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Falling Man Rock Art Site
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte
Falling Man Rock Art Site
Falling Man Rock Art Site
Trailhead Parking


The Falling Man Rock Art Site is a fascinating petroglyph gallery that has seen many visitors over the years. From the trailhead, people now walk a few minutes where drivers once unknowingly damaged archeological features such as agave roasting pits and a prehistoric campsite. Walking into the Falling Man panel, people might now notice rock art on the crags along the trail. The trail is only about 0.3 miles, but the last bit of the route requires an easy scramble among the rocky sandstone crags. Off the beaten path, the farther you go and the more you look, the more rock art you find.

Link to area map or hiking map.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a safe area, but be careful scrambling around in the rocks.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short, the area is remote, so be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

While here, remember that petroglyphs and other rock art are a national treasure that is easily damaged. Please take care of the area and leave it as you found it for generations to come.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

Getting to the Trailhead

The Falling Man Rock Art Site is located way out in Gold Butte at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 2.5 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out to Gold Butte. From Whitney Pocket (Table 1, Site 060), turn around and drive back north for 1.4 miles to a dirt road to the west (Site 050), which is just past a large sandstone crag with campsites around the base. Turn left and drive west on Black Butte Road.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

A number of side roads branch off from Black Butte Road, but most are obviously not the main road. However, at 1.2 miles from the pavement (Site 210), take the left fork in the road. At 1.9 miles from the pavement, pole fencing on the south side of the road delineates a parking area (Site 220). Park here; this is the trailhead.

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), walk southwest through a gap in the fence and down the well defined trail. The trail passes the first large pile of red and white sandstone rock and heads towards a second.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

At the second rock pile, about 0.29 miles from the trailhead, there is a tunnel through the rocks that can be seen from below. Scramble up to the tunnel, crawl through it, and clamber around the ledge of the other side. Keep an eye out for rock art on the walls, and in particular, the falling man (Wpt. 02). While there, consider what may have led some ancient person to create this particular piece of art. Perhaps it is a memorial to a friend or family member who suffered a tragic accident.

The falling man is about 0.33 miles from the trailhead, but don't stop there. Wander around among the rock piles and look for more rock art. When finished, wander back to the trailhead. Regardless of where you are in the rock piles, if you walk north, you will hit Black Butte Road.

Falling Man Rock Art Site
Tunnel through the Rock

Rewards for exploring: hidden rock art. The area around Falling Man is loaded with rock art. Hikers are free to wander around and experience the history, but be careful not to trample the vegetation and don't touch the rock art. Oils on our hands degrades the petroglyphs.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

More rewards for exploring: grand scenery and interesting vegetation. This part of Gold Butte is in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) vegetation zone where creosote bush and white bursage dominate the landscape, but many other species of shrubs also are common. Around the rock piles, look for Joshua trees, and keep an eye out for our common Mojave yucca. In sandy places, look for uncommon Utah yucca and unusual birdcage evening primrose with its arms all rolled up like a wire birdcage.

Falling Man Rock Art Site Hikers looking at the Falling Man panel.
Falling Man Rock Art Site

Hikers exploring the surrounding area.

Falling Man Rock Art Site Amazing rock art near the Falling Man petroglyph.
Falling Man Rock Art Site Amazing scenery near the Falling Man petroglyph.

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Latitude Longitude Easting Northing Elevation Verified
050 Gold Butte Road at Black Butte Rd 36.53040 114.16105 754180 4046328 2,785 GPS
059 Gold Butte Road at End of Pavement 36.52435 114.13968 756114 4045714 3,023 Yes
060 Whitney Pocket, Arizona Rd 36.52346 114.13926 756154 4045616 2,998 Yes
210 Black Butte Rd at Fork 36.51797 114.17499 752972 4044913 2,530 GPS
220 Falling Man Trailhead 36.51166 114.18454 752138 4044187 2,393 GPS

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27, UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead 752138 4044187 2,393 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Falling Man Panel 751967 4043745 2,432 0.33 0.33 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2015 Jim Boone; Last updated 110520

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