Desert National Wildlife Range 21

aka Joe May Canyon


Southern Nevada Rock Art Sites

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The Southwest, including Southern Nevada, has a significant amount of Native American Petroglyph / Rock Art Sites. Our web site will concentrate on the rock art of Southern Nevada which extends back over 1500 years, and was typically created by either the Paiute, Shoshone, Chemehuevi, or the Anasazi people.


Preservation through Education


We believe that rock art on public lands does not - and should not - belong to just a few select people or groups.  However, due to the fragile nature of many rock art sites, it is not realistic to have a large number of people visiting most of them. What we are attempting to do with our website is to provide visual access where those with the interest or the curiosity can go to see and appreciate a small piece of Native American history. Our beliefs are that by educating people to the historical significance of the rock art, people will be more inclined to respect, and preserve, the sites for the enjoyment of everyone for a long, long time.

Desert National Wildlife Range 21

aka Joe May Canyon


DNWR 21 Joe May Canyon:
Before the road was closed, you could drive the entire length of the canyon a distance of about 3.5 miles, passing by several Native American roasting pits and a mine or two. You can still hike the canyon, but it will be a 7 - 9 mile round trip hike.


There are some great websites dealing with Joe May Canyon such as , but I also recommend using Google Earth to locate some of the large roasting pits and a guzzler. I use Google Earth as part of my pre-planning for all hikes, and once again it has paid off by helping me to locate several of the larger Agave Roasting Pits in the area. There are a couple of smaller roasting pits next to the road, but there is a beautiful double roasting pit approximately a ½ mile hike from the entrance of the canyon and this pit is clearly visible on Google Earth.


Another mile or so up the canyon from the double pit is the guzzler and depending on the time of day that you are there, the guzzler can be a great place to bird and critter watch. In the middle of the wash and slightly north of the guzzler is another huge roasting pit. This pit looks like a big white donut on Google Earth. Depending on your route it is approximately a 3 - 4 mile round trip hike to this pit. With the elevation gain and the heat during the summer months, this can be a very long 4 miles.


On this trip we also came across an open mine, which we thought might have been the Joe May Mine. The Joe May operated in the early ‘30s mining lead, zinc, and silver. We found a lot of old rusty cans around the area of the mine, but nothing that looked like it was from the 1930’s which means we may have found somebody else’s mine.


Click on the image below to enlarge