Red Canyon Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4878 - 4966 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Red Canyon Petroglyphs
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Red Canyon Petroglyphs are located along the Fish Slough Road about 24 miles north of Bishop, California. Hundreds of petroglyphs can be spotted at this site on boulders and the cliff faces of a large sandstone outcrop while hiking around a short loop. Most of the petroglyphs are still in very good condition for viewing.

While a person could drive north on the Fish Slough Road to get there it is much faster and smoother to head north from Bishop on US-6 for 19 miles and turn left onto the gravelled Chidago Canyon Road. Follow the Chidago Canyon Road for 3.5 miles as it climbs gently out of the valley. Turn left onto the unmarked Hieroglyphics Road and the Red Canyon Petroglyph site will be straight ahead less than 500 feet away.

There is a north trailhead and a south trailhead with a little loop road in between. This post begins at the north trailhead and travels around the loop in the counterclockwise direction.

As the trail begins it passes a point of rocks only a few yards from the trailhead where the first petroglyphs can be seen.

Many of the petroglyphs are on boulders that are perched all the way up on top of the point. There are scores of images just in this initial area.

From the first petroglyphs follow the trail around the little cove of rocks where petroglyphs will be found on one boulder and cliff face after another.

It takes a while to search around the boulders of all sizes so not to miss anything.

Be sure to honor the sign at the trailhead and not climb on the petroglyphs. The oil from your skin will dissolve the patina on the rocks and ruin the petroglyphs. There are a few places where you can hike up on top and look down upon the images without any harm but there is plenty to be seen without doing even that.

They don't show up great but each of these tall rectangular images appears to have a head. At first glance we thought they were just geometrical designs but they seem to be anthropomorphic figures.

The various stems or lines with solid circles on their ends seem to have a particular meaning.

Large boulder with various designs.

 Circles, lines and little people.

This is actually the backside of one of the other panels that was high up on the cliff.

This large boulder is next to the road in the area between the 2 trailheads.

Boulder with many feet.

A tipi.

This is one of the panels near the south trailhead that has a spoked circle and some bird tracks.

Most of the petroglyphs are concentrated near each of the trailheads. Along the west and southwest sides of the loop there are only a few marks hear and there. By following one of the trails that lead up on top there are a few petroglyphs that are only visible from that vantage point. If you would like to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.