Utah Rock Art Research Association


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April Field Trip Coso range

  • 07 Apr 2017
  • 8:00 AM
  • 10 Apr 2017
  • Ridgecrest, CA
  • 0


  • Field Trip

Registration is closed

Alan Gold will join us and share his extensive knowledge of the area as we visit areas under his guidance. The California rock art group will helps us with lodging and places to camp. 

More information will be given when you've signed up.

Here is what I am trying to arrange: we visit Tomo-Kahni State Park either Friday, April 7 or Monday April 10 depending on when and if I can gain access. Little Lake April 8, and Little Pet Canyon April 9. The dates we visit each site may switch, but these are the sites we are trying to visit. I am still waiting for confirmation from Little Lake and we have to submit paperwork to Little Pet Canyon to gain base clearance and reserve our date.

We are offering this tour to the URARA at the discounted price of $50 per person. Maximum of 19 people. No one under the age of 10. No pets.

Registrants will have to work out their own food and lodgings - and they may want to wait to make any committed reservations until I have confirmed which site we will be at each day - which I hope to do by the second week of March.

I've attached a map of the areas I am talking about.

For us to go to Little Pet, each person will need to complete and submit the attached base access form to me preferably no later than March 12, or sooner if possible. The forms MUST be complete, include the person's Social Security Number and ID/Drivers License number, and be hand-signed (no electronic signatures / passport #'s are not needed); this information will be kept confidential. The sooner we submit the forms to the base, the more likely we are to gain access. You may collect these and email them to me all at once, or have people email them directly to me.

Tomo- Kahni: We must have a guide from the parks, and we meet at 8:30am the Tehachapi Museum: 310 S Green St, Tehachapi, CA. (So you know, I haven't and probably won't tell them you are with the URARA to avoid them making the assumption that we are doing research and wanting all the associated paperwork.) After an orientation, participants must caravan approximately 12 miles to the park; carpooling is encouraged. The primary road to the park is paved, however the last mile to the park is on a dirt and gravel road and high clearance vehicles are recommended.

Tomo-Kahni has some spectacular pictographs and petroglyhs. It is undeveloped, with no historic or contemporary structures. The moderately strenuous 1.5 mile walking tour begins at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet and gains 800 feet in elevation. Parts of the trail are on uneven terrain. Participants should have the physical ability and stamina to make the hike as everyone must stay together. The complete tour, including orientation and driving time, takes about 4 hours. The tour is not recommended for children under 6.

Disabled access is not possible at this time.

Little Lake: The Little Lake area encompasses 5,000 acres and contains several petroglyphs and pictographs dating to around 10,000 years ago, as well as the Stahl site exhibiting evidence of the Pinto Basin tradition dating between 5,000 and 2,000 years ago. Much of the rock art is in the Coso tradition. There are images of atlatl, bear paws, projectile points, human and animal figures, and sheep. The lake is spring fed and formed about 5,000 years ago. There is a one million year old basalt flow along the eastern edge of the lake, and a prominent volcanic cinder cone to the north that formed about 10,000 years ago.

We normally meet at the gate entrance to Little Lake Ranch at 9:00 am. The entrance is located on Highway 395 and there is a small sign at the gate that says "Little Lake Ranch". There will be a waiver and some simple forms to complete upon our entrance. This trip normally ends about 3 or 4pm, but people may leave at any time.

The hiking will be minimal and not very strenuous; a walking stick may be useful. We should be able to drive from site to site on dirt roads; four-wheel drive is helpful but not necessary. Lowered vehicles are not recommended. Carpools will be worked out after we enter the property and before we start the tour. There is a picnic area with a bathroom where we will break for lunch.

It is possible that we may encounter various wildlife, including rattle snakes. Please be aware of your surroundings.

Little Pet Canyon: Only US Citizens are allowed. Pending base access, we will meet in the parking lot of the Ridgecrest Cinemas movie theater: 1631 Triangle Dr, Ridgecrest, CA. We normally meet at 7am. Before going into the base we will decide which cars will go in and who will ride with who. We'll probably finish our trip around 2 or 3 pm.

Visitors must be in good physical condition. The petroglyphs are in a desert mountain canyon. The ground is uneven sand and rock and temperatures are extremely variable. All participants must be prepared for a 2-3 mile hike over very uneven terrain that can be challenging.

Your equipment, food and water must be on your person once we enter the canyon. At least 2 liters of water per person is essential as the desert sun dries you out quickly. Be certain to bring enough water, snacks, and a lunch.

Dress appropriately. No open-toed shoes; only sturdy hiking boots or athletic shoes that completely cover the foot and have an aggressive tread will be allowed on this trip. Base personnel will turn you back if you have light shoes, mesh, smooth soles, or sandals, etc. Walking sticks MUST have rubber tips.

All must have proof of citizenship and drivers (only) must have up to date license, valid registration and proof of insurance. Your vehicle will be inspected on the base.

Cameras, cell phones, and binoculars must be completely turned off and stowed during the drive to the canyon. Only after arriving in the canyon area can they be unpacked. Cell phones used as cameras can only be turned on once in the canyon.

Firearms, alcohol, glass containers, and drugs will not be allowed.

The drive to the canyon is 45 miles one way with all but 5 miles on graded dirt. Have a full tank of gas and be prepared to consolidate passengers as only five vehicles for participants and two for escorts are allowed.

There are lot of rules and requirements but this is a military base and federal (not state) law applies. We will move as a group and stay within site of each other. This is a sacred site to Native Americans so please no trash, smoking material, or human waste can be left in the canyon. There are two facilities, one at the gate and one in the Little Pet parking lot that are available. If you absolutely must go, an escort will take you back to the facility.

Of all the rules shown above, inappropriate footwear and outdated driver's documents will get you sent back by base personnel, so please pay attention and ask if there are any questions.

There are a few motels/hotels in Tehachapi, but there are more in Ridgecrest. There is also camping available at Red Rock Canyon State Park, in between Tehachapi and Ridgecrest. Simple and inexpensive camping sites are also available at Fossil Falls which is about 15 minutes north of Ridgecrest and about 15 minutes south of Little Lake. Any of these would be good options. It takes about 1.25 hours to drive from Tehachapi to Ridgecrest.

Vehicles don't matter so much, higher clearance and/or four wheel drive are good, but not necessary.

Each day, everyone will need and/or may want to bring: water, lunch and snacks, hat, jacket/rain jacket, good hiking shoes, a cell phone, sunscreen, lip balm, allergy medications, camera - telephoto lens, binoculars, sketchbook, and a notebook.


P.O. Box 511324, Salt Lake City, Utah 84151-1324 

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