Opened in 1980, Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site in Val Verde County, west of Comstock, contains 2172.5 acres. Early peoples first visited this area 12,000 years ago, a time when now-extinct species of elephant, camel, bison, and horse roamed the landscape. These early people developed a hunting culture based upon large mammals, such as the mammoth and bison. No known evidence exists that these first inhabitants produced any rock paintings. By 7000 years ago, the region had undergone a climatic change that produced a landscape much like today's. A new culture appeared that was increasingly dependent on gathering wild plants and hunting small animals and less dependent on hunting big game. They lived in small groups since the land would not support larger social units for long periods.
Despite the struggle for survival, some of these prehistoric people found the creative energy to paint the pictographs found in Fate Bell and other rock shelters of the Lower Pecos River Country. More than 200 pictograph sites are known to contain examples of their style of rock paintings ranging from single paintings to caves containing panels of art hundreds of feet long. Although numerous figures or motifs are repeated in different locations, the exact meaning of the paintings is buried with the people who painted them.
Visitors enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, historical study, and nature viewing. Fate Bell Shelter, in the canyon, contains some of North America's oldest Native American pictographs and is one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America. Note: No hiking is allowed in the canyon area without a guide (Contact the park for more information.)
Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site
Age 13 and older: $4
Daily 8 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Hiking by guided tour only.