Carrizo Plain National Monument Tours, CA
Soda Lake / Painted Rock TourHistoric Tour
4 hr. 00 min.
The Painted Rock pictograph site on the Carrizo Plain is recognized internationally as among the best examples of rock art in the world. It is visually stunning but also imbued with meaning and spiritual values still held by contemporary Native American people. When visiting this site, special care is necessary to insure the preservation of the rock paintings and in order to maintain respect for the sacred setting. We hope that you will have an opportunity to experience this special place. Please help us preserve and protect Painted Rock for the benefit of future generations through your stewardship.
By booking this tour you agree to follow the above rules and enforce these restrictions on all members of your party.
- Painted Rock has sustained much damage due to vandalism and weathering during the last century. Please help us preserve what remains of the pictographs at this significant site.
- Stay on the central dirt footpath within the alcove.
- Above all, don't touch the rock surface anywhere at the site, even those areas where there are no visible paintings. The sandstone is extremely fragile, and contact with the surface may damage the mineral crust that protects the paintings and the rock surface from erosion.
- Don't mark the rock surface anywhere at the site with scratching, drawing, painting, etc.
- Don't climb or walk on any of the rock surfaces. These areas may contain paintings and this contact also damages the sandstone.
- Several species of birds nest and roost on the rock, both within the alcove and around the exterior. Please maintain a peaceful setting for their well being.
- Don't move, stack or rearrange stones at the site.
- Don't place stones or offerings within the cracks or ledges of the sandstone outcrop anywhere at the site.
- Don't place caches at or around the site.
- Please respect closure notices. Due to nesting birds or other sensitive resource concerns, all or portions of the site may be sometimes closed. This site is under surveillance by BLM law enforcement personnel and unauthorized entry will be prosecuted under Federal regulations 43 CFR 8364.1 (d).
- Cultural sites on Federal lands like Painted Rock are all legally protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Violation could result in fines and imprisonment.
The tour begins at the Soda Lake Overlook. After an introduction and brief history, the group will explore Soda Lake and the Carrizo Plain's plant communities.
Following this, the group caravans to the Painted Rock parking lot for lunch (Participants provide own sack lunch). After lunch, the group hikes approximately 2/3 mile to Painted Rock. Although the path does not have a significant change in elevation, it is not handicapped accessible. Time spent within the Painted Rock alcove may be limited to protect prairie falcons or other nesting birds. The tour then returns and ends at the Goodwin Education Center.
Soda Lake / Painted Rock Tour is offered on Saturdays from the Third Saturday in March to the Last Saturday in May (Tours may be cancelled due to rainy weather and impassibe roads).
- Duration: 4 hr. 00 min.
- Distance: 3 miles
- Accessible: No
- Effort: Moderate
Know Before You Go
Wear sturdy shoes for hiking. Bring lunch and plenty of water. Carpool whenever possible. Be prepared for intense heat and sun; bring a hat and sunscreen.
There is a possibility of muddy roads and changeable weather.
Pets are not allowed at Painted Rock.
Rattlesnakes are commonly seen on the trail and at Painted Rock.
- Dont deface cultural sites by carving, painting, drawing or shooting.
- Dont dig or otherwise disturb the ground surface in or near cultural sites.
- Dont touch or climb sandstone outcrops, many of which contain cultural features. Contact with the sandstone damages the mineral crust which protects the stone from erosion.
- Dont move, remove or arrange stones, wood or other features. The precise original location of objects is important to our understanding of their significance.
- Dont damage historical buildings and objects by climbing or entering them.
- Dont disturb nesting birds, bats or other wildlife.
- Dont place caches in or near cultural sites.
- Please respect closure orders. These areas are closed to protect exceptionally sensitive cultural and natural resources. Unauthorized entry will be prosecuted under Federal regulations 43 CFR 8364.1 (d).
- Cultural sites on Federal lands are legally protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and violation could result in fines and imprisonment.
- Please assist us in protecting these often fragile and vulnerable places by being good stewards of your public lands.
There are ADA accesabile restrooms at each trailhead but the trails themselves are not ADA accessable
There are ADA accesabile restrooms at each trailhead and picnic tables at the Painted Rock Trailhead for lunch. No Trash service is available so be prepared to pack out your own garbage. There is no water available, bring your own.
From Hwy 58 turn South on Soda Lake road and travel 13 miles to the Soda Lake Overlook. Park at the Soda Lake Overlook / Trailhead area. From Hwy 166 turn north on Soda Lake Dr and Travel 37 miles until you reach the Soda Lake Overlook. Park at the Soda Lake Overlook / Trailhead area.
Important Information: Tour dates earlier than the reservation are not available at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Also, there are no first-come first-served tours available at Carrizo Plain National Monument. All tour reservation must be booked through www.recreation.gov.
Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.