Mule Canyon & Mule Tank Petroglyphs

If you love petroglyph sites as much as we do, then this trip is for you!  Both locations are on the north side of Mule Mountain, southwest of Blythe.  For excellent directions to this site, and many others, we'd recommend David Whitley's book A Guide to Rock Art Sites - Southern California and Southern Nevada.  Of course in addition to directions he gives a thorough discussion of the rock art and includes some nice color photos.  The drive to these sites involves some sandy washes to the first location, and then eroded and rocky conditions to the second.  Four wheel drive would be nice to have.  It's a long walk if you get stuck.
The Mule Canyon site is a pebble terrace that has two converging aboriginal trails crossing it.  Where these trails join, and along them, are dance circles and other unexplained designs.  There are BLM interpretive panels which help to orient you to the location of these and their possible significance.  We did find a piece of pottery in the wash and photographed it in place as well as removing it briefly for a better shot.  However, it was then replaced exactly where we found it.  It's interesting to conjecture what was going on here in the distant past.  Obviously these trails came from the Colorado River, and the trail that continues on to Mule Tank can still be seen in spots.  Apparently it continues on to Corn Springs, a year round water source.  The reason the trail passes here is likely due to Mule Tank, the location of some remarkable petroglyphs!
Mule Tank itself is a deep depression at the head of a narrow, winding wash.  It is fed by a waterfall with a drop of over twenty feet that must really be a sight  when it's raining.  The water trapped in the tank was appreciated by animals and humans alike.  The trail came by here because it provides the only seasonal water source in the immediate area.  It would be a logical resting place on the trek to Corn Springs.  There is another BLM interpretive panel at the mouth of the wash.  You begin your adventure here by hiking up the wash.  The petroglyphs are everywhere on both sides.  We were there in the early spring, and were amazed to find one of the bushes in the wash completely covered by butterflies.  We did some scrambling up the west side of the wash to get a closer look at the numerous petroglyph panels.  The prized gem of this location eluded us for quite a while.  This rare depiction is a female shaman.  Most shamans are male, but a remarkable woman broke into the good ol' boy club and got memorialized here.  We finally spotted her figure, identified by the rather prominent hanging labia, high on the west wall.  While photographing her I looked over to where Niki was and noticed something in a rock cave down near her feet.  It turned out to be a geocache.  We've found several while out looking for them, but this was the first one we've found without even knowing it was there!  From there we dropped down into the tank.  It's capable of holding a tremendous amount of water, and would be a welcome sight to Indian travelers.  Their reverence for this site is certainly clearly displayed by the profusion of rock art.  On our way back down the wash we ran across a juvenile chuckwalla out for a stroll.
Enjoy the pictures below, but it's a lot better in person!


Click here for photos.