All Spring Tours are SOLD OUT!
All Spring Tours are SOLD OUT!
Special Lectures on the Coso Petroglyphs
Free lectures on Coso Petroglyphs—this spring, Maturango Museum Archaeology Curator and Archaeologist Alexander “Sandy” Rogers will give his excellent lecture on the Coso Petroglyphs on Saturday, March 25, Saturday, April 22 and Saturday, May 20. All lectures are free to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s Sylvia Winslow Gallery. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Lectures are designed for those who have taken or will take a petroglyph tour through the Museum.
Petroglyph Tour Procedures
- Important Information
- Warning: Know Your Limits!
- Appropriate Footwear
- Inappropriate Footwear
- Tour Dates
- Schools and Special Tours
In the canyons and plateaus of the Coso Mountains are thousands of images left by the hunter-gatherer people who populated this region in times past. The images, called petroglyphs, are carved into basalt rocks, and range in age from Paleoindian times to the present. This is the largest known concentration of petroglyphs in the western hemisphere and is located on the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. Public access is permitted to the petroglyphs that are located in lower Renegade Canyon (also known as Little Petroglyph Canyon). Access is limited to tours with Navy-approved guides. People interested in visiting the petroglyphs can take museum-sponsored tours during the Spring and Fall months. Individual dates are announced on the Maturango Museum website.
Because the tour is on an active Navy base, all persons on the tour must follow Navy rules.
- All visitors must be US citizens.
- All visitors must be over 10 years of age. No pets.
- Visitors must be in good physical condition.
- The petroglyphs are in a desert mountain canyon. The ground is uneven sand and rock, temperatures are extremely variable, water is essential.
- Dress appropriately, no open-toed shoes.
- Bring required documents including valid vehicle registration and insurance. Your vehicle will be inspected on the base.
Please download and complete BOTH the Petroglyph Application by clicking on the ‘Application for Petroglyph Tours’ photo along with the SECNAV Form, NAWS PAO by clicking on the ‘ECNAV Form, NAWS PAO’ photo. Both form sMUST be completed and returned. The Navy’s Department of Security now requires this form ‘ECNAV Form, NAWS PAO’ to be completed and signed by every person age 16 and over going on a Petroglyph Tour on the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, as of September 5, 2014. This is basically an application for a temporary permit for access to NAWC during the day of your petroglyph tour. Thank you. The ECNAV Form, NAWS PAO form will ONLY open in the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download or upgrade, please go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
Inappropriate Footwear for Petroglyph Tours
PLEASE NOTE that this is a strenuous hike that involves climbing over rocks and boulders, as well as walking on soft sand. This is not a tour for those who are not in good physical shape. The canyon is at 5,000 feet altitude and is just how the Native Americans left it—there are no facilities in the canyon itself.
If you have difficulty lifting your feet or climbing more than 10 stairs, please reconsider. The terrain is rough and unsuitable for anyone who needs to use crutches, a walker or a wheelchair.
For those who have knee issues or tire easily, please understand that you can stop and rest any time. You do not have to go all the way to the end of the canyon—there are literally thousands of petroglyphs in this one canyon alone. Most of them can best be viewed by stopping and spending some time just looking around. Take photographs, let the feeling of the place seep in, enjoy what is around you. Many visitors only go halfway down the canyon, and that’s fine. More than half of the petroglyphs are in the first half of the canyon anyway.
KNOW YOUR OWN LIMITS. Your safety is our biggest concern. There have been some close calls with people who try to push themselves too hard, too fast and wind up either slipping and falling or becoming too exhausted to make it back out of the canyon without extra help. Some visitors are reluctant to ask for help when they need it. Please ask! The escorts are there to make sure everyone gets out and back safely, as well as to answer questions.
There is more to see than anyone can really absorb in just one tour. There is also a shady covered picnic area near the parking lot for those who need to cut their tour short and wait for the rest of the group.
Saturday, March 25 –FULL
Sunday, March 26 – FULL
Saturday, April 08 –FULL
Sunday, April 09 –FULL
Saturday, April 22 – FULL
Sunday, April 23 –FULL
Saturday, April 29 –FULL
Sunday, April 30 –FULL
Saturday, May 06 –FULL
Sunday, May 07 –FULL
Saturday, May 20 —FULL
Sunday, May 21 —FULL
Saturday, May 27–FULL
Sunday, May 28 — FULL
Saturday, Jun. 03 –FULL
Sunday, Jun. 04 —FULL
Petroglyph Tours cost $45 for museum members and $55 for nonmembers. The museum provides experienced, trained tour guides. Please:
- Read all the information
- Download the forms (Application and SECNAV Form, NAWS PAO using ONLY Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Follow the directions to submit the form with payment to the Maturango Museum
Please download and complete the Petroglyph Application (5 pages) by clicking on the ‘Application for Petroglyph Tours‘ photo (below left). The last three pages of the ‘Application for Petroglyph Tours‘ which contains SECNAV Form, NAWS PAO can be completed in Adobe Acrobat reader by clicking on the ‘SECNAV Form, NAWS PAO – Fill-in Enabled’ link. This form will ONLY open in the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download or upgrade, please go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/. The Navy’s Department of Security now requires this form ‘SECNAV Form, NAWS PAO’ to be completed and signed by every person age 18 and over going on a Petroglyph Tour on the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, as of September 5, 2014. This is basically an application for a temporary permit for access to NAWC during the day of your petroglyph tour. Thank you.
Petroglyph Tour Photos
Petroglyph Tour Guides Appreciation Event, Feb. 08, 2015
Petroglyph Park Photos (located one block from the Maturango Museum)
The mission of the Maturango Museum is to preserve, interpret, and develop an appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Northern Mojave Desert through research and education in the natural and physical sciences, and to promote the arts.
Featured Artist Interviews
100 East Las Flores Ave
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
760-375-6900 | FAX 760-375-0479
Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm
(Excluding Major Holiday)