Atlatl Rock gets its name from the "atlatl", an ancient weapon used to assist in throwing a small spear (dart) for greater force and range. It was usually made of wood, about 2' long with a hand hold at one end and a notch or hook at the other end.
Atlatl Rock itself is a large boulder sitting atop a sandstone outcrop. A metal staircase has been erected by the park service to give visitors a better view of the petroglyphs without having to climb up the face of the rock. One of the petroglyph symbols that you will see will be the "Atlatl" which is pictured.
After coming back down the stairs, if you have time walk around the base of the rock to the back side of Atlatl Rock. The best way is to start from the staircase and go clockwise around the base and end up back at the parking area. As you hike around the rock, you will see additional petroglyphs that most people will miss. See Atlatl Rock 2, 3, and 5
Important: By going around the backside of Atlatl Rock you are going off-trail and will be in loose soft sand. Depending on the route you take and if you go all the way around, you will do a little boulder hopping so watch your pets and children closely, as there is a greater chance of encountering an unwanted critter or two.
When hiking around Atlatl Rock, you will get up close and personal with the rock art, so please be respectful of the area and do not allow children and pets to climb on or touch the rock art that you see.