Idaho July 23, 2017
Most People Don’t Know About This Unique Spot In Idaho Covered In Ancient Petroglyphs
Did you know that there are ancient carvings right here in Idaho? Located right along the Snake River is Idaho’s one and only archaeological park, which contains hundreds of petroglyphs dating back between 10,000 and 12,000 years old! Celebration Park and Wees Bar are places you absolutely have to visit to see these ancient artifacts with your own eyes. Not only are the ancient carvings incredibly well preserved, the area is absolutely beautiful and you’re bound to see some wildlife. The best part? This incredibly fun and informative experience will only cost you a $2 park entrance fee.
Both Celebration Park and Wees Bar are located in Melba, Idaho. Although the park offers a variety of activities for families, the petroglyphs are the main attraction.
Not to be confused with pictographs (paintings on rock), petroglyphs are symbols carved onto a rock's surface by prehistoric peoples. Most of the carvings here are thousands of years old, however some are estimated to be as "young" as 400 years old.
When you enter the park, be sure to check out the visitor center where they will supply you with a map of all the petroglyphs. There are many boulders, called "melon boulders", throughout the park covered in these amazing carvings to explore.
The general consensus among historians and archaeologists about what the petroglyphs symbolize is that, well, nobody actually knows what they mean! Some theorize that the carvings could have been used as maps, but others believe the natives who made the carvings would have been familiar enough with the region without maps, so they might just be random drawings. Nobody can tell for sure what these pictures were meant to represent, but they sure are amazing to look at.
Celebration Park is considered the more family-friendly option of the two petroglyph sites, with helpful staff, plenty of signage, maps, and restrooms. After you've had your fill of petroglyphs, you can take a shot at using an atlatl (an ancient spear-throwing weapon) at the atlatl range. The park also makes for a great place to picnic and camp too!
Approximately 19 miles away from Celebration Park in the Snake River Canyon is Wees Bar, which is the other location with a plethora of carvings to enjoy. If you're looking for a more solitary experience than the park offers, this is your spot. It can only be accessed on foot or by bike, which deters crowds.
You'll access it by crossing the Swan Falls Dam and then following a trail that will lead you to the boulder field. The trail isn't marked very well, but it's recommended to just follow the river! Once you see the large pipe on the other side of the river, you'll know you're almost there.
Just being in the canyon itself is a pretty amazing thing since the canyon was formed approximately 15,000 years ago during the Lake Bonneville Flood, which is considered to be the second largest flood in the history of the world. Scientists hypothesize that the force from the flood was so powerful that the canyon was formed in only a few weeks!
You'll know you've arrived when you spot the boulder field on the left side of the trail. The boulders are humongous, and you're free to take a closer look at them. Just remember not to touch!
These carvings are similar to the ones at Celebration Park but they are gathered closer together. All in all, there are about 90 boulders with fascinating petroglyphs on them.
Although separate from the boulder field, you'll also see the remnants of an old 19th century stone house. This is a great place to stop, rest, and take in the awesome history you're surrounded by!
Have you seen the petroglyphs at Celebration Park or Wees bar? Let us know about your experience!
Looking for another unique Idaho park to visit? Check out the
World Center for Birds of Prey!