When I first moved to the Las Vegas area, I was amazed by the outdoor options that are just 20 minutes from my front door.  In any direction, the choices are limitless: the Mojave, the Great Basin, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Gold Butte, Pahranagat Valley, Grand Canyon, Parashant, AZ, CA & UT parks, and all the expansive open BLM land in between.  NV is the most mountainous state in the lower 48.  People flying in to enjoy The Strip or Fremont Street don’t realize the unbelievable outdoor options just minutes away.

I started exploring simply by just going to areas that looked interesting to me.  And, as I started to find and catalog native rock art, I wanted to learn more.  So, here are some of the resources I’ve found to be invaluable.

  • BirdandHike is quite simply the single best resource on the web for anyone looking to explore the American Southwest.  Jim Boone (Ph. D., Ecology) has spent decades exploring and he provides great details on many sites, including GPS coordinates.
  • Death Valley Jim’s website and books (I highly recommend purchasing all of them, you won’t be disappointed) are indispensable to anyone looking to explore Death Valley, the Mojave, Joshua Tree, or anywhere in between.
  • The DzrtGrls have an extensive website documenting their trips throughout the American Southwest.  I really like how many pictures they have on their site, documenting each one of their trips.
  • Guy Starbuck hosts Starbuck’s Exploring, which is another great resource, with lots of pictures and details on his explorations.
  • Ken’s Photo Gallery has TONS of pictures and trip reports to explore.  His blog is regularly updated, so check back often.
  • Southern Nevada Rock Art website contains galleries of various rock art locations not just within Nevada, but neighboring states, too
  • The Pahranagat Valley in Lincoln County, NV is one of my favorite places…it’s simply beautiful.  The county publishes a Native American Rock Art Guide, making it easy to get to some of the more popular locations.  But, don’t simply just go based off this guide…there are tons of locations throughout Lincoln County.  The Pahranagat Valley is exceedingly beautiful and rural, offering an endless set of options for hiking, camping and off-roading.
  • The Nevada Rock Art Foundation is helping to preserve the past, through documentation, research and public education
  • The Maturango Museum offers the only way of getting on the Navy’s China Lake base to see the Coso Range petroglyphs.  I haven’t done this tour, yet, but the Coso Range is on my list of areas to explore.
  • The NewX forums are a great resource for getting advice on how to modify your Nissan Xterra (my rig of choice).

The following books have been great resources, too:

  • The Rocks Begin to Speak by LaVan Martineau
  • A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest by Alex Patterson
  • Rock Art of the Southwest by Liz Welsh & Peter Welsh
  • The various guides from Bill Mann
  • All of Death Valley Jim’s books
  • Great Basin SUV Trails I and II by Roger & Lois Mitchell
  • Death Valley SUV Trails by Roger Mitchell
  • Hiking Death Valley by Michael Digonnet
  • Hiking Western Death Valley National Park by Michael Digonnet
  • Hiking the Mojave Desert by Michael Digonnet
  • Mojave Road Guide – An Adventure Through Time by Dennis G Casebier
  • Afoot & Afield: Las Vegas & Southern Nevada: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide by Brian Beffort
  • Hiking Las Vegas by Branch Whitney
  • Nevada Trails Southern Nevada by Peter Massey, Angela Titus and Jeanne Wilson