How to find rock art


Aug 9, 2007
Aside from knowing exactly where to look, what are some techniques for finding rock art? Like are there certain types of rock, locations in relation to water, etc. that are more reliable than others? I know that I must have walked past so much at this point and I would love to get to where I can stumble upon some now and then...
If you're in an area but not specifically aware of any rock art, just knowing where you're likely to find it will help narrow things down a bit. Rock art seems to mostly be on south-facing walls, but that's not always the case. Looking in alcoves, under overhangs, etc., is also usually a good bet. I'm always scanning canyon walls as I hike, and I often stop just to concentrate on the likely spots for a few seconds.

I've also had some really good luck from sleuthing online. Once I find a photo of some rock art I want to find, I can usually match up some details (landmarks, type of rock, even individual trees) in the photo with the terrain in Google Earth to get a really good idea of where it's at. I've probably found a dozen rock art panels by doing this. Also, if the photo is on Flickr, clicking on the link for the date the photo was taken will show you all the other photos that person took on the same date. Using the timestamps on those photos, you can sometimes use the times to judge distances between landmarks and the rock art. Googling the name of the panel will usually give you photos from other people to help narrow things down a lot.
I my experience,pictographs are usually found on lighter colored rock and petroglyphs are usually found on darker colored rock. And like Udink said, most are South facing(this is also the case with most habitation and granary sites).
Thanks for the tips guys. I was hoping we'd also hear from some of the other rock art junkies on the subject. I hope you all don't think you're giving away anything by just sharing tips on how to find it on our own. This is how we're supposed to find it, right? ;)
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
swmalone How to find temperature estimates? General Discussion 14
K TR 5-6 An Attempt to find a beautiful pink-ish Sunset in SEKI Backpacking 5
TrektheWorld Need to find one great Uintas hike Trip Planning 1
DrNed When You Find My Body .... General Discussion 6
kimbur96 Fast Find Plus PLB General Discussion 0
Parma Find Your National Park Campaign General Discussion 0
Artemus How to find Coyotes & Wolves General Discussion 14
uintahiker Resources used to find/plan a trip Trip Planning 16
TrailScot Capitol Reef NP - 5 Day Backpacking Adventure from Chimney Rock to Burro Wash - October 2023 Backpacking 10
Jackson Little Rock Creek Backpacking 5
2eez4life Suggestions: Uintas Backpacking with some rock climbing routes Trip Planning 0
kwc Another Southern Adirondacks hike - Clockmill Pond and Rock Lake Hiking & Camping 0
R Pony Express Trail, Black Rock to Simpson Springs Hiking & Camping 3
XID_AZ Willow Gulch from Hole in the Rock Trip Planning 4
fossana Yellow Rock, Pollock Arch, Hackberry Canyon loop (GSENM) Hiking & Camping 10
F Who has been here? Ruin off Hole-in-the-Rock road General Discussion 4
napatony13 UNUSUAL ROCK ART STYLES Off Road 4
scatman Beartooth Wilderness - Flat Rock Lake Lollipop Loop - July 26, 2021 Backpacking 56
C Coyote Gulch via Chimney rock trail Trip Planning 0
napatony13 SUCCESSFUL SLEUTHING-Nevada Rock Art Off Road 6
Henk Moab rock art vandalized General Discussion 1
J Bunch O' N. San Rafael Swell summit scrambles April 10-12, 2021 (now w/rock art) Hiking & Camping 3
J Dayhiking Moab's awesome geography, couple hikes to summits and rock art April 8-9, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
scatman Castle Rock - April 3, 2021 Hiking & Camping 13
norwegianxplorer Preikestolen, Pulpit Rock, Hiking Norways most Iconic and spectacular Landmark & views, Lysefjord, Norway Hiking & Camping 1
Stephanie B Fishing (for Trout) and Hunting (for Rock Art) In and Near Capitol Reef National Park Hiking & Camping 7
T Status of Traffic - Hole in the rock road - Escalante - September? Trip Planning 2
fossana Wire Pass fire (impacting House Rock Rd/Buckskin Gulch) Trip Planning 3
Stephanie B Searchin' for Ruins and Rock Art in San Juan County, UT Hiking & Camping 6
NorthwestWanderer Backpacking the Pasayten Wilderness : Harts Pass, PCT, Windy Pass, Buffalo Pass, Foggy Pass, Jim Pass, Hulman Pass & Rock Pass Meadows Backpacking 3
NorthwestWanderer Waterfall Hikes & the death of my legendary Chevy a rock slide. Hiking & Camping 8
Stephanie B Eagle Rock Shelter (Delta County, CO) Hiking & Camping 2
Rockskipper Hiker seriously injured by rock at Fisher Towers General Discussion 12
Stephanie B Sand Island and Sand Dune Rock Art Hiking & Camping 1
b.stark Crack In Rock - Fall 2016 Backpacking 6
J Red Rock(s) Canyon Natl.Conservation Area Hikes and Scrambles Nov. 15 and 16, 2017 Hiking & Camping 0
L Red Castle Lakes / Wilson Peak OR Rock Creek Basin Trip Planning 4
LoneWolfOutdoors Eagle Rock Loop Trail in Arkansas Backpacking 6
BJett Shining Rock Wilderness Backpacking 10
Strawsome What is your favorite hike in the Escalante/Hole in the rock road area? General Discussion 6
Jimmy Hole in the Rock Car Camping Trip Planning 0
powderglut Toadstools and Hoodoos in the White Rock Valley Hiking & Camping 8
IntrepidXJ Album Hoodoos, Spires and other Rock Formations Photography 73
SKLund Spilling the Beans on Rock Art General Discussion 15
Rockskipper As ice thaws, rock avalanches on Southeast Alaska mountains are getting bigger General Discussion 0
G Hole in the Rock Hitchhiking Trip Planning 6
WasatchWill Hiking Chimney Rock & Hickman Bridge Hiking & Camping 2
Jackson Hunting for Rock Art in Tooele County Hiking & Camping 5
Dave Smith Rock State Park, Oregon Hiking & Camping 2

Similar threads