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Sanilac Petroglyphs, Cass City

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.9/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web
Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park is a state park in Michigan containing Michigan's only known rock carvings attributable to Native American Indians. The park consists of 240acre in Greenleaf Township, Sanilac County, in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.The carvings, known as petroglyphs, were discovered by residents after a fire swept through the area in 1881 and revealed rocks bearing the designs. Because they are made in relatively friable sandstone, geologists have been able to determine that the carvings were made 300 to 1,000 years ago, dating back to the Late Woodland Period. There is concern that without preservation, the carvings may be worn further away and lost.The PetroglyphsThe petroglyphs include depictions of swirls, lines, handprints, flying birds and bow-wielding men, likely carved over many years by unknown peoples passing by the site while traveling along the nearby Cass River on a 1000sqft sandstone rock in Sanilac County, Michigan between 300 and 1,000 years ago. The petroglyphs are the only known such carvings in the state of Michigan.Conservation and VandalismThe sandstone slab in which the petroglyphs were carved is a soft stone that allowed Native Americans to cut it easily. But that softness has proven problematic as it has allowed generations of visitors to damage the slab with graffiti. Graffiti combined with natural weathering has made the actual petrogyphs difficult for visitors to see. The state has made a series of improvements to the site to protect the slab, including a wooden pavilion erected in the mid-1990s and a chain-link fence surrounding the petroglyph site.
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  • The trail from the parking lot to the petroglyphs was well maintained, pretty short, and easy to follow. There was a ranger who was knowledgeable about the history & lore of petroglyphs, and Native Am...  read more »
  • My husband is writing a novel set in this part of Michigan, and we've been wandering around getting background information. The petroglyphs are a fascinating bit of history/folklore that we enjoyed ve...  read more »
  • A must see for those interested in the history of life of Native Peoples of Michigan! Lovely walk and worth the time to explore! 
  • Nice walk with scenic view. Clean park with restrooms ( in need of cleaning). We will be going again.
  • The Rangers there are very knowledgeable and will answer any questions you might have. Make sure they are open before you go otherwise the gates to the Petroglyph will be closed. It is also home to the oldest white pine in the thumb.
  • Great place to explore historical Native American carvings
  • My father owned this property, and sold it to the State in the mid 60's.We used to pasture cows there in the summer. It is located in Sanilac county, but has a Cass City postal address. It was great as a kid to go there, and play on the big rocks with our visiting cousins. We had always expected to see some of the natives there, but that never happened. There are several of the large rock formations in the woods on both sides of Germania Rd. on the state owned property. The one with the carvings (The Bowman) is the most interesting
  • Interesting
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 1​h 30​m