Pictograph Trail

Julian, California

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The Kumeyaay Indians who made camp around Blair Valley before the 20th century left more than bedrock morteros (grinding holes) and potsherds. They also left impressive pictographs—red- and yellow-painted designs—on the face of a large boulder in Smuggler Canyon. Generations of archaeologists have puzzled over the meaning of these and other pictographs and petroglyphs (etched designs), which appear not only in the Anza-Borrego region but throughout the Southwest. The diamond-chain motif at the Smuggler Canyon site has been linked to puberty rites, but the complete meaning of these rock inscriptions may never be known.

Pictograph Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The Kumeyaay Indians who made camp around Blair Valley before the 20th century left more than bedrock morteros (grinding holes) and potsherds. They also left impressive pictographs—red- and yellow-painted designs—on the face of a large boulder in Smuggler Canyon. Generations of archaeologists have puzzled over the meaning of these and other pictographs and petroglyphs (etched designs), which appear not only in the Anza-Borrego region but throughout the Southwest. The diamond-chain motif at the Smuggler Canyon site has been linked to puberty rites, but the complete meaning of these rock inscriptions may never be known."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Julian
Distance: 1.6
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour
Season: October through May
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Local Contacts: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Whale Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Pictograph Trail

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May 2018