Holy Petroghlyph Batman!
No disappointments on this outing. Having seen the sign on route to the Bell Trail several times I often passed up this option. With little knowledge of the trail I finally gave this baby a go, glad I did! You may be asking why have I included such a short trail. Here's my suggestion. Since most Sedona trails are short you can include this one on the same outing. With over 1000 well preserved petroglyphs this is a site to see!
Head on in to the huge parking area. Follow the sign pointing you down to the pay station. Go into the building and pay the $3 per person fee. The host registers you into a log book. She gave me my money back in a typical small-trail-type-pay envelope. Then instructed me to deposit this envelope in a white barrel tube found near the petroglyph site. I didn't get her name but she was very enthusiastic and smiley. I was the first visitor of the day. I arrived exactly when they open which at this writing was 9:30am. She instructed me to tag along with this gentleman that was going to open the gates.
I guess this was my lucky day. John Sturgis was the gentleman and found out he's an archeologist from the V-Bar-V website! Actually he said he works there three to four days a week. I believe I received more information on the walk to the site than most do. Basically you follow the jeep tracks to the site. On the way back a trail takes off to your right. This takes you through the field and back to your vehicle.
John told me about the old ranch house. Only a vine covered chimney remains of the site. I'm sorry to say I didn't have my recorder on and my memory is terrible. He did mention a possible pit site that was marked off to the left. I asked why anybody would believe such a site exist in field that has been worked over by rancher time and time again. He explained how himself and a crew walked the whole area in a line searching for anything. Well one guy was dowsing the area and believes he found a pit house. Most probably balk at the thought but as I have personally dowsed before there is a chance in my mind. John explained how the V-Bar-V name comes from the ranch brand and that it was actually registered.
John unlocked the fence that protects the panels as I dropped my pay enveloped into the white barrel tube. I may not get around to a lot of petroglyph sites in the heavier concentrated states but this was huge to me. The panel left of center is packed tightly with petroglyphs. To the far right something is different but I've forgotten what John said about that. On the far left and back is what is believed to be a flute-less kokapelli. John suggested that the artist was distracted and unable to complete the etching. I added that the two maidens up to left where larger. Therefore he may have been more interested in making whoopee than music!
I asked about the location of the site and why it would receive so much traffic. He talked about Sacred Mountain in the distance among other things of which I won't go into detail about. I do recommend this easy half mile walk to check out the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley!
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.
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.