Inspirada is the gateway to Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, a vastly untouched and beautiful desert ecosystem known internationally for it’s ancient art and mysterious history. There’s rich, rare and varied desert wildlife, volcanic hills, and amazing prehistoric art that draw visitors from around the world. Not to mention the variety of zigzagging trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Sloan Canyon is known as the hidden gem of southern Nevada, the focal point is the Petroglyph Site with 318 rock art panels and 1,700 individual design elements from ancient cultures. According to Friends of Sloan Canyon, a non-profit organization that aims to protect and conserve, the archaeology of Sloan Canyon documents the presence of Puebloan, Patayan, and Southern Paiute peoples among others.
Making your way to the Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs trail must be done by foot. Jim Stanger, president of Friends of Sloan Canyon, says there are plans to build an access road closer to the trail head by next year, which would cut the round trip down from around 10-12 miles to just 3-4, and make the site at least partially accessible by vehicle.
But for now, here is how to check it out for yourself, with directions courtesy of Friends of Sloan Canyon. Visit their website for more information and the BLM site.
Sloan Canyon Trailhead
Hike: BLM 100 Trail – Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs
In a high clearance 4-wheel vehicle:
From I-15 South: Take exit 25 (Sloan Exit) and make a left. Turn left at the stop sign at Las Vegas Blvd. Travel north on the Blvd. for about 0.01 miles. Turn (east) right on a dirt road. This road will turn into a power line road. At about 3.9 miles you will see power pole 12084. Just after that you will see a road on the right. Follow this road to the rock barrier.
In a low clearance vehicle:
From 215 Beltway: Exit Eastern Ave and head south. Enter Anthem and make a right into Sun City Anthem Drive Make a right onto Bicentennial Pkwy then left on Anthem Highlands Drive and right onto Democracy Drive.
Jim Stanger says anyone who visits Sloan Canyon should have an open mind. “From far away the desert looks like a plain wasteland, but when you get close the character changes greatly— you see it in a different light.”
Things to keep in mind:
- Pets are not allowed in the petroglyph site and must be leashed when hiking in the surrounding area
- Reschedule your hike if rain is in the forecast
- There are no facilities for gasoline, sanitation, or potable water in Sloan Canyon NCA
- Bring plenty of water and sun protection
- Stay on designated roads and trails
- Check on fire restrictions
- Leave no trace; take your trash with you
- Most importantly: respect the rock art