Gold Butte: Falling Man

Categories: Desert, Hiking, Mojave, Nevada

The Falling Man trail, also called the Petroglyph Trail, is one of many open desert hikes in the new Gold Butte National Monument.  If you have read my Little Finland post and didn’t think your vehicle could make it you might instead try the Falling Man trail. It’s considerably shorter to drive to, and while the road could still be challenging to a two wheel drive car, I think most non-4×4 SUV’s would be fine. The road deteriorates quickly after trailhead.

One of the first sites.

There’s a unique and pleasant color scheme going on.

Much of the rock art is high over your head.

Calvin’s Rock

This one is particularly high up, probably 15 feet.

In sharp contrast to Little Finland, which is only a miles away, the Falling Man area is in a wide region of white and pink hued sandstones peppered with little patches of Joshua Trees. It’s a pleasant walk from one site to another but the layout of the land creates a confusing maze, and in most cases you don’t seen the rock art until you are right up on it. Native Americans used to live at the site, and roads led to the “Lost City” now under Lake Mead. Charcoal cooking mounds can still be seen.

Some of the trail involves walking through little mini-canyons.

The famous Falling Man

To get to the Falling Man trailhead and then to find the rock art sites  I recommend studying maps.  Due to being largely lawless and unmanaged for several years this is one of the the worst paved roads I’ve been on anywhere in the United States that wasn’t already abandoned. It’s worse than a maintained dirt road. In fact, despite the short milage I would plan for an hour of driving after you leave the Interstate. Maps on the BLM Site are terrible, so I’d check several sources for information, like Bird and Hike. It might even be useful to make GPS waypoints beforehand.

I personally thought this was the best one. It was so jam packed with information it reminded me of Newspaper Rock in Canyonlands.

And guess what? It’s called Newspaper Rock.

This one had some bears feet.

I love the strange “alien ghost” drawings. There a many examples of them in the area.

The “Upper Wall”

A fun area with a little more complicated climbing around.

Maree checks out the “Lower Wall” site. This was another good one.

By the time we got to this point the wind had gotten so strong we were chewing on sand. I even had a rock nearly hit me in the head that had blown off the top of a cliff.

Some pretty striping in the rock.

A water pocket before and after a dog suddenly showed up and jumped in it.

We grew tired of stinging sand in our faces so we turned around and headed back. Great day!

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