Whale Peak—North Approach 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.
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)

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.

©  Jerry Schad/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Julian
Distance: 4
Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 3.5 hours
Season: October through May
Local Contacts: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Whale Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Whale Peak—North Approach Trail

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May 2018