Prolific Petroglyphs

Fighter jets fly in tight formations in mock war games over the Naval Air Station Fallon within sight of what was once a shoreline and Native American encampment of ancient Lake Lahontan.

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Grimes Point Archaeological Area is home to ancient petroglyphs carved or pecked into the ballast boulders strewn throughout the site. There’s an easy one-quarter mile interpretive trail that winds through the site heavy with Native America markings.

Supernatural creatures, human figures, snakes and spiders, and even markings that look like 20th Century representations of movie aliens cover the boulders. Stained dark black and red from the patina of time, some markings are barely visible. Others stand brilliant in the dessert sun. Step back a few feet to fully appreciate the scoop of the markings, or peer up close to get the full detail. But, never touch. Human interaction is causing these markings from the past to fade more quickly.

Take your time to examine the rocks. Walk around the backside, peer low, look high. The petroglyphs are prolific in this small site. Take time to ponder their meaning. Some seem to represent hunting or other human activity; some have cultural or spiritual meanings modern man will never grasp. But they are intriguing, thought-provoking and stunning.

As we marveled at these ancients works of rock art, my friend Barbara Keck who prompted the trip suggested a return visit to the site in the future at dawn. “Imagine what sunrise would look like on the rocks,” she commented.

Plan your visit when the nearby Hidden Cave is open to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

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Katherine Hill

Katherine first moved to Tahoe in 1998 and has been in love with the Tahoe-Truckee region ever since. She has been in the journalism field for more than 25 years and has worked for daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications, as an award-winning writer and editor. In the fall of 2013, Katherine became only the third owner of the 33-year-old publication, and today serves as its Publisher and Editor In Chief. Life in Tahoe is an amazing place to live, and she enjoys hiking and water sports in the summer, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding with her nephew, Anikin.