Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area

Round Trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6598 - 6803 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Hickison...
Fee: none (camping free)
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area is just off of US-50 in Lander County, Nevada. The site includes a nice campground with restrooms, an Interpretive trail that leads past various petroglyphs that were carved into volcanic tuff, and an optional Overlook trail. Prehistoric living sites have been found in the area that date to 10,000 B.C..

To get there head west on US 50 from Ely, Nevada for 123 miles or east from Austin for 24 miles.

As you enter the area from the highway the trailhead and restroom will be on the left.

The first part of the trail that leads to the main area of petroglyphs is a wide hard packed path that is suitable for strollers and possibly for wheelchairs with some minor assistance.

You only have to walk 500 feet or so before you come to a short section of cliffs with petroglyphs.

We outlined the first panel on our computer to make the intricate hashwork of straight and squiggly lines stand out from a distance. The person that made the lines seemed to take the small holes in the surface of the rock into account as though they had some special meaning. Many of the lines either go around the edges of the holes or stop at the hole and then continue on the opposite side.

The rock is volcanic tuff which is very soft and weathers easily. In places some of the petroglyphs are carved quite deep.

As you study the petroglyphs you might notice a few open circles or horseshoe shapes. Their resemblance to male and female reproductive organs definitely gives the site a strong fertility theme.

Just past the first batch of petroglyphs a trail junction comes up. If you go to the left, or what looks like straight ahead, the trail leads past some scenic rocks and out to a small overlook. Going to the right leads through another very scenic area and on up to a higher overlook on a ridge where you can see the basins to both the east and to the west. There is a third trail at this junction that loops back around to the trailhead passing a few more petroglyphs along the way.

The trail leading to the upper overlook makes use of some well constructed steps to get above the band of white rocks.

The short section of trail that loops back to the trailhead gets a little primitive in nature as it passes some pleasant looking cliffs where there are a few more petroglyphs.

Once again the fertility theme persists.

The last spot for rock art is at a free standing boulder with a small arch on top that has petroglyphs carved on every flat surface all the way around.

The campground has 16 spots with picnic tables that currently are free of charge on a first come first served basis. Several spots can accommodate most any size RV. The Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area is the perfect place to spend the night while traveling through on Highway 50. The campground is very nice, the trails are pleasant to hike as they wind their way through the pinion forest and past scenic outcrops of volcanic tuff, and to top it off there are some interesting petroglyphs to enjoy. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.