Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site
The Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site is found 45 miles east of the town of Riverton Wyoming via
Wyoming Route 136. This fascinating area was created by the erosion of a sandstone outcropping. Through hundreds of thousands of years, wind, rain and snow has sculpted amazing shapes that look somewhat like a castle on a hill... It's worth the drive just to see the unusual geological formations found in this bright white-colored sandstone outcrop, let alone the absolutely wonderful Native American "rock art" found throughout the rock structures.
"Shield Style" Petroglyphs
For thousands and thousands of years Native Americans have come to the Castle Gardens to create their "rock art" known as petroglyphs. There are several different styles, but the most famous of these petroglyphs were done in the style known as "Castle Garden Shields Style", which is the oldest recognizable example of warriors holding shields. These petroglyphs are unique to the area, and are made from several elaborate techniques. When you see these amazing petroglyphs, you will be amazed at the care and detail that went into this rock art.
Once the Native Americans completed the rock art, they would paint the images with two shades of red, two shades of orange, white, black and green. The green paint is extremely rare in the Wyoming region, and makes the Castle Gardens shield-style petroglyphs even that more unusual.
The Native Americans who came to the Castle Gardens to create their rock art throughout hundreds and hundreds of years were hunters that were passing through. Each petroglyph tells its own unique story, and each petroglyph is truly an historic treasure. As you view these amazing works of art, you can't help but try and picture these Native Americans actually there, carving the sandstone... it's as if time stands still here, and the feeling is quite difficult to describe.
Bureau of Land Management
The Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site is manages by the Bureau of Land Management. Historically, it has been a very difficult task preventing vandalism at this very special place. Many different attempts have been made to control the vandalism, with limited success.
One of the most famous petroglyphs found at Castle Gardens was known as "The Great Turtle Shield" Petroglyph. Vandals actually chiseled the "Great Turtle Shield" out of the sandstone face in the 1940s.
Years later this national treasure was anonymously donated to the State of Wyoming's State Museum, where it has been carefully taken care of ever since. With all of this being said, please enjoy these petroglyphs from afar, and please report any vandalism to the BLM office in Riverton.
There are presently no facilities found at the Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, so keep this in mind as you travel to this amazing place. Bring plenty of water and food, and enjoy your time at one of the most unusual and rare petroglyph sites in the West. Also, there is only a dirt road that takes you from the main highway into the Castle Garden Area...this road is fairly well maintained and should accommodate most vehicles.
Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, Wyoming