White River Narrows IV

Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4478 - 4495 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: White River Narrows
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The White River Narrows Archaeological District is located just north of Hiko, Nevada between Crystal Springs and Ely along Nevada Highway 318. The district has 6 sites scattered throughout the narrows where petroglyphs, dating from 4,000 years ago up to Fremont times and into the nineteenth century, have been carved into the soft sandstone and volcanic tuff that makes up most of the cliffs of the winding canyon. Due to its importance as an archaeological resource the district has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

To reach sites I through V drive 17 miles north of Hiko or 112 miles south of Ely on Nevada 318 and turn east onto a dirt road where there is an information kiosk that will help with getting orientated to the district.

From the kiosk head east for less than a quarter mile and go left at the fork. The right fork leads to Site V.

After a couple hundred more feet there is another fork where going to the right leads to Site IV. The left fork leads to Sites I, II & III.

The road dead ends at a turn around after a quarter mile or so. The petroglyphs are located at the point of the cliff a short distance away.

It takes a little scrambling to get up to base of the cliff to the petroglyphs. The main panels are in the middle but there are also some nice petroglyphs along the cliff to the left once you get up to that level. Another worthwhile panel is all the way around on the right side of the cliff.

The main panel here seems to have mostly a hunting theme.

At first this image looks like an abstract geometric design but it's not too hard to make out the image of a man on the right that is looking up and reaching with one hand and touching the sun while the opposite arm trails off in the other direction connecting with some of the things that sustain life like a river of water on the far left, an animal at the top and perhaps some crops. Maybe the person is giving thanks or acknowledging the suns role as one wanders through life.

We most often see images like these that look like combs and lines with teeth or mountains made horizontally so these vertical constructs are something a little different.

Here is an intriguing image hovering above two sheep and a hunter.

If you follow the cliff all the way around to the right there is a panel high up at the top facing mostly east. It's a tough scramble to get up to it so you might want to rely on binoculars and a good zoom lens to do the work.

Site IV is interesting enough all by itself and probably deserves more time devoted to it than what we had allotted. We were trying to cram the White River Narrows and the Mount Irish archaeological districts all into the same day and still have enough time left over to drive several hundred miles north to the Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area. Hopefully in the future we can come back for a more leisurely visit. As far as Site IV goes, f you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.