DATES OPEN: Year round, weather permitting
HOURS: Daylight hours (for viewing)
FACILITIES: Pit toilets
ADMISSION: No fee
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Limited accessibilty
LOCATION:Drive south on Hwy. 789 out of Riverton to Hwy. 136/Gas Hills Rd. Turn left and travel 35 miles. Turn left on the dirt road toward Castle Gardens and continue six miles. Turn right at the Castle Gardens sign and drive five more miles to the site. Travel during the winter and spring months may be difficult on the final three-mile stretch of road.
Take a drive through Wind River country and explore one of Wyoming’s finest rock art sites. Hundreds of prehistoric carvings grace the majestic sandstone spires of Castle Gardens. Shield-bearing warriors, thought to date to between AD 1000 and AD 1250, appear on many of the rock art panels at this site. In the world of rock art research, this regional style, known as the Castle Gardens Shield style, refers to designs of human figures carrying circular shields that have been pecked into a smoothed stone surface and then painted with brightly colored pigments, remnants of which remain visible on some of the figures. Many images at Castle Gardens contain only the circular shield without the warrior figure. While the exact identity of the carvers is unknown, researchers believe that Athapaskan groups, related to the modern-day Navajo and Apache, are responsible for making the many shields found at the site. Spend an hour wandering through the unique sandstone formations at Castle Gardens and observe the different styles of petroglyphs that have survived the ages to tell us a little about the people who knew of Castle Gardens first.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ON THE WEB:
AT THE LIBRARY:
Ancient Visions: Petroglyphs and Pictographs of the Wind River and
Bighorn Country, Wyoming and Montana, by Julie Francis and
Lawrence L. Loendorf (University of Utah Press, 2004).
Protect Our Heritage!
Unfortunately, today’s visitors to Castle Gardens will see more than the prehistoric petroglyphs for which the site is known. The marks left by vandals are unmistakable. Do your part to protect the rock art by staying on the designated trail and refraining from leaving your own mark in the sandstone. Please do not touch the rock art and do not pick up or collect artifacts from the site.
To report vandalism, call:
BLM Lander Field Office
Archaeological Resources Protection Act Hotline