Peninsula Petroglyph Trail: This 1/4-mile self-guided trail is accessible from the campground and is open during daylight hours every day. The trail requires a mild climb. A number of petroglyphs (pictures carved on stone) and interpretive signs are easily visible from the trail. This trail connects to several loop trails totaling approximately a mile and ½ of additional trail around the edge and top of the hill.
Buffalo Trail: This trail is approximately two miles in length. It is named for a group of bison that were kept near the front entrance in the past. The trail has trailheads located at the park entrance and on the north and south end of the “C” campground. This hike requires accessing some steep, vertical inclines and steps.
Pointe Trail: This short trail is approximately one mile long. It starts at the north end of the day use area and joins two loops on top of the hill that overlooks the pointe near the group use area. Moderate inclines and some steps are found at the beginning of this trail.
Hiking and History: Petroglyph Trail
The central petroglyph is the water serpent. When Hopi ancestors were given a sign to stop and settle in an area, sometimes there would be no water. So these people, through ceremony, would pray to the water serpent underground. The water serpent. whose domain is under the ground. would answer by churning around, which would force water to seep out of the ground. Learn more by downloading the Interpretive Guide below.
The prehistoric inhabitants of the upper Little Colorado River drainage left a rich material record of their time in the valley. The ruined buildings, artifacts, and petroglyphs ("rock art'') provide the scientific evidence that permits archaeologists to understand the area's prehistory. Hopi people see the abandoned houses, broken pottery, and markings on the rocks as a record left by their ancestors during the migrations described in Hopi oral tradition. Scientific archaeology and Hopi oral tradition provide two ways of assigning meaning to the physical record of human occupation of this area.
Science provides a framework for seeking testable answers to an evolving set of questions. For scientific archaeology, these questions concern past human behavior. The artifacts, the architecture, and the petroglyphs that archaeologists study provide the evidence that allows them to answer the questions they pose.
Hopi oral tradition provides, for Hopis, a different way of knowing the past. At Hopi, each dan has a narrative of its own history, from emergence, through migration, to eventual settlement on the Hopi mesas. These dan narratives, passed down in both secular and sacred contexts, together comprise Hopi history. This knowledge of the past is deeply grounded in religion, reinforced through ritual, and made apparent in ruined villages, ancient pottery, and the marks left on the rocks.
To learn more, download an intrepretive guide about Rattlesnake Point Pueblo (no public access) and the Petroglyph Trail. Download Prehistory Intrepretive Booklet