Iny-390 Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 3891 - 3967 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Powerline Rd. mm 1.1
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Iny-390 Petroglyphs are located in the Fish Springs area about 7 miles south of Big Pine, California. The site includes numerous petroglyphs that are found on basalt boulders. The I-n-y designation is an abbreviation for Inyo County and this was number 390 on the counties list of sites.

To get there from Big Pine drive south on US-395 for about 4.6 miles and take the exit for the Fish Springs Hatchery. Follow the Fish Springs Road for about 1.5 miles and turn right onto the road in this photo. Stay on this dirt road for about a quarter of a mile and veer right onto the unmarked Lower Powerline Road. There are several roads at this point that make it a little confusing but the intention is to take the route that runs along side of the powerlines. We didn't encounter anywhere that required either high clearance or 4wd but the road is primitive and rough enough that regular passenger cars probably wouldn't be appropriate. If you begin hiking from this spot add another 1.6 miles to the round trip distance.

Stay on the powerline road for just over 3/4 of a mile keeping watch for a small pullout on the left that is perpendicular with the road. This is about the only place a vehicle can pull all the way off of the road. There isn't a trail to follow from the pullout that leads to petroglyphs but the object is to head toward the west over the small hill and drop into the drainage on the other side.

As you reach the crown of the hill a green strip of ground where there is a slough should come into view. Gradually bend your route to the right as though heading toward the uphill end of the drainage.

One of the first boulders that you might notice anything upon will probably be one with a large star with 'Jack' inscribed beneath it. It is interesting to notice that Jack scratched his name right over some faint petroglyphs.

Careful scanning of the boulders will begin revealing numerous petroglyphs. Some of them show a significant amount of weathering like the ones near the light colored end of this rock.

This image looks a little like a pile of rocks but it also resembles a clump of elk scat for which there is a lot of in the area. Most of the elk scat is of the single pellet variety but sometimes they are clumped together. The slough appears to be a winter watering hole for elk at least. It was probably a good hunting ground back in the day with all the boulders to hide behind.

It is very easy to miss seeing all of the petroglyphs. They appear on multiple sides of the same boulders and even tucked away in little hidden places.

These spoked 'medicine wheel' like circles are one of the most common images at the Iny-390 site.

Some of the images that are low to the ground actually disappear into the dirt in places as though at least some dirt has blown into the area around the boulders over the years.

Another spoked circle along with other images.

 And yet another spoked circle.

We always like to show our vehicle as the last image to give a little idea of what the trailhead looks like. When there are more people it also gives an idea of what other types of vehicles were able to reach the trailhead. In this case it is just us but you can clearly see what the pullout looks like and how difficult it would be to pull off the shoulder of the road in any other place. The cross country hike from the road to the drainage with the petroglyphs is actually much easier from the top of the hill. That is the route that we took as well looped back to our vehicle. If you would like to see the Iny-390 petroglyphs for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.