Thursday, September 6, 2018

Shay Canyon - The Rock Art Panels - Part 2A

My September 3rd post gave you a hint of what was to come about the rock art in Shay Canyon.  There was one photo of a trail that led up from the dry wash to the panels; it's an easier climb than where we started from.  We walked the half mile to the Pillar, climbed up to it and it was a mild to strenuous climb.  In our opinion, we got the hard part done first and by the time we got to the end of the half mile of glyphs and carvings, we took the easy way down.  A walking stick is recommended as the area is sandy, the dirt loose under rocks and boulders; so test before you put your entire weight upon a rock that looks stable.

As with any rock art or ruin sites; the only trace you should leave is your footprints.  No carving on the walls, take photographs, enjoy the beauty, but don't mess it up; these rock art panels are pages from an ancient history book.

First a little backtracking, from Newspaper Rock, go west for 1.8 miles (according to my odometer), you'll see a pull in area on your left.  U-turn carefully and park in the pull in area; the far eastern point is where you'll see the trail leading downwards.  We did this in April and Indian Creek had water in it; so walk carefully over the rock trail in the creek as it could be slick.  Having a walking stick will also help get you down and out of the creek itself.

Erosion on the dry wash walls.

By the way, at the start was the only trail marker in the area.  To find the easy way up, it's about 100-200 feet depending if you are counting from the pull-in area, or from the one trail marker.  Otherwise it is a half mile to the pillar, so keep your eye on it to keep on the path; there is a path that leads off to a canyon area to the left (wrote about that on Sept. 3rd as well).

Trail continues to the right

Trail to the left is another section of Shay Canyon

More dry wash erosion

The path goes upward and can be confusing
Yucca, Cacti and Penstemon

The trail along the canyon walls starts to the right of the pillar.

The Rock Art begins immediately and goes on for a half mile; just as you think you've seen it all, around the corner, behind a tree or boulder, there is another astounding grouping of drawings. 

Large sized prickly pear cacti line much of the trail.

The Walls are flaking, so rock art is being lost.  Don't touch the walls as the oils from your hands could do more damage.

The trail itself is sometimes easy to follow, sometimes you have to ease around boulders, or squeeze between a huge rock section and the wall itself.  Whatever you do, do NOT get discouraged or think you can't do it.

Yes, I did make it all the way up and across!

Roy took these photos of me, he's very proud of what I have, and am still, accomplishing.

This photo is dedicated to those arrogant millennials who kept telling me there was no way, at my age, I could possibly be hiking and climbing around. 

Back to more amazing rock art...

Roy Taking a Break

...and this concludes the first part of this advenure, 45 photos!  The next part will have 40 more photos of rock art and landscape within Shay Canyon.

Mary Cokenour


  1. Thanks for letting me know that an older, larger woman can hike this trail! We will be trying it next month, and I can't wait!

  2. Thanks for letting me know that an older, larger woman can safely hike this trail! I don't have a lot of anxiety, but I tend to hurt myself by being too excited at the outset.