Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground
Guide

Introduction

Ready for your next great outdoor adventure? Consider a trip to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. It's a wonderful place to reconnect with some of America's rich history on an RV holiday you'll not soon forget.

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground, a BLM-managed property found near to Phoenix, Arizona, is a popular spot for families looking to enjoy an RV vacation in the heart of the desert. This beautiful recreational area affords visitors the luxury of RV camping on the same grounds as many important archaeological artifacts dating back several centuries. The petroglyphs are essentially pieces of rock art with interesting etchings of symbolic importance.

Also housed on the grounds are several hiking trails that trace through areas of great historical significance including the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, the Butterfield Overland Stage Route, and the Mormon Battalion Trail. Found on along each of these trails are signs providing interesting facts about the region and its importance in local history.
Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground is on the National Register of Historic Places, a title bestowed upon it in 1977. In 1989, the region was also declared a Bureau of Land Management property.

Nestled within the Painted Rock Mountains, this popular attraction and campground's nearest town is Gila Bend, a small city that boasts of a number of interesting places for families to visit. There is a camping facility found on the premises and several also located in neighboring towns that offer RV and tent accommodations for families looking for a place to bunk for the night. Due to the amenable climates in the region, camping is permitted year-round at Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground.

For a wonderful vacation in the midst of one of the Arizona desert, plan a trip to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. It's a wonderful place for your next RV getaway!

RV Rentals in Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

Transportation

Driving

Travel to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground proceeds along a paved highway of two-lane construction. The route cuts through a section of flat desert terrain.

To reach the site and campground, follow Interstate 8 to Painted Rock Dam Road at Exit 102. This path will lead travelers to Rocky Point Road. Rocky Point Road is located within walking distance of the petroglyph site and campground. Travelers are advised to use one of the provided parking lots or to park within 30 feet of the highway and proceed the remainder of the way to the park on foot.

The path that leads from the highway to the petroglyph site is flat but sandy. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

Parking

The Bureau of Land Management has ensured there are several paved parking lots scattered throughout the grounds where families can safely leave their vehicles during a visit to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. Alternatively, travelers can park their cars within 30 feet of Rocky Point Road and travel the remainder of the distance to the park on foot.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground.

Campgrounds and parking in Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

Campsites in Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

Reservations camping

Gila Bend KOA Journey Campground

Gila Bend KOA Journey Campground is located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and offers RV and tent camping year-round by reservation only. A campground designed with RV campers in mind, this camping facility can easily accommodate larger RVs and trailers.

The on-site amenities include an outdoor pool, a playground, and a dog park. It is important to note that tenting and playground use are not permitted from June 15th through October 1st each year.

Other things found on the grounds include power hookups, Wifi, cable TV, a public kitchen, and a picnic pavilion.

Dogs are welcomed on the grounds but must remain leashed.

First-come first-served

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground offers overnight accommodations for tent campers year-round. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, the campsites at this facility are rather primitive, offering only a few amenities.

Each campsite is complete with a picnic table, a barbecue, and a fire pit for families to enjoy. There are also vault toilets found on the premises for the public to use.

Since there is no potable water on the premises, families must bring drinking water with them.

There are 80 campsites in total.

Though travelers can attempt to bring their vehicles directly to their campsite, they should be aware that they will need to travel over sand terrain to get to the heart of the campground. With this in mind, a 4WD vehicle is recommended.

Alternate camping

Saddle Mountain BLM Dispersed Camping

Saddle Mountain BLM Dispersed Camping is found near Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground in the neighboring town of Tonopah.

To reach the camping areas, families will need to follow one of the dirt roads which lead to the BLM property. There are several to choose from. A 4WD vehicle with high clearance is recommended for camping at this facility.

There are no amenities at this camping area, so families must be prepared for primitive conditions. However, the scenery is spectacular, and the hiking is some of the best in the region.

Saddle Mountains BLM Dispersed Camping is 30 minutes from the town of Buckeye where groceries, gas, and other pertinent items can be purchased.

Among the most popular attractions in the region include hiking, rockhounding, and photography.

Seasonal activities in Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground

In-Season

Sears Point

An area utilized as an early settlement since 500 A.D., Sears Point is a popular attraction for people looking to explore the rock art found within the region. The property houses several hundred examples of rock inscriptions situated near to the banks of the Gila River.

Today, many of the remnants of former civilizations can still be seen on the grounds. Though the petroglyphs are the primary focus at this historic site, there are many other topographical points of interest for families to enjoy including trails, a canal, interesting rock structures, and sleeping circles. The area once formed a part of a popular trade route.

Many varieties of wildlife make this area their home, making it an excellent spot for capturing some photos.

Gatlin Site

Though only open by reservation at this time, Gatlin Historical Site is definitely worth a stop when visiting Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. The property's artifacts were first discovered in 1959 when a dig was conducted on the premises as a preliminary precaution prior to the construction of the Painted Rocks Dam.

300 acres of property were discovered which once housed a civilization known for its achievements in agriculture, trade, and manufacturing. The area was once home to approximately 500 people.

A popular spot for the trade transactions of the Hohokam people in its day, the premises once contained two ball pits used for rituals and a platform for ceremony and important events.

Gatlin Historical Site has now been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Gila Bend Museum

Gila Bend Museum is a popular spot for families looking to learn more about the many attractions of the region. The property is home to a museum of 1200 square feet which proudly exhibits many pieces of memorabilia denoting the historical significance or the region. For those interested in learning about the famed "wild west," this is the place to learn!

A journey through the museum details the story of the Great Bend of the Gila River through several civilizations. There are also many artifacts from when the area was heavily in use for mining and ranching.

The on-site visitors center is staffed by knowledgeable employees who can provide maps, interesting facts, and recommendations of places to visit during a trip to Gila Bend.

Off-Season

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is one of the most frequently visited spots in the region. This important explorer was a pioneer that paved the way for a group of 240 men, women, and children to traverse a voyage of over 1200 miles in length in 1775-1776. Today, families can meander along the route which stretches from Nogales, Arizona to San Francisco Bay, enjoying the beauty of the region.

Along the way, there are recreational opportunities to enjoy as well as signs paying homage to the history of the land.

Good hiking shoes and lots of drinking water are a must for this trek.

Butterfield Overland Stage Route

Butterfield Overland Stage Route is a very interesting spot for families to explore when on an RV vacation to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground. Formerly an important route for a stagecoach that transported mail between St. Louis and San Francisco, Butterfield Overland Stage Route was in operation between the years of 1858 and 1861. The service worked cooperatively with the United States Postal Service to deliver packages and letters between these two large cities. Due to the shape of the route when viewed on a map, it soon became known as the "Oxbow Route."

Today, visitors can enjoy hiking a portion of this important mail route which now is a recreational path.

The Butterfield Overland Stage Route website shares many interesting facts about the stagecoaches and their operation when in use as a mail system.

Mormon Battalion Trail

The Mormon Battalion Trail consists of over 2500 miles of terrain in total. A historic pathway, this trail begins in Iowa and travels all the way to San Francisco, California.

Named for a group of U.S. soldiers, the Mormon Battalion was also a religious sect that is well-renowned for their famed lengthy infantry march, one of the largest in the country.

The group's assistance was requested to help settle the U.S.-Mexican War. To procure the services of 500 men, money was offered for their help at a time when it was greatly needed. The Mormon prophet Brigham Young gave his blessing, telling the soldiers that God revealed to him that though they must go as promised that they would not be required to fight once they reached the battleground.

An interesting spot to visit, there are several trailheads for families to explore. Bring along lots of drinking water to ensure hydration needs are met.