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Salt Wells Canyon, California: Fish Rocks Team Field Report

Highway 178, Salt Wells Canyon, CA
Highway 178, about 10 miles out of Ridgecrest leading to Death Valley. East of Trona Rd.
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Fish Rocks

The teeth, eyes and scales on Fish Head Rocks were originally painted in the 1930s. Report... [07/31/2010]

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Fish Rocks.

Fish Rocks

In Salt Wells Canyon, Commonly called "Poison Canyon" are the "Fish Head Rocks," originally called "Whale Heads." The rocks were originally painted sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The boy scouts painted over the rocks in a matching complimentary color in order to clean up the graffiti and beautify the desert. The locals became so upset that the eyes and teeth were gone that they hoped someone would repaint them. A local teenage girl and her friend did just that and ended up being taken into custody, although no charges were ever filed because everyone was happy to have their little fish heads back! After that it was decided that the fish heads would stay and have become a beloved and expected desert sight.

Salt Wells canyon is commonly called "Poison Canyon" because the small stream at its west end contains naturally occurring arsenic, selenium and other minerals at toxic levels.

The canyon was the route of the original 20-mule teams that hauled borax from Searles Lake to San Pedro.

[Kim, 10/04/2009]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Trona PinnaclesTrona Pinnacles, Trona, CA - 4 mi.
Living Ghost TownLiving Ghost Town, Randsburg, CA - 24 mi.
Uniroyal GalUniroyal Gal, Pearsonville, CA - 27 mi.
In the region:
Elmer Long's Bottle Tree Ranch, Oro Grande, CA - 68 mi.

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