Freightwagon Petroglyphs

It is a long and lonely walk into the wilderness of the Mojave Desert to get to this isolated petroglyph site. Hidden in the Cinder Cone Lava Beds of California's Mojave Preserve, the Freightwagon site contains a remarkable concentration of rock art. Most of the few hundred petroglyphs here are of abstract design, but a few are of figures and war shields. In a couple of places, you can see what appears to be a crying face and masks. You have to look carefully to find them.

The site was called "Freightwagon" because when it was discovered in 1977, there was a "wagon full" of artifacts lying around. It was a remarkable and surprising find. Pottery, tools, metates, and projectile points were everywhere, as if people who lived there just got up, walked away, and never returned.

Once the site became known, almost everything was looted. Today, you would be lucky if you found a single piece of pottery left behind. Please leave only footprints and take only photographs.

The petroglyphs at Freightwagon reflect both the Western Archaic and Grapevine rock art traditions common in the eastern Mojave.

My photos are from visits in 2015 and 2023.