Volcanic Tablelands: Searching for Petroglyphs
If you’ve got some time to kill in Bishop and climbing’s not really your thing, take a drive out into the Volcanic Tablelands and get lost. Well, not literally. The petroglyphs are no longer advertised due to destruction to the art in years past, but stop by the White Mountain Ranger Station or Wilson’s Eastside Sports for some petroglyph beta. They’ll point you in the right direction and give you some hints. Or if you prefer to do it yourself, careful sleuthing on Google will also bring up a few maps and BLM driving guides for you.
The easiest to find petroglyphs are located off Fish Slough Rd which runs right through the Tablelands. It’s fairly well graded and wide; you don’t need a high clearance vehicle to pass. The dirt roads that spawn off this are much less nice and should only be attempted with a 4-wheel drive vehicle and ample off-roading experience. The sand is incredibly soft and you will get your vehicle stuck. I would know, because we got our car stuck and had to dig ourselves out.
There are three main sites that are well-marked by fences and turnouts. There are no real trails so most of the fun lies in wandering around from boulder to boulder hunting for the petroglyphs. Please be respectful of the rock art. Don’t step on them, take great care, etc. so that people may enjoy these for years to come.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are tons of little dirt roads leading to cool things like this slot-like canyon. Totally worth checking out.