The Indians of the Anza-Borrego Desert, the Cahuilla, Cupeño, Diegueño, and Kumeyaay, left a legacy of religion, mythology and social customs. They also left a legacy of art: an open-air gallery of rock art. These petroglyphs and pictographs are eyewitness accounts, vivid on-the-scene reports that give us some idea of what was important to the people who once inhabited this desert.
The rock drawings speak of the soul of man, of his religion and mythology and his inner feelings about the spirits and the universe. Rock art is a testimony of ceremonies, of important historical occasions, as well as of the fears and joys of life. Rock art is also symbolic communication conveying powerful images of the supernatural; it is a mirror, reflecting the complexity of human culture and the intricacies of the mind.

Rock art speaks of the forgotten artist of the Anza-Borrego Desert. Forgotten in the sense that his works of art, displayed on the surfaces of rocks have only in the last twenty-five years been rediscovered and systematically studied.

One thing the reader will not find on this Web site is a detailed description of rock art locations within the Anza-Borrego Desert. It is best to leave them in their sacred obscurity.

For those who hike and explore this beautiful desert, a chance find of rock art can heighten the wilderness experience. If you find a remnant of these treasures, we ask you to respect it.


It may have little meaning to the viewer, but it is part of the Native American heritage, which is quickly fading away. It is truly art. Much of it was sacred. Treat it with reverence.

Photo credit: "The Forgotten Artist, Indians of Anza-Borrego and Their Rock Art", by Manfred
Knaak.   Published by the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association.