Shavano Valley Petroglyphs—a Rock Art Adventure

PetroglyphsA Must See in Montrose, CO!

Take a journey through the sacred Shavano Valley Petroglyphs site to explore iconography dating back to 1,000 BC. A true attraction for Montrose, Colorado, the docent-led Shavano Valley Petroglyph tour is a must-see for everyone.


Tunnel Cave

The Tunnel Cave

History of Shavano Valley

The area has long attracted hunters and gathers to its natural artesian spring located at the base of the site just 5.5 miles west of Montrose. It was the crossroads for the Ute Indians and one of many ceremonial grounds for the Bear Dance—a dance celebrating the arrival of spring.

What to See

This petroglyph site has everything from the “tunnel cave”, farm depictions, to a map believed to depict the Shavano Valley.

The iconography (AKA rock art) is well-preserved and very respected in the Montrose community—probably some of the best we have seen in Western Colorado.

The trail is less than a half-mile long. Nonetheless, expect to spend a minimum of two hours here to fully examine the site.

Believed to be a Petroglyph Map of Shavano Valley

Believed Petroglyph Map of Shavano Valley


There are plenty of chipmunks, lizards, and squirrels to snap photos of, but what is most impressive are the picturesque Prickly Pear and Hedgehog cactuses. Explore this site near the end of summer to traverse through some of the most amazing patches of blooming cactuses in Western Colorado.

Trail Guide 001How to Get There


The Shavano Valley Petroglyph site is led by a group of volunteers organized through the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, Colorado. The actual site is protected by a secure fence.

For access call the museum a few days before, request a list of current guides, call a guide of your choice and meet at a pre-determined location. Guides are very appreciative of tips.

For more information pick up one of Carol Patterson’s Shavano Valley Petroglyphs Trail Guides at the Ute Indian Museum, or call (970) 249-3098.

Categories: All, Colorado, Hiking, Iconography (Rock Art), Michael J. Shull, Western Slope | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Shavano Valley Petroglyphs—a Rock Art Adventure

  1. Rock art is one of the most ancient forms of drawing. I have never seen a rock art but I would love to check it out someday. Thank you very much for sharing this informative blog post with us Michael. I learned a lot about Shavano Valley!


  2. Thanks Geeta. I have Carol Patterson to thank for authoring such a complete guide. This was the most informative petroglyph tour that my wife and I have been to.

    You might like to follow the petroglyph section. We plan to add another short hike north of Delta, CO. soon.


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