Petroglyphs & Pictographs
Little Petroglyph Canyon
The Coso Rock Art District, a National Historic Landmark deep in the U.S. Navy's testing station at
China Lake, contains one of America's most impressive petroglyphic and archeological complexes. The
20,000 images already documented surpass in number most other collections, and the archeological resources
are remarkably undisturbed.
These are the largest concentration of petroglyphs in the western hemisphere displayed here in the canyons of
the Coso Mountains, which are located in a remote region east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and west of
where the Great Basin and Mojave deserts come together.
The 3-mile long Little Petroglyph Canyon contains over 6,000 images alone. Coso rock art has become famous for
its stylized representational symbolic system, a system that has intrigued—and baffled—archeologists and lay
observers for decades.
Recent research at this California desert District has begun to illuminate the long history of the people
here and the meanings they inscribed in stone. It also underscores the value of America's endangered