Iny-395-396 Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4527 - 4942 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Birch Creek Road
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Iny-395 and Iny-396 petroglyphs sites are located in the Fish Springs area south of Big Pine, California. Sitting side by side on low basalt cliffs, separated in the middle by a short saddle in the ridge, the two sites include hundreds of petroglyphs that were scratched and pecked upon basalt boulders.

To get there to begin with follow the directions to Iny-393. From Iny-393 continue following the 4wd Birch Creek Road as it climbs around the side of the mountain. Stay to the left where a side road drops down into the valley and continue on past the Connetti Mine. There are a couple of side roads but stay on the main road as it climbs toward the top of the ridge.

The road eventually reaches the top of the hill and begins leveling off. As you continue both petroglyph sites will be out of site on your left a few hundred yards away but the easiest route is to remain on the road. Stay to the left a little before the 1 mile point from Iny-393 where another road branches off on the right.

After staying to the left the road drops off the short hill and comes to a junction where you will want to turn sharply to the left.

The short cliffs where both sites are at can be seen up ahead to the left of the road. They are spread out over a distance of maybe a quarter of a mile. The second site, Iny-396, has by far the most petroglyphs.

Most of the petroglyphs are easy to spot although some are very faded and worn.

The majority of the images are typical of the geometric shapes and patterns found in the area.

Careful examination of this panel shows a faint reticulated pattern that covers most of the panel. The solid circle in the middle looks like a solid sandstone tube. We aren't familiar at all with the geology behind the occurrence of these inside of basalt. There are a handful of them in the area and they are all perfectly round. We wouldn't be surprised if they aren't rather something like a surface core made by a prospector because this one looks like it was made after the reticulated pattern.

It is a little awkward getting around the rocks that clog the wash getting to the seconds site.

Depending on how you go around the rocks in the head of the wash might determine whether you will notice this small boulder and its images.

Up on the cliff some of the panels are in very awkward to get to places.

Here are some interesting images that are higher up.

The Iny-396 site not only has more petroglyphs than Iny-395, the individual panels are much larger.

Most every surface that would make a good canvas has images.

On the first blonde colored area to the right of the main panel in this photo is a two-legged image with bird feet. The body is nothing more than a small mass where the legs join at the top. It looks a lot like some of the walking 'butthead' images that you see in cartoons.

Where the surface of rocks is peeling away like an onion skin you wonder how much larger the panel may have been when it was created. In this case there are no lines that stretch into the lost surface of the rock so maybe this panel was all created after that part of the rock was lost.

Here is a panel of mostly spoked circles.

A large panel with a smaller panel off to the side.

There is an image on the lower right that looks a little like an expanded representation of a coiled snake.

This is the last of the larger panels. There is also what looks like an almost perfect horse in one place that is anatomically correct with four legs, a long tail and an accurately depicted head. If it wasn't for the long tail one might think it could be a cow elk. If it is a horse then it is of course more recent.

We tried to include enough photos of the road in the slideshow to give a good idea of what type of conditions to expect. While we hiked starting from the Iny-393 site we would probably drive the road with little worry on our next trip if we still have our Tundra or anything equivalent. We thought that the petroglyphs, particularly at the Iny-396 site made even hiking the distance more than worthwhile. If you would like to see them for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.