Gila Bend in 100° anyone?

So we went to a little fork in the road called Gila Bend. We didn’t go to see the town. We went to see what was beyond the town. There is a place that was along the Anza Trail, called Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. It was interesting to say the least. I have seen petroglyphs before and they are always a really cool thing to see.

When you’re on the rez and the GPS says it will take you 1 hr. and 48 min. to go 28 mi. do you keep going forward or turn around?

We go forward. But I don’t always suggest this as reservation roads can be very dangerous at times. (Flashback to last fall when I drove around unmarked roads on the Navajo Reservation near the Grand Canyon. Not doing that again.) This is paved all the way and managed by MCDOT so I was very comfortable.


This particular petroglyph site is going on my list of favorites for a few reasons.

When graffiti was a good thing.

Number one, the drawings are so well preserved. There is no guessing on most of the carvings what the original picture is. The rock is black on the outside and tan where it has been scraped away so the contrast is stark.

Another thing I really like about this site is that you can get so close to the rocks. You are not supposed to climb them and there is a fine for doing so but you can get right up to them and that makes a difference in experiencing the place. You are walking where the trail blazers and Ancient Sonoran Desert People walked.

There are many drawings of animals and water. Hmmmmm, we didn’t see any of that.
Created for this environment.

Even though you see drawings of water and wildlife you wan’t see much of it while you are at the site. We saw lizards and one snake. The water is now behind a dam that you can travel about 20 minutes to on an almost empty road. In fact this entire area once you turn onto Painted Rock Dam Road is a great place to get away from civilization.

There are quite a few drawings of scorpions on these rocks. That tells me something.

This is also a campsite with ramadas, tables, fire pits, and toilets. However there is NO WATER. BYOW or DIE!

We actually got to see the site twice that day. We left our picnic cooler there and realized when we got back to town. Yup, another scenic drive was in order.

This time we stopped to look at the birds. WATCH OUT! We were just a few feet away from three giant condors when we realized they were in front of us and we accidentally scared them away before I could get their picture.

For some reason Gila Bend has dinosaurs in random places. So we stopped to see them as well.

Respite from the searing sun.
Gila Bend would not be complete without a Gila Monster. BTW I have lived in AZ all of my life and have only seen them in captivity at museums. I was hoping to scout a real one on our trip.

Never Forget

There is a memorial park with a piece of the Trade Center. It’s on the main road.

I must admit, one thing my family has always enjoyed when going through small towns in going to parks that would never exist in a bigger town. We love them and can’t resist playing on them. They are strange, dangerous, and usually come with a searing hot metal slide.

And now some black and whites because I just gotta.

Gila Bend has a few more things to see like a space themed restaurant, an old water tower, and a huge solar power plant.

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