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Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
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Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
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Crystal Wash Entrance
Hiker passing the man-gate (view NNW)

Overview

The Crystal Wash Entrance rock art site is an area of desert-varnished boulders along a sandy wash. Ancient people apparently traveled through this area without stopping for long periods of time, although there is a small shelter site here. While passing through, they flaked a few stones and etched the rocks mostly with abstract images that might represent maps or other travel guides. There is one possible humanoid figure.

The BLM and Lincoln County opened this area to the public, and Lincoln County printed a brochure with information about the site (including GPS coordinates) as part of their Get Primitive tourism campaign. Download the brochure from Lincoln County or snatch a copy here. The hike is about 1 mile round-trip. The BLM also printed a brochure for the area.

Link to Wide Area Map or Site Map.

Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Old road runs out to old parking area (view NNW)

Location

The Crystal Wash Entrance rock art site is located about 110 miles northeast of Las Vegas on Highway 93. From town, drive out to the Crystal Wash Entrance Trailhead Parking Area; park here; this is the trailhead. The last gasoline is at Ash Springs.

Hours

The area is always open, but it probably should be considered day-use only. There are no established camping areas.

Fees

None.

Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Sign-in register overlooking wash (view N)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the trail runs through a V-shaped gap in the fence, then follows the old road to the northwest for a minute or so. At the edge of a wash, a metal sign-in register (Wpt. 02) is the first evidence that this is the correct route.

After signing in, the route drops into the sandy wash and heads upstream (northeast). There is no established trail, but when walking up the wash, petroglyphs start near the first big boulders on the right edge of the wash. Sharp eyes hikers will first notice Marker #2 on the left against the rock wall. Missing this marker and walking a little farther upstream, hikers will notice Marker #1 at the base of boulders on the right edge of the wash.

At about 0.22 miles out, notice a large boulder on the right with petroglyphs towards the top (Wpt. 03). From that boulder, Marker #2 (Wpt. 05) is back to the left against the cliffs across the canyon, and Marker #1 (Wpt. 04) is just ahead on the right.

Crystal Wash Entrance
Sign-in register overlooking wash (view N)

Continuing up the wash, Marker #3 (Wpt. 06) is on the left where the wash bends to the east, and Marker #4 (Wpt. 07) is located on the point of a fork in the wash.

Adventuresome hikers might walk from Marker #4 to the Crystal Wash Main Rock Art Site using the hard route (left at the fork) or the easy route (right at the fork). The hard route might be a bit more interesting, as it requires scrambling over and under boulders in a narrow canyon and a bit of route finding.

Returning from Marker #4 to the trailhead, there are two more markers (Marker #5 and Marker #6). A few steps south of Marker #1, exit the wash left and walk southeast along the base of the cliffs. The trail passes an open area towards the next rocky ridge. Just before the rocky ridge, Marker #5 indicates a boulder with an interesting hollow spot, and Marker #6 is just beyond at the base of the rocky ridge.

Return to the trailhead by walking southwest into the wash. Walk down the wash watching for the sign-in register atop the wash bank on the left, which indicates the trail back to the trailhead.

Crystal Wash Entrance
Hiker signing in (view NE)
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Sign-in register with site brochure
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Route runs up the wash (view N)
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Route runs up the wash (view N)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Route runs up the wash (view NE)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Boulder before getting to Site 1
Crystal Wash Entrance
Backside of boulder before getting to Site 1
Crystal Wash Entrance
Backside of boulder before getting to Site 1 (close up)

Site 1

Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 1 marker
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 1. Main boulder: top center
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 1. Main boulder: top center
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 1. Main boulder: west face
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 1. Main boulder: north face (the line wraps around)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Continuing up the wash towards Site 3 (Site 2 is back on the left)

Site 2

Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 2 marker
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 2. Marked rocks at the base of the cliff
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 2. Across the wash
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 2. Marked rocks at the base of the cliff
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 2. Marked rocks at the base of the cliff
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 2 close-up

Site 3

Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance

Site 4

Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 5 marker
Crystal Wash Entrance
Approaching Site 4
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 4. Southwest face
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 4. Southeast side
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 4. Southeast corner
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 4. North side
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 4. Up wash to the left a few yards
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 4. Route continues to Crystal Wash Main Site
more to come
More to come ...

Site 5

Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 5. Boulder with cavity (view NE)
Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art Site
Site 5. Boulder with cavity. Inside the hole was painted (view E)

Site 6

Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 6. Petroglyphs along base of cliff (view NE)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Site 6. Petroglyphs along base of cliff (view E)
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance
Crystal Wash Entrance Crystal Wash Entrance

Returning to the trailhead

Crystal Wash Entrance
Near Site 6, departing for the trailhead (view S)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Near Site 3, returning to the trailhead (view S)
Crystal Wash Entrance
In the wash, note sign-in register atop wash bank (view SW)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Returning past the borrow pit (view S)
Crystal Wash Entrance
Returning through the gate to trailhead (view S)
More to come
More to come ...

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates based on GPS data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Crystal Wash Entrance Trailhead 661405 4157318 4,051 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Crystal Wash Entrance Register 661410 4157328 4,047 0.09 0.09 GPS
03 Crystal Wash Entrance Rock Art 661554 4157592 4,049 0.20 0.29 GPS
04 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #1 661568 4157603 4,054 0.01 0.30 GPS
05 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #2 661546 4157615 4,049 0.02 0.32 GPS
06 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #3 661613 4157645 4,060 0.06 0.38 GPS
07 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #4 661757 4157635 4,069 0.10 0.48 GPS
08 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #5 661594 4157526 4,079 0.20 0.68 GPS
09 Crystal Wash Entrance Marker #6 661607 4157512 4,085 0.01 0.69 GPS
01 Crystal Wash Entrance Trailhead 661405 4157318 4,051 0.25 0.95 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170716

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