The red and white sandstone hills that make up the desert landscape of Gold Butte are filled with thousands of rock engravings. These petroglyphs or rock engravings were carved by a people who inhabited this area long ago. The Luke Whitney Petroglyphs is an area that contains many of these petroglyphs. These petroglyphs are one set of rock art that is a must see if you are in the Gold Butte area.
The Luke Whitney Petroglyphs are truly amazing. There is one particular set of petroglyphs found at Luke Whitney that has taken on the name of News Paper Rock. News Paper Rock is a sheer red sandstone outcropping packed with these ancient people’s carvings. Many of the flat faced sandstone surfaces in the Luke Whitney Petroglyphs area are covered with a similar style of petroglyphs.
The sandstone outcroppings found in the Luke Whitney Petroglyphs area are brilliantly painted with the deserts rich colors. If you are willing to get out and hike a little through the slots, canyons, hills and cliffs in this area you will be treated to some of the greatest petroglyphs in this part of the country.
The Luke Whitney Petroglyphs can be found just 25 miles off of I-15. The last two miles is a dirt road that turns off of the Gold Butte Road. The road is rough and a high clearance vehicle is a must but in good weather conditions a four-wheel drive would not be needed. There is no sign marking the turn off but when you see the first big outcropping of red sandstone start looking for a dirt road that turns off on your right.
Please when visiting this back country be smart and use your head. Don’t put yourself in a situation where bad weather or some other mishap like a flat tire or vehicle problems will leave you stranded and in trouble. This is rough country and you should come prepared. The best time to visit is in the spring and winter. As an understatement the summers are hot and dry.
Please have respect for our country’s heritage. Stay on existing trails and do not deface or damage the petroglyphs in any way. The way we keep our back country open to enjoy is to respect and help protect what is our greatest treasure, our public lands.