Chalfant Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4442 - 4482 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Chalfant Petroglyphs
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Chalfant Petroglyph site is located 18 miles north of Bishop, California. Scores of petroglyphs can be found over a quarter mile stretch of chalk cliffs about a mile from the highway. The main group of images, that are heavily concentrated in one area, include many that still appear in near perfect condition. The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Drive north from Bishop on US-6 for about 17 miles and turn left onto the Petroglyph Road. That said, there currently isn't a road sign. The best thing for those that don't have an GPS device is to zero your odometer at the Chalfant Road, as you pass through Chalfant, and measure 4 miles to the turnoff which is at 37.58386, -118.38497 for those that do have an GPS. After turning off of US-6 continue straight for just over a quarter mile and turn right. After another 740 feet there will be a road to the left that drops off of the mesa. It is about another 4 tenths of a mile to the very noticeable trailhead. The road down the hill is a little rough in places but most passenger vehicles with a careful driver should have little trouble keeping in mind that it would be a short hike to all 3 sites even if you park at the top of the hill.

The best approach from the trailhead would be to head straight across the dry wash to the chalk bluff and begin searching for images. The main panels are in the area to the right where we made the larger red circle.

Be sure to examine the cliffs all the way up to the rim so you don't miss images like this reticulated circle that looks somewhat like a reed basket.

Vulva images can be found here and there along the cliffs but there is one bolder that has more than a dozen of them.

Large decorated circles, or shield type images, are very common and quite interesting.

Another interesting image is this large herringbone, or millipede pattern, that looks to be 15-20 feet in length.

The main group of panels has an extensive number of images that include a little of everything with several large decorated circles and many geometric designs.

Most interesting are these tall slender images with ears and what resembles a storks beak. We suppose these anubian like caricatures represent shaman or gods.

Here is another of those images with something about its neck that is facing a large circle as though conveying some special meaning to the circle.

Several of the large shields, or circles, contain the same symbols as others. This particular circle is almost an exact replica of a nearby circle. Also, several of the large circles had one of these smaller 'spoked' circles next to them.

 Yet another of the shamanistic images. They appear in various sizes and settings all along the cliffs.

The way the same images are repeated, not only in the exact same fashion, but in conjunction with other images, some of them seem to almost form sentences. It makes one wonder how long it will be before someone develops an AI that will be able to interpret the panels and bring back their original meaning. - From this well established trailhead you can drive south another tenth of a mile and find another trailhead that is unmarked that we are posting as Chalfant II. There you will find even more images, some of which, are unique from this first group. Another 9 tenths of a mile past that is the Mno-66 site which is a single panel. If you would like to see them all for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.