Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground
Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site & Campground

The Painted Rock Petroglyph Site & Campground is located 90 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. It provides visitors the opportunity to view an ancient archaeological site.

Lon / Lat: 33.02437, -113.04543
Address: 46101 Rocky Point Rd.
Gila Bend, AZ 85337
Phone: (623) 580-5500
Operated By: Bureau of Land Management
Fees: $ 8:00 camping fee
Self Pay Station: Yes

Reservations: Yes
Area Amenities: Tent camping, Camping trailer, Picnic tables, Toilets, Parking
Restrictions: Do not destroy, deface or take archeological artifacts
Water: No Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet

The Campground Facilities

The campground offers visitors 59 individual campsites and two large group sites featuring picnic tables and steel fire rings. There is no water or electric hookups at the campground, but there are two vault toilets and trash collection. The neighboring day-use site has two shaded picnic areas with tables and charcoal grills.

  • Painted Rock Petroglyph Site Information Placard
  • Painted Rock Petroglyph Site Information Shaded Picnic Tables
  • Painted Rock Petroglyph Site Information Vaulted Restrooms

Natural Features

Set between impressive geologic features such as Oatman Mountain, a few miles to the northwest and the Painted Rock Mountains, situated on the eastern horizon, this campground offers scenic panoramic views and plenty of opportunities for solitude and vast night skies.

The surrounding area features a diverse Sonoran Desert plant community including the iconic saguaro cactus, various cholla species, barrel cactus, creosote bush, and both ironwood and palo verde trees. The area is home to a large population of desert mule deer and many other desert species such as kit fox, Gambel’s quail, chuckwalla, and desert iguana.

Archeological Site

The site contains hundreds of symbolic and artistic rock etchings, or “petroglyphs” that were produced centuries ago by prehistoric peoples. There are also inscriptions made by others who passed through during historic times.

Many well-known events in Arizona history occurred near the Petroglyph Site, including the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza that founded San Francisco, the Mormon Battalion, and the Butterfield Overland Mail.

Formerly a unit of the Arizona State Park system, the jurisdiction of Painted Rock Petroglyph Site reverted to the Bureau of Land Management in 1989.

Nearby Attractions

Woolsey Peak Wilderness

Woolsey Peak Wilderness offers rugged topography, colorful scenic vistas, a rich variety of wildlife and vegetation, and outstanding opportunities for solitude and unconfined recreation.

Woolsey Peak stands 3,270 feet above sea level and about 2,500 feet above the Gila River (to the south). It is a landmark visible from much of southwestern Arizona.

The Painted Rock Dam flood-control dam is situated on the Gila River not far from the southwestern corner of the area. Encompassing a major portion of the Gila Bend Mountains, it is barely separated from the smaller Signal Mountain Wilderness to the north.

You will find sloping lava flows, basalt mesas, ragged peaks, and broken ridges dotted with saguaro, cholla, palo verde , creosote, and bursage. Desert mesquite, paloverde, and ironwood grow in the washes throughout this rugged and expansive desert wilderness.

The region is especially inviting for its desert backpacking. Desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, hawks, and owls might make an appearance.

Signal Mountain Wilderness

A narrow, four-wheel-drive road is all that separates Signal Mountain Wilderness from Woolsey Peak Wilderness to the south.

Signal Mountain itself, rising just north of the center of the area, reaches a summit of 2,182 feet (1,200 feet above the surrounding desert floor). Here you will find sharp volcanic peaks, steep-walled canyons, rugged ridgelines, arroyos (slim, usually dry riverways), and plains spreading out from the washes.

Paloverde, saguaro, and creosote are scattered throughout the bajadas and upland regions. Washes are lined with mesquite, ironwood, acacia, and palo verde.

Wildlife watchers may see desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and several species of raptors. Wildlife game species are common, and quail and mule deer hunters are frequent visitors. 

Ships Captain The Dread Pirate Dave

David is the Editor in Chief of Postcards From the Edge. I was born on a cold November morning on the showy plains of Colorado. Like my father, before me, I am an American Nomad.

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