Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument
Friday & Saturday, September 4-5, 2020
Once I left the White Mountains behind, it was time to visit a few rock art sites in the Basin and Range National Monument as I drove back home across the Great Basin. After stopping in Tonopah for gas and food I continued east on US Route 6 for a little while until I reached Warm Springs and then turned off onto the Extraterrestrial Highway. If you want to drive a lonely highway, then this is probably the one for you! I didn’t even have cell phone signal for almost the entire stretch! I made my way south past the Nellis Air Force Range and through through the tiny town of Rachel on my way to Crystal Springs in the Pahranagat Valley. By the time I drove up the Logan Canyon Road into the Irish Mountain Range it was already getting pretty dark out and I found a spot to spend the night just below Logan Pass. The temperature was heating up in the desert again with another heat wave spreading across the southwest, so it didn’t cool off very quickly, even at 7,000 feet at night.
Welcome to the Extraterrestrial Highway!
Kicking up dust as I drove out of the Pahranagat Valley and into the Mount Irish Range at sunset.
The colorful end of another day in the Great Basin.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove down the road a little ways so I could explore some of the petroglyphs at the Mount Irish Petroglyph Site at sunrise. I was going to try to visit as many sites in the area as I could this morning before it heated up outside. I started out at my day the Shaman Knob site and watched the sun come up over the Hiko Range on the other side of the Pahranagat Valley. The light was very orange from the smoke in the air which looked nice on the sandstone and petroglyphs.
Shaman Knob Sunrise
A closer look at the petroglyphs from the previous photo.
The Pahranagat Man at the Shaman Hill site.
Sandstone at Sunrise
Sheep petroglyphs in the shadows.
Mount Irish Petroglyph Site Sign
Paiute Rocks Petroglyphs
Mount Irish (8,743)
Monolith Echo Panel
When I had visited the main sites along the road near Mount Irish, I headed back down to the highway and made my way over to the White River Narrows. It was starting to get pretty warm out already…
Driving through the White River Narrows.
Narrows II Panel
This large and amazing petroglyph panel is one I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and it was mighty impressive in person!
A closer look at the left side.
Now the right side.
There were a couple of other panels nearby, too.
These petroglyphs hidden around the corner were some of my favorites.
White River Designs
Before leaving the area I found one more very large wall covered with petroglyphs.
Every area needs a ‘Newspaper Rock’. Maybe this is the Newspaper Rock of the Basin and Range National Monument?
Leaving the Basin and Range National Monument as I started my drive back home. I will definitely be returning in the future during a cooler part of the year!
I had originally planned to spend the rest of the weekend visiting rock art sites in eastern Nevada and western Utah, but with the high temperatures in the area I thought it would be better for me to come back during a cooler time of the year when I could spend all day exploring the backcountry. So instead I decided it was time to head home early so I could relax for the rest of the holiday weekend. Instead of heading north to US Route 6 again, I headed east on the Great Basin Highway through Caliente to Panaca and then Cedar City where I got back on I-70 for the rest of the drive home. Even though I was cutting the trip a little short, I had a really nice time exploring the Great Basin and can’t wait to return!
Randy do you record your routes using any devices? if so, can you forward the .gpx file? That looks like a great bikepacking trip! How many miles?
I usually record my hiking routes on a GPS, but since these were all just short walks from the road I didn’t save any tracks.
Enjoyed all of your Great Basin trip reports! It’s going to be tough on us once you start heading to the Colorado Plateau for your adventures, as it looks almost certain that we will not be able to head south from Canada for our own annual desert trip this year. But- still looking forward to seeing things through your eyes.