Snake River and Swan Falls- Wees Bar Petroglyphs Trail

MODERATE 7 reviews

Snake River and Swan Falls- Wees Bar Petroglyphs Trail is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Melba, Idaho that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

11.8 miles 994 feet Out & Back



mountain biking

nature trips





wild flowers


View ancient petroglyphs up close along the Snake River in Southwest Idaho. This is an all day hike. If you decide to use a mountain bike, it becomes a half-day ride. Walk across the Swan Falls Dam. Once across the dam, turn left and head upriver on the singletrack trail. Turn right where a doubletrack joins the trail. You 'll head up a short steep and rocky hill. Turn right on the major doubletrack trail and then turn right again heading downhill. Stay on the trail and you will pass the remnants of the Priest Ranch homestead and then an orchard. Turn left at the next junction, going uphill around a small butte that overlooks the river. Go through a narrow opening in the gate, continuing along the trail. You will know you are close to Wees Bar when you see a large pipe on the opposite side of the river. At Wees Bar, there will be a boulder field on the left side of the trail. Once there, start looking for petroglyphs and Native American rock art. There are about 90 boulders with petroglyphs on them. Across from the boulder field near the river you will also find the ruins of the old Wees house. Return the same way for an out-and-back.

2 months ago

There are bathroom facilities at the parking lot where you start. Use them, because that's it for the 12 mile hike you're about to do. Walk across the dam bridge (it doesn't look inviting, but there is a walkway to get across), and turn left to find the single track trail. Follow the trail as it starts to head uphill and right. This part is the steepest and rockiest part of the whole hike. You'll continue to turn right at pretty-much every fork in the road, following the river. The "trail" is a dirt road and you might have a vehicle or two pass you. It's not all that scenic. Around mile 4.5 you'll go through a fence, then about a mile later be on lookout for the boulders off to your left. You have to walk right up to them to see the petroglyphs. Enjoy the history, then head back the way you came. Easy hike, but long.

So what they don't tell you is the starting point is on the other of the dam, so walk across that. The map tells you to go south before turning north, but i woukd recommend turning north right after you cross and walking across the rocks. There is a small hiking trail there that is much easier. Bikes and horses can't use it though. make sure you have plenty of water! I ran out halfway through and had to turn back. Scenery is decent, but gets old quick. There is only one real spot with access to the river, so use it!

8 months ago

beautiful area but not great for bicycling with dogs or kids. lots of traffic. great for driving and fishing though.

1 year ago

Beautiful, easy hike along the snake river. Offers wonderful views of the canyon and near the end, the owyhee mountains are beautifully framed by the canyon walls. The petroglyphs are quite amazing and easy to identity. Also, Parallel to the petroglyph bolder field there is an old rustic stone house built in the 19th century, which is nice place to picnic! You have to walk down towards the river to find it.

mountain biking
1 year ago

It was a hot mid day adventure to the other side of the river. I biked the trail most of the way on a bike with no shocks. The tiny orchard was cool and all the pictograms were near to see.

2 years ago

3 years ago