Martha's Butte

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5575 - 5602 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Dry Wash
Fee: $20/vehicle
Attractions: Petroglyphs




Martha's Butte is a petroglyph site located in the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona. The trail begins where the Petrified Forest Road crosses Dry Wash. From there it travels west for almost 1 mile to Martha's Butte. Many of the boulders around the butte are covered with petroglyphs one of which is an image made up of concentric circles that are bisected by a shadow as the sun rises on the summer solstice.


Dry Wash passes under the Petrified Forest Road just south of mile marker 22. There is room for 2 or 3 vehicles to park along the side of the road.


The best access is at the end of the guardrail on the west side of the road.


From the roadway the trail drops down and enters the wash.


Right around the quarter mile point there is a side wash that seems to get a lot of traffic. A short distance up the side wash there is a spot where it is easy to climb out. There is also the option to stay in the main wash and hike a little further before cutting cross country.


Once higher ground is achieved it is only a matter of heading west across the flats.


At first Martha's Butte is hidden behind the point of the hill on the left. After hiking a few hundred yards it begins to come into view.


Martha's Butte has what looks like 2 big boulders on top of it with a gap in between. It is easy to spot from a distance.


Petroglyphs can be found on many of the boulders that are scattered around the butte. The solar marker petroglyph is one that is hard to miss.


This boulder has split in two since it's images were etched.


It's a good idea to walk all the way around the butte to avoid missing any petroglyphs. Some of the best ones can be found on the north side. It is also a good idea to walk all the way around the boulders as some of them have images on 3 or 4 sides.


Martha's Butte is an unmarked backcountry trail where hikers will be aided by good route finding skills. There aren't any water sources in the area so be sure to bring plenty to drink. It is also a good idea to print out a map and bring it along. The slideshow at the end of this post should give a good idea of what to expect. There is also the option of viewing the trail in Google Earth using either our GPX file or the Google Map at the top of this page. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.