Jeffers Petroglyphs

Location: Comfrey, Minnesota

Webpage: Minnesota Historical Park

General Description: Jeffers Petroglyphs is the home of over 5000 sacred rock carvings made by the ancestors of Native Americans living in the region.  The earliest petroglyphs are estimated to be between 7000 and 9000 years old, while the youngest date back to the Missippian culture.  Along with images of hands and feet, there are carvings of atlatls.  Animal carvings include buffalo, dragonflies, turtles, and mythical thunderbirds.  In addition to the carvings on the rocks, the park consists of over 80 acres of restored prairie that is being actively managed by fire and plantings to restore the native prairie and remove invasive plants.

Impressions:

1) The Visitor Center is a good place to start the exploration of the petroglyphs.  They have a short film giving the history of the area as told by Native American Elders.  There are also small exhibits of artifacts found in the area, as well as, a modern petroglyph that you can touch made recently using historical methods of chipping the stone.

VisitorCenter

2) While you are free to walk out to the carvings in the rock along the top of the ridge, I strongly suggest you wait for one of the tours held every half hour.  With a spray bottle, the tour guides will highlight some of the more interesting carvings making them much easier to see, as well as, interpretations of the carvings and Native American legends that relate to them.

3) In addition to the carvings there is a 1 mile hiking trail through the restored prairie that provide close access to the many flowers and plants.  The path also passes by a Bison Rub where bison have smooth the side of the rock to a mirror finish over centuries of using the rock outcroppings to help remove their winter coat.

BisonRub