Flickr album link: Falling Man Trail
A previous article about the Black Butte Road Petroglyphs describes the Falling Man Trail. The article ends with a look at a point of interest called the tunnel, which is a hole in a rock wall that visitors can crawl through to get to the Falling Man Trail. As mentioned, most visitors do not know about the tunnel and they simply end up finding the Falling Man Trail by wandering around. In fact, meandering on the trails through this rock outcrop area is what most folks do and this method of discovery does work well, since there is so much ancient rock art to be found in the Black Butte section of Gold Butte National Monument.
The attached Flickr photo album depicts taking an alternate route around the sandstone outcrops to the Falling Man Trail, instead of crawling through the tunnel. There will be some scaling and climbing to do along this trail, so getting to the Falling Man Petroglyph will be a physical challenge. For this reason it is best to plan the hike during cold weather seasons and be sure to pack plenty of water in this unforgiving desert environment.
Several ancient rock art panels can be seen along the way when taking the long way around to Falling Man. The views of this eroded landscape certainly are mesmerizing and a geologist would definitely have a field day teaching a classroom in this place. After sliding down a boulder on the final bend, the feet will land on the Falling Man Trail near one of the most famous ancient petroglyphs in the entire west. Falling Man can be seen on dark desert varnish covered rock face up above the trail and one look is all it takes for the imagination to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. One of the most remarkable views can be found when standing directly beneath Falling Man while looking straight up. This view captures the extreme height of this towering outcrop and the animated image looks as if he is falling down from the top.
A few dozen yards past Falling Man is where the tunnel access point can be found and crawling through is recommended for those who have not already seen the other side. Backtracking on the Falling Man Trail is an even better option, because there are several more petroglyphs in this direction and the trail through the dry wash to Twenty One Goats begins here. Points of interest to look for near Falling man include the Table Petroglyph and Newspaper Rock, which are both magnificent rock art panels to ponder over. Dozens more solitary petroglyphs can be seen scattered on the rock walls, so be sure to stop often to take a good look around.
The entire trail system in this part of Gold Butte National Monument is called the Black Butte Dam Loop. This lengthy hike is an all day trekking adventure that is best done when the weather is cool. Hours upon hours can be spent pondering over the ancient rock art in the Falling Man area, so plenty of time should be set aside for the venture. As always, the highly protected ancient rock art is for your eyes only and it is illegal to touch. Visitors are required to report any suspicious activity or vandalism and a cel phone signal can be found nearby. The Black Butte Road Petroglyphs is an experience like no other, so be sure to take note when planning a Gold Butte adventure!
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