Trail Report: Shaman Gallery in Tuckup Canyon

Round headed pictograph located in Tuckup Canyon, Arizona
Pinhead Pictograph Portrait!
Because of its' near-ness and "secret" status, Shaman's gallery pictographs in Tuckup Canyon are often discussed like they are legendary.  My local contacts have told me about this place for years and I finally decided to make the trip.  If you search a little bit, you'll discover these are on the main Tuckup Trail that descend into Tuckup Canyon.

Finding it on Google Maps is easy.  Finding it in reality is a bit more difficult because the roads have no signs and they criss-cross a lot.  Without my GPS and some waypoints I'd entered ahead of time, I would not have found the right road to the trailhead.  If you go, take a GPS and make sure you know what roads you should be taking.  It will not be obvious once you are there.

The trail is well-maintained and going down it quick and easy.  The descent is about 2,000 vertical feet over about 3 miles.  The canyon is pretty without being gorgeous.

GPS is also very helpful to know where to look for these pictographs.  They don't jump out at you.  They are on the left (north) side of the wash, under an overhanging protective sandstone lip.  Here's a picture of the location.
Shaman Gallery is under that overhanging rock in the center.
One can scramble up to the pictographs and enjoy a picnic looking at these old and imaginative figure.  I liked lying on my back and looking up at them.  Pretty psychedelic stuff.  I can't say I understand them but I certainly enjoyed them.  One figure looks like a ladder with a head on top.  Pinhead and disfigured fingers and ghost figures abound.  It's so amazing these exist, unprotected from the elements for 3000 years and yet the colors in the pigments are still vivid red, brown, black, yellow, green, white and orange.  It's a great visit to the past.

Tuckup Canyon pictographs in the Grand Canyon
The main panel of Shaman's Gallery
ancient native american pictograph in the grand canyon
Ghostly Cactus Figure
sunny days at the grand canyon in pictograph
Sunshine captured in art 3000 years ago
pictograph in tuckup canyon, arizona
Ladder Man
pictograph painted on the stone
Detail showing they painted ON the sandstone: 
pictograph, not petroglyph
View of the wash.  You must hike all the way out of this canyon. 
Long ways up.
Hiking out is twice as slow as coming down.  It's a steady slog and I made it without incident.  Just stop and catch your breath.  Often.

Gordon's hike rating:
Road Difficulty:                   ★★★★★ Horrible:  No directions, some big rocks and deep ruts
Hike Difficulty:                   ★★★ Moderate 2,000 foot elevation drop and then climb
Trail Condition:                   ★★★★ Good
Trail Hazards:                      ★★★ Moderate:  Elevation gain, loose gravel
Trailhead:                              Tuckup Canyon
Time Required:                     Most of the day
Distance round trip:              6 miles
Off the Beaten Path:             ★★★★ Yes, 4 Stars
Scenery:                                ★★ Fair, 2 Stars
Photographic Potential:        ★★★  Good, 3 Stars