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Texas Forts Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Paint Rock: Paint Rock Indian Pictographs


WRITTEN ON STONE

Texas hosts a number of premier rock art sites, shelters and rock faces painted by history’s Native Americans as well as the prehistoric peoples who came before them. The pictographs, although often difficult to decipher, reveal clues about the inhabitants who occupied the country up to the arrival of Europeans. The Paint Rock site, a few miles north of the Texas Fort Trail community that shares its name, is considered one of the state’s major pictograph collections. The heart of the site appears on a limestone cliff seventy feet high and several hundred yards north of the Concho River. Here, hundreds of pictographs portray animal and human figures, curious geometric shapes, and a preponderance of handprints both negative (outlined) and positive. In addition, an estimated fifteen hundred pictographs are scattered across a half-mile of rock. A rough date places the earliest pictographs around a thousand years before present but, as the site was used repeatedly over the millennium, the paintings span the entire age. Colors vary as well, from black and white to red, yellow, and orange, all pigments derived locally and from nature. Past vandalism and forces of nature have compromised at least a quarter of the pictographs, thus the site, on private property, is protected by ranch family members.


Location

  • Highway 83, 16 miles south of Ballinger.
  • Paint Rock, Texas
  • 76866

Contact

  • Phone: 325-732-4376

Hours & Fees

  • Year-round, weather permitting. Guided tours by appointment only, call to schedule.

  • $6 per person, minimum charge $15.00


Map & Directions

Paint Rock is located on State Highway 83, 16 miles south of Ballinger and just north of the town of Paint Rock. The entrance to the pictograph site is on the west side of Highway 83. A gravel ranch road through a gate leads to the visitor's center.


 

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Read more about Paint Rock in the Handbook of Texas Online.