Paiute Cave: 10,000 year old neon rainbows

Paiute Cave — the most awesome cave art I’ve ever seen.

A couple days ago I stumbled on a blog (ironically trying to find directions to another set of petroglyphs called The Notch — which we never found). The writer posted pictures that I couldn’t truly believe! Brilliant, neon pictographs — and close to home! Wha? How hadn’t I heard of these?

Of course this got my wheels spinning… but I wasn’t sure I could convince the fam to go and find these, especially after the last wild goose chase. But thankfully my hubs loves an adventure.. and we were able to bribe the kids with caves… and treasure… and candy etc etc.

The first few hours we blindly drove down any possible road that “could be” the cave site. We had very spotty directions and new the general vicinity (we thought….) After the first few roads yielded nuthin.. we decided to head towards the Nampaweap petroglyph site (which we had a map for and were pretty confident we could find). The Nampaweap site is one of the largest known rock art sites on the Arizona Strip.

After a short hike (about .75 mile) we found the petroglyphs. They are carved into lava rocks and there are literally hundreds! It was really cool!

Nampaweap petroglyphs

I love rock art. It’s one of my favorite things about living here!

JJ and baby creeper try to decipher the rock

Wish I knew what this all means!

Mackie is da BEST boy when hiking (without Gandalf, obvs)

Ok — so now onto the cave. Would we find it? I was starting to lose hope. And the kids were getting really impatient. We tried another route and it was a bust. We were about to give up. And then…

Steve decided to stop and check out a roadside map/kiosk at Mt. Trumbull Road. And on a whim, we thought we’d try another route that looked promising. 

After about 8 miles we saw our first clue — a shack. The shack (on rt. 5 heading towards Colorado City) was our identifier. Here we would turn right… and head just over a mile and park. There were no signs. No other signs of anything AMAZING. But, at last… we found our spot. 


Check this OUT! seriously awesome.

The colors are so vibrant because they are protected from the elements (and vandals) in the cave.


Cool panel of glowing people and snakes and things

Mackie is seriously the best hiking friend. He loves to explore as much as I do!

Family snapshot

Owning it

Me and my besties

Seriously analyzing … like……….. what does this all mean?

I love.

The neatest part of this cave is that it is so remote… and you can’t “see” it from any road. It’s hidden. And it’s awesome. It’s an ice cave and a lava tube. So it’s very cold inside. And filled with lava rocks. I can only wonder what else is out there — left to be discovered. I can’t wait to find out 🙂

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