Atlatl Rock

Round Trip Distance: 0.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 2185 - 2235 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Atlatl Rock
Fee: $10/vehicle
Attractions: Petroglyphs

Atlatl Rock is located in the Valley of Fire State Park between Mesquite and Las Vegas, Nevada. Panels of petroglyphs high up on the prominent rock formation depict the use of the weapon known as an atlatl that was used by Native Americans in ancient times. An atlatl was a device that was used to launch a spear at an increased velocity and with great accuracy compared to merely throwing it.

From Interstate 15 both Exit 75 and Exit 93 will get you to the Valley of Fire State Park. It is 14 miles via Exit 75, about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and 22 miles via Exit 93, about 27 miles southwest of Mesquite. Your choice may depend upon which direction you are traveling on the interstate. Both exits are marked with signs for the Valley of Fire State Park.

After stopping at the Visitor Center to pay the entrance fee it is a little less than 2.5 miles along paved roads to the Atlatl Rock picnic area and trailhead.

From the parking area it is only another hundred feet or so to the base of the formation.

A long staircase allows visitors to get a closeup view of the petroglyphs without having to scramble up the steep slickrock.

The left portion of the petroglyphs has several depictions of atlatls and appears to be more hunting related.

Many of the other images include numerous geometric designs.

Some of the images were created over top of others indicating the site was used at least off and on for a long period of time.

One image that has some resemblance to a medicine wheel is depicted in several places on Atlatl Rock.

A pleasant scene is laid out looking across the valley from the level of the petroglyphs.

Taking a break as you climb the stairs gives you a chance to look around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The petroglyphs are visible from below but the platform blocks their view and makes it impossible to get clear photos even with a zoom lens.

The Valley of Fire State Park is only open from sunrise to sunset although they do allow 24 hour access to the campgrounds. Camping is available on a first come first served basis with some sites that can accommodate RVs and include water and electrical hookups. There are a variety of intriguing trails that lead to things like natural arches, petrified logs and interesting geological formations in the Valley of Fire State Park. Atlatl Rock is one of those interesting stops that gives visitors a glimpse of the areas ancient past. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.