Road Work at Great Basin National Park
Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »
Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed
The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.
Upper Pictograph Cave
An Ancient Canvas
First, a pigment, usually inorganic, gave the paint color. One common pigment was the mineral hematite which creates a red color. Next, a binder was added to hold the pigment particles together and to hold the paint onto the rock surface. Some examples of binder ingredients include blood, egg, seed oils, plants resins and juices, milk and honey. The third ingredient of the paint was a medium, or a fluid, that made the paint liquid and suitable for application. Examples include plant juices, water, animal oils, and urine.
While many of the pictographs clearly represent living things, some of the art is more abstract - dots and lines drawn on the rock surface with paint or charcoal.
But what do these pictographs mean? No one can say absolutely what the painter had in mind while creating these images. To attach meaning would be to possibly make wrong inferences or conclusions about the images and about the people who made them. We are left, then, to guess for ourselves. Therefore, realize that any meaning we give these paintings is merely speculation, and what they actually represent, if they do, in fact, represent anything, may never be known.
More Than Pictures
Upper Pictograph Cave has been used by animals as well as people. Pack rats used this shelter to build their nests or middens, and Townsend's big-eared bats have been known to use this cave from time to time. These bats are very sensitive to the slightest disruption, so it is essential to not go inside. Instead, enjoy this cave and its special features from the outside, and leave with a better understanding and appreciation of this natural and cultural resource.
Threats to the Cave
Did You Know?
Many of Great Basin National Park's bristlecone pines were growing at the time the Egyptians were building the pyramids. Not only are the trees themselves old, but the needles alone can be 25-40 yrs old!