Chalfant Petroglyphs South

Round Trip Distance: .03 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4426 - 4434 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Chalfant II
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Chalfant Petroglyphs South covers another quarter mile stretch of petroglyph covered chalk cliffs that is just south of the main Chalfant Petroglyph site. Many of the same designs found at the main site can also be found at the south site although the panels they appear in produce a different mix of images and seem to convey a different message at times. This makes most of the panels unique in themselves.

From the main Chalfant Petroglyphs trailhead continue south for another tenth of a mile where you will find parking on the right side of the road. There aren't any signs or upgrades at this trailhead but the place to park is obvious. At this point the road should still be accessible to any vehicles that were able to make it to the main trailhead. Continuing past the second trailhead to Mno-66 will eventually require a high clearance 4wd vehicle.

On the visit where we took the photos for this post we hiked to the left up the wash for about 500 feet to where most of the petroglyphs seemed to end and then turned around and headed back to the north while scanning the cliffs for petroglyphs. It is harder to get up close to the cliff at the southern end due to boulders and brush so a zoom lens comes in handy.

Most of the images appear to have been scrawled into the soft surface of the cliff rather than pecked as is more common in places where the surface is sandstone or basalt and the rock is much harder. Surfaces like this where there is no patina make the images blend in to the point where they can be more difficult to see. Many of them are very interesting and elaborate images that would be a shame to miss.

Fortunately most of the cliff does have at least some patina. We were trying to determine whether the vertical diamond ladder pattern terminated at the top of each branch with a serpent's head. It would resemble a caduceus without the staff if that was the case. The vertically stacked rectangles just to the right are pretty much what a rattlesnake track looks like. Rather than the smooth slithering track that a gopher snake makes, most rattlesnake tracks look segmented like caterpillars.

As you can see, someone tried to remove this petroglyph. If they would have succeeded they would have got very little money for their effort. It is very difficult to sell artifacts now days without getting caught. The fine and jail time is considerably more than any artifact is worth. You can get more for a petroglyph by going to somewhere like Canyon de Chelly or the Four Corners Monument and paying a local artist to create one for you. They do really nice work. You can even get them to make a nice looking pictograph of an image of a petroglyph. What you end up with will actually be worth something and it will be legal. Exact replicas of pottery and things like authentically handmade by an American Indian arrows with an arrowhead and feathers can be found. It is my understanding that they did catch and prosecute someone that was removing petroglyphs in this area.

This panel has various geometric designs that are like a catalog of patterns that you might find on blankets or pottery.

The figure on the right is a man with a basket on his back. The one on the left is a female and the one in the middle represents a woman that is either pregnant or giving birth. It's an interesting panel.

This large panel has a lot going on.

Near the top of the panel is a shield, or decorated circle, that has designs very similar to others in the area.

This is another busy panel with a few circles and a rather large hand.

We only showed a small fraction of the petroglyphs from this site on this page but more of what is there are in the slideshow at the end of this post. There is one more site in this part of the canyon and that is Mno-66 which is a little less than a mile away. The 4wd road follows the wash and it gets pretty rough in places. We drove about halfway there before getting out and hiking. After Mno-66 the canyon bends westward and where it crosses the Fish Slough Road there is the well known Chidago Canyon petroglyph site. If you would like to see all these for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.