White Rocks Rock Art Site

Round Trip Distance: 0.5 - 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4819 - 4862 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hrs.
Trailhead: Gold Star Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs, pictograph

The White Rocks petroglyph site is located in the Colorado National Monument near the mouth of Gold Star Canyon in Grand Junction, Colorado. The site has two panels of petroglyphs and one pictograph of a red deer. The site has suffered vandalism in the past so maybe the more people that know about the petroglyphs and visit them the less likely it will occur again.

The Gold Star Canyon trailhead is along South Broadway in the Redlands district of Grand Junction, Colorado. The seemingly unofficial trailhead has received some tender loving care in recent years with the addition of a very nice kiosk. The Bench Trail, Otto's Staircase and Gold Star Canyon can all be accessed from this trailhead. You may also hear this trailhead referred to as the White Rocks or South Broadway trailhead.

From the trailhead follow the well worn path to the left toward the obvious outcrop of white rocks.

There are a lot of fun places to explore at the White Rocks. This post will describe hiking directly to the two marked petroglyph panels on the west side of the outcrop by circling the rocks to the right and then continuing around the south side and making a loop to the pictograph that is on the east side of the rocks.

There are a lot of trails in the area of the rocks. To get to the petroglyphs stay to the right.

Continue on the lower trail to the right. The petroglyphs are along the lower west side of the rocks.

The trail winds through some boulders and juniper trees for a short distance. When the trail opens up keep your eye out for a brown mylar trail marker on the left in front of a boulder.

The first panel is on the flat brown surface on the right side of the boulder.

This isn't the best job of tracing (on the computer) but it gives a general idea of what you are looking at. It looks like a family of three with two of them wearing necklaces. The center figure also has either something around its neck or on its chest but it is a little too buggered up to see clearly. The center figure is holding the figure on the left by the arm and not the hand as though leading or showing possession. (All speculation on my part but similar to petroglyphs at other locations that are more clear.)

From this panel continue around the west side of the rocks to the next panel.

This panel on the flat surface of the boulder is a little easier to see from a distance.

This panel also appears to have two faint animal glyphs to the lower right of the bottom figure that were too faded to even trace clearly on the computer. The tracing only follows the lines in a general manner to give an idea of what is here. An artist with better eyesight could probably do a much better job. Just to be clear, if there is any question, these tracings were all done on a computer using Paintbrush. It is illegal to chalk outline petroglyphs or to harm them in any way including touching them with your oily fingers.

From the last panel continue looping around the hill to the east side. After passing through this gap be prepared to look for the rock with the pictograph.

The pictograph is on the smooth brown surface of the large rock on the left. From this angle it is hidden behind the tree.

The pictograph is pretty faint but from certain angles with indirect light it shows up a little better. If you don't know the difference between a petroglyph and a pictograph then a visit here might clear it up for you. A pictograph is painted onto the surface while a petroglyph is scratched, etched, carved or pecked. If you still aren't sure then just call it rock art. That should encompass them both.

There are actually a lot of petroglyphs around the Grand Junction area as well as pretty much everywhere else in the southwest. This site is very easy to get to and practically within city limits. One other easy site, which is also in the Colorado National Monument, is at the mouth of No Thoroughfare Canyon. After finding the rock art at the White Rocks site you may want to spend some time exploring around the rocks. There are numerous alley  ways and hidden areas that are a lot of fun to crawl around. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.