Hundreds of carved figures dot the sandstone cliffs at the White Mountain Petroglyphs site in Wyoming’s Red Desert north of Rock Springs. Etched into the sandstone bedrock of the Ecocene Bridger formation some 1,000 to 200 years ago, several figures appear to portray bison and elk hunts while others depict geometric forms or tiny footprints. Handprints are scooped into the rock as well, providing visitors with a compelling connection to those who used the site long ago.
The rock face also tells of contact with European cultures. Many figures portray horses, and one warrior figure is shown brandishing a sword. Members of the Shoshone, Arapaho, and Ute tribes hold this site to be sacred. Some believe this was a birthing place for Plains and Great Basin tribes. Visitors should view the petroglyphs with respect. The rock face should not be touched.
The site is located approximately26 miles northeast of Rock Springs, Wyo. From Rock Springs, take U.S. Highway 191 north for 10.5 miles and turn right on Tri-Territory Road (County Road 4-17), a dirt road that turns left—north—after about one mile. Continue another 10 miles north and turn left—east—at the White Mountain Petroglyphs sign, and follow that road for about two more miles. From the parking lot it is a quarter-mile walk to the site.
The site is open year-round for viewing during daylight hours as weather permits. There is no admission fee and only limited accessibility. The Bureau of Land Management recommends travelers visit the site in a vehicle with high clearance during good weather. Because the site is without facilities, visitors should bring plenty of food and water and travel with a full tank of gas. Another interesting structure, the Boar’s Tusk volcanic formation, is visible on the...
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