Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site

Round Trip Distance: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 2817 - 2860 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Little Black Mountain
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs

The Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site is just across the Arizona/Utah border a few miles south of St. George, Utah. Over an 8,000 year period several different groups of American Indians carved and pecked more than 500 images on the many boulders that are scattered around the cliffs near the southwest corner of the mountain. The area appears to have been used mostly for ceremonies and as a calendar site.

To get there drive south out of St. George on Interstate 15 and take Exit 2 for Highway 7 and the Southern Parkway. Head east on Highway 7 for 3 miles and take the River Road Exit. Continue south on the River Road for about 4 tenths of a mile and turn left at the sign for the Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site.

From the last turnoff it is another 4.1 miles to the trailhead. There are several roads that break off on the left and on the right that can make the drive confusing. It helps to know that you are headed to where the mesa juts out into the valley as shown in this photo. The road is pretty rocky in places and can get somewhat tedious but during good conditions a 2wd vehicle should do the trick. We averaged 12 mph in our Tundra and it took us just about 20 minutes. There are some nice long dirt stretches where you can get going 15-20 mph so it's not all that bad.

From the parking area the trail passes through a green gate where there is a restroom and a ramada with a picnic table.

The main parts of the trail have a hard packed gravel surface that is suitable for strollers. A short distance from the trailhead the route comes to a kiosk where the trail splits. Besides a map of the trail the kiosk has valuable information about the site and reminds people not to touch any of the petroglyphs, make rubbings or trace them with chalk. And by no means leave any graffiti of your own. It is actually illegal to damage rock art and archeological sites even if it's by accident.

Heading off down the right fork the trail travels through all the boulders with the most petroglyphs before ending with a loop.

Petroglyphs can be found on all sides of some of the boulders both high and low including all the way on top. The patina is wearing off of some of the darker boulders making some images difficult to recognize.

Many of the boulders have images that appear to be much older mixed in with newer ones. Some of the more recent glyphs were made over top of some of the older ones.

Down the other fork of the trail there is a boulder where they made a viewing platform from which to get a better look.

This boulder has a lot of images in both the lighter and darker patina and appears to have a story line running across it horizontally.

The map at the kiosk shows that it is 650 feet down the west trail but you can keep going for quite a distance past that point and still find a few petroglyphs. Eventually the trail gets much more primitive and doesn't seem worth the effort.

We didn't notice any springs in the area and it is about 7.5 miles to the Virgin River from here so you wouldn't think the site would have had much activity during the summer months. The buttes of Little Black Mountain are very alluring. There is a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere while hiking among the boulders that makes it easy to see the appeal that it has had with people over the millennia. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.