Lyman Lake Petroglphys Dazzle in an Outdoor Art Gallery

Lyman Lake Petroglyphs in St. John’s AZ. (Photo/Kendra Yost)

Lyman Lake, located in eastern Arizona’s St. John’s, becomes lower by the day due to a dry season.

The lake continues to lose up to two feet per day according to the State Park’s Ranger.

From the bank I notice a couple of water skier’s gliding through the shallow water below. Near-empty Lyman leaves wide-open waters to those occupying the lake.

Lyman Lake in St. John’s Arizona. (Photo/Kendra Yost)

Burnt orange mounds line the lake in the distance and porous lava rock is dimpled from elements.

When the Hopi inhabited the 1,200-acre park, Lyman Lake did not exist. The lake was originally created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River and is fed by snowmelt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain.

As I hike Petroglyph Trail with my family toward the top of a smaller mountain I quickly realize the park is littered with petroglyphs as I climb rock stairs with depictions in them.

I was surrounded by vivid and spirited art.

The ancient artwork was priceless, unattainable and beyond any museum.

The landscape created a stunning backdrop for the ancient artwork and one of my unexpected favorite locations to explore Arizona history.

Depiction meanings are open to interpretation, although certain symbols and animals have been identified.

Near the top, glaring white RV’s disrupt the natural colored desert landscape. Dead trees worship the open sky.

A dry riverbed sits where the swimming section is supposed to be and empty picnic tables sit on the edge of dry banks.

A cave created by giant boulders contained a wind tunnel and framed image of the landscape through a jagged frame.

The backside of the mountain presented was what appeared to be an ancient dwelling exhibiting remnants of plaster on the rock walls. The floors looked like smooth polished black granite.

After the hike we travelled down a long dirt road in attempt to arrive on the east end of the lake and location of the Rattle Snake Point Pueblo ruins, a medium-sized village that was home to about 15 families (between 1325 AD and 1390 AD), stands one story tall and contains between 80 and 90 rooms.

We turned around due to our lack of time and map.

Across Lyman Lake is the Ultimate Petroglyph Trail that can only be assessed by boat but that would have to be another adventure along with the exploration of the ruins.

Layman Lake State Park is one of the most treasured places in Arizona that is unknown to visitors as well as locals.

Significant periods regarding the occupation of the Hopi people within the Lyman Lake area include the Archaic from 6000 BC – 300 AD, the Basketmaker from 300 AD to 700 AD and the Pueblo from 700 AD to 1400 AD.


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