Grimes Point Archaeological Area ~ Nevada

Grimes Point Archaeological Area ~ Nevada

The American west most definitely is a haven for native heritage tourism.  Visitors from around the globe are fascinated by the artifacts that ancient native civilizations left behind.  There are a lot of mysteries and unanswered questions associated with western archaeological sites that naturally intrigue those who take an interest in this field.  There also is a lot of controversy involved with the western archaeological sites and this appeals to free thinkers that know the information in history books is often tainted.  All it takes is one trip to an ancient site to get the thought process started and after the visit is over it is easy ponder over the significance for many years to come.  

The Grimes Point Archaeological Area is located on U.S. Highway 50 near Fallon, Nevada.  This location is next to several secret military bases, weapons depots and training facilities, so there are a few things to keep in mind when planning a tour.  When in this region, it pays to be careful where you point the camera, especially if you use a big telephoto lens.  This is a high security area, so those who intentionally take pictures of military facilities or special operations training may be subject to search and seizure laws, especially during times of high terrorism alerts and war.  Basically, if you take pictures of things that you are not supposed to take pictures of in this region, the military police will confiscate the camera or demand that the photos be deleted.  With this in mind, it is highly suggested that a visitor should only point the camera at the tourist attractions, which in this case is the Grimes Point Archaeological Area and not the Fallon military training center!

The Bureau Of Land Management operates the Grimes Point Archaeological Area and this is a registered historic site.  Vandalism and looting have always been a problem at ancient sites in the west and the penalties for these crimes are severe enough to leave a perpetrator in debt for a lifetime.  With all the high tech military security surveillance in this region, a criminal would have to be crazy to vandalize Grimes Point and it goes without saying that there is no place to hide in this vast desert expanse.  Nearly every American security satellite and every foreign spy satellite is fixed on studying military secrets in this region, so one might say that Grimes Point is one of the most highly monitored archaeological sites in the world.

The facilities at Grimes Point are modern and there are shaded picnic areas for those who want to make a day of the visit.  The short hiking trails are easy to navigate and the cinder foot trails are smooth enough for those who have mobility challenges.  There are kiosks and signs along the trail that provide valuable information about the history of this ancient site.  While enjoying the clean fresh air and sunny blue skies of the Great Basin Desert, there really is not much to worry about at Grimes Point other than to stay hydrated.  When the extreme heat of summer reaches a peak, the best time to visit is early in the day when the morning sunlight illuminates the desert varnish coated rocks.

Archaeological timelines in the western hemisphere have been shaded by global institutions in the past, so one must use their own judgment when figuring out just how old these places really are.  Grimes Point is located on what would have been beachfront property by Lake Lahontan in ancient times.  Man made pits were discovered in the lakeside rock outcrops, so the timeline of humanity in this area dates back much further than what most institutional representatives are willing to admit.  A mummy and other artifacts found in a nearby cave date back about 11,000 years, so it is easy to see that Grimes Point has been a place of native cultural importance for a very long time.  

The Petroglyph Trail is the one to look for and this path winds its way through a maze of ancient rock artwork at Grimes Point.  The ancient petroglyphs are the main attraction and they are some of the oldest in the entire west.  Apparently, the wider the carved lines are in the rock art, the older the petroglyph is.  As one can see in the photos, the carved lines in the rocks are not exactly tight and narrow, like with newer petroglyphs that were carved less than 1,000 years ago in the Four Corners region.  The Grimes Point Petroglyphs are from an age long before the ancient Puebloan and Chaco civilizations came to be.  

Grimes Point has one of the highest concentrations of ancient petroglyphs in the entire west and this is what makes this destination so special.  When viewing the petroglyphs at Grimes Point while looking at the surrounding landscape, it is difficult to figure out why this location was chosen by people in ancient times.  It is even more difficult to decipher the meaning of each work of carved rock art.  Clearing the mind by abandoning any preconceived notions seems to be the best way to interpret the meaning of each of the petroglyphs, which were actually read like newspapers that were written long ago.  In fact, many native people still refer to petroglyphs as “Newspaper Rock” to this day.

The Grimes Point Archaeological Area certainly is a place where visitors can spend hours meditating upon the knowledge passed on by ancient cultures.  After visiting such a place, one will find themselves immersed in thoughts about how these petroglyphs fit into the puzzle of the ancient past.  Grimes Point is a Great Basin Desert destination awaits to be discovered by the archaeologist in us all!                                           


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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