Rock Art Canyon Ranch in Arizona
In July 2020 we decided to take a roadtrip to Northern Arizona. We had been on Trip Advisor researching what else to do in the Holbrook area since we visited there to go to the Petrified Forest National Park. The other top thing to do was go to Rock Art Canyon Ranch. It seemed a bit off the beaten path, but the reviews raved about this place. So, we booked the tour.
Making our drive there from Holbrook was a bit eerie as we drove along dirt roads and passed cows and pastures. It was about a 40-minute drive to get to the ranch and we questioned whether we’d survive the drive in my little car – a truck would have been nice! PS - be sure to follow the texted directions, not GPS.
We finally arrived at the cattle ranch and were greeted by Penny – the friendliest dog. Penny became our buddy for the entire tour and was just the sweetest. The tour began with us getting to meet Brantley Baird – an 80+ year old cowboy. He chatted with us for a few minutes and welcomed us to the property. Then his granddaughter led the tour. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about everything! We got to hear lots of stories about their family, how the property was acquired, and how her grandfather fell in love with ancient pottery as a child. We first toured the museum and then afterwards, got into our cars to go to a few other stops.
We visited a site where University students led excavations. We visited a site with some Anasazi huts that are maintained by the locals. And then…the canyon. This is the highlight of the tour. It’s their private canyon that is absolutely incredible! Climb down some stairs and walk straight into history. You’ll see petroglyphs all around – the oldest documented petroglyphs ever! It’s stunning and so amazing to think back to how they scaled the rocks with ropes to hang from them and carve out this artwork.
There are over 3,000 petroglyphs here dated between 5000 BC and 1400 AD. Keep your eye out for their most famous petroglyphs: the birth scene, Cinderella, and kokopelli.
You can bring your swimsuit and dip into the water here if you’d like, but it’s not the clearest water. We enjoyed just walking through the water (wear water shoes) and keeping our eyes out for petroglyphs. Plan to spend at least an hour or two down in the canyon.
Follow along with our travels on Instagram
On your way out, don’t pass up your chance to use "the can"…maybe you’ll make a friend or two.
We’d rate this tour experience a 5/5 and a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a step back into history. You can get there from Holbrook or from Winslow, Arizona off Route 66. Tours run daily around 10am and last 3-4 hours total. They must be booked ahead of time.
Find a hotel near Holbrook or Winslow, Arizona!