Off the Beaten Path—Martha's Butte
Get off the road-get off the paved trail! See something new and interesting!
This hike is only about a mile one way and takes you to a petroglyph site and artifact scatter at the base of a feature called Martha's Butte. There is a solar marker here sliced in half by the summer solstice sunrise. Other petroglyphs are also on boulders in the area. We don't know the origin of the name or who Martha was. Park at the Dry Wash bridge just south of milepost 22 on the main park road—there is a small, unimproved place to park on the south side of the wash, off the northbound lane. The hike starts out heading north in Dry Wash—as the wash bends sharply east, exit the drainage and head northwest around the north side of the formation to your west. You'll go up and down through little drainages as you continue northwest to the relatively small butte with petroglyphs and pottery sherds at the base of the next set of bluffs. If you go to the larger butte marked "5639" on the topo map, you'll see a large petrified log embedded in the clay hill. This was long thought to be a petrified stump still in place but was excavated in 1936 by park naturalist Myrl V. Walker and some CCC "boys", revealing that it is actually a log portion at a steep angle. It's known as "Walker's Stump".
Please respect the visitors who follow you and leave all petrified wood and artifacts in place. This walk, although not difficult or steep, does require sturdy shoes. The footing can be difficult at any time. Please take normal hiking precautions and bring food and water, sun protection, and navigation aids. Pack out whatever you packed in.
Last updated: November 16, 2013