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CLOSE TO HOME: Hiking to see petroglyphs in the Las Vegas valley

Posted at 2:57 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 18:36:44-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In this week's "Close to home" let's visit three spots in Southern Nevada where you can get a glimpse of ancient history and petroglyphs.

SLOAN CANYON
The first stop is Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, which is a quick 30-minute drive south of Las Vegas and home to more than 300 rock art panels, and nearly 1,700 designs representing native cultures dating from Archaic to the historic era.

The 4.1-mile loop trail will take you around the canyon and into the heart of what has been described as "the Sistine Chapel of Native American rock art" due to the size and significance of the many ancient petroglyphs that grace the mountain walls.

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It will take you about 30 minutes of walking on a fairly easy rock trail before you reach the first petroglyphs. Make sure to keep an eye out and you will be amazed by the awesome history you see.

There is not much shade on this trail, so bring your sunscreen, wear a hat and drink plenty of water.

When you arrive at the turning point of the loop you will be in the center of history. Take a moment, breathe in the desert air and enjoy.

VALLEY OF FIRE
Next up head north of the city to Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour and a half drive from Sloan Canyon. This state park is home to ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

Atlatl Rock inside the park is a great place to see these ancient drawings. The staircase that has been added to the side of the rock will make this trail easy, as you climb a few levels of stairs.

Once on top, the views are breathtaking, and the history is rich. This spot makes for the perfect photo opp.

Valley of Fire has so much to see.

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Another favorite spot is Elephant rock, take the short trail to this rock formation and you will quickly see how it got its name.

RED SPRINGS AT CALICO BASIN
Just over an hour from Valley of Fire and just about 30 minutes from Las Vegas you can explore Calico Basin. In last week’s "Close to Home" we showed you the Red Rock Canyon loop, the Calico Basin is outside the loop, and a local’s tip: unlike the loop the basin is free to enjoy.

To view the petroglyphs here, simply head to the Red Spring Picnic Area located off of Calico Basin Road.

The boardwalk trail has a little bit of everything. The area is full of intense scenery and fascinating history with its many petroglyphs. The walk will lead you past many ancient rock drawings and you will end up at the spring which Red Spring is named for.

This trailhead has a covered picnic area, that makes it a perfect spot for a family lunch or date with your special someone.

Southern Nevada is full of rich ancient and natural history to explore, until next time, don’t be afraid to take a road less traveled and explore close to home.