5 Native American Rock Art Sites

Native American Rock Art Sites of California

1. Pictograph Trail Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

More than two thousand years ago, the Kumeyaay Native Americans lived in this desert and painted these fragile Pictographs on giant boulders. Though the meaning is now lost, some believe they were created for spiritual rituals. Hiking Pictograph Trail involves an easy 2 mile round trip hike if starting from the trailhead parking lot.

Pictograph Trail Anza Borrego Desert State Park

2. Barker Dam Petroglyphs Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park is a man-made reservoir created in 1900 by early cattlemen. It has become a watering hole for Desert Bighorn Sheep. Nearby giant boulders contain petroglyphs which make for a great 1.3 mile loop hike.

Barker Dam Petroglyphs

3. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park outside of Santa Barbara protects a sandstone cave adorned with Native American rock art. These Pictographs are thought to depict the universe as seen through the eyes of the Native Chumash. The Chumash lived on the Central Coast from Ventura County to San Luis Obispo County as well as the Channel Islands.

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

4. Painted Rock Carrizo Plain National Monument

Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain National Monument is an amazing pictograph rock art site. Thousands of years old, these pictographs were created by the Chumash, Salinan and Yokut Natives. The pigments were created from a yucca shrub while they were painted using brushes made of rodent hair. Although the meanings are now lost, the art remains sacred. 

Painted Rock Carrizo Plain National Monument

5. Hospital Rock Sequoia National Park

Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park preserves Native American pictographs estimated to be from 1350. The site is located along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River on the Generals Highway. Notable pioneers, John Swanson and James Everton, were both injured at the spot giving it its unusual name. 

Hospital Rock Sequoia National Park

Pictograph/Petroglpyh Etiquette: Take many photos but DO NOT TOUCH. Oils from our hands can destroy forever. Do not alter the rock art in any way or form and please stay on the trail to protect the fragile desert ecosystem.