Snake River and Swan Falls- Wees Bar Petroglyphs Trail

MODERATE 22 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.8 miles
839 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



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

The area is beautiful, my only complaint is parts of the trail you have to walk over briars and tumbleweed that makes the walk not as enjoyable.

Dam closes at 9 at the entry, trail is mostly in the sun so bring plenty of water.

3 months ago

Did not see a waterfall. Wear good hiking boots.

5 months ago

Great hike, first time but will be back we got all the way to the Petroglyphs and they were rad.
However, keep hearing about a waterfall curious as to if anyone has made it that far or not? Wondering where it is?
Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Thanks, happy exploring!

5 months ago

Very nice area. Some great scenery.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Beautiful. We’ve hiked the area 3 times and will go back soon. Still exploring our new state! This trail is close to home.

9 months ago

We visited this area back in February 2015 but just found this so writing more history/info of the area. The Ranch before entering the no motorized zone coming from the dam is called the Priest Ranch. The old stone homestead in the no motorized zone not too far from the petroglyphs was the James Wees Homestead. He did some mining along the river, farming and was a stone mason. If you walk down along the river (or view in google earth) you can see some of the remnants of his mining. While a much longer drive to the top of the bluff, there is an old road upstream from Con Shea Basin which you can hike down and upstream to the stone cabin/petroglyph area. It would be quite a hike back up the trail to your vehicle though. The drive to the top of the bluff is difficult to navigate as you're on old primitive roads generally heading north from Murphy Flat. Again, maps and google earth show this way but be aware it's a non-motorized area from the top of the bluff down on the trail.

11 months ago

If you love petroglyphs you’ll love this hike. Took this hike in late October. Except for a several day fisherman, we were one of only three campers along the entire east side of the dam. Warm days, cool nights, beautiful sunrises and sunset, and LOTS of peace and quiet. Hike and sightseeing took 6 hours round trip.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

very easy hike, flat most of the way and hugs the river. a few snakes here and there, so keep an eye out! biggest downside is that there are tons of campsites across the river and by evening you get a bunch of people blasting music and messing around on dirt bikes, so earlier is better!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pretty neat little day hike. Pack a lunch, walk around and look for petroglyphs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

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!

Monday, May 30, 2016

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

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
Friday, July 17, 2015

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 months ago

4 months ago

5 months ago

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday, September 05, 2013