands of petroglyphs carved on the walls of a hidden canyon in the midst of the Arizona high desert. Baird's Rock Art Ranch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places #02001724.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Randal_Schulhauser
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    information is in description


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Winslow: Take SR87 south towards Payson. Turn left on SR99 and follow about 6 1/4 miles until you reach Territorial Road (McLaws Road on many maps). Follow the gravel surfaced Territorial Road for about 8 1/2 miles until you reach intersection of Bell Cow Road. This intersection is the designated rendezvous spot for those interested in viewing the petroglyphs. Rock Art Ranch House and Museum is located about 3 miles further east along Territorial Road on the south side..

    GPS coordinates for the intersection of Territorial Road and Bell Cow Road are 34o 54.465'N, 110o 30.035'W. My GPS noted 236 miles traveled from my Ahwatukee home to the designated rendezvous spot. Travel time was about 4 hours.
    help comment issue

    end of page marker