Boulder City Correspondence – February 2017


Keyhole Canyon

If Zion Canyon in Utah is a cathedral where one feels the overwhelming glory of nature, then Keyhole Canyon, just south of Boulder City, is a splendid sanctuary where your soul can talk to the spirits of nature one on one.

Used for manhood rituals by the Anasazi for countless moons and by Boulder City Cub Scout Troops within this century, Keyhole Canyon is situated in the Eldorado Mountains. How could you resist an adventure in mountains within an hour of Boulder City? It’s also known as The Keyhole Canyon Archeological Site.

If you stand at the entry of the canyon, just look carefully, like you mean it, and you’ll will be rewarded by petroglyphs of great variety and almost obvious meaning (sort of). Also look for the rarer pigment-applied pictographs that lurk in overhangs and caves formed by fallen boulders. Actually, archeologists have been debating the true significance of these images ever since there were archeologists. A group of coders noted for their great perception and general genius tried to figure out the meanings, but they couldn’t figure it out, either. As one of them said later, “We don’t even know what they were smoking, so it’s kinda hard to figure out.”

This is a canyon for all seasons and reasons, like rock climbing and canyoneering. Most people go into the mouth of mountain canyon and stop at the first waterfall. It is usually dry, but for brief violent moments when a high capacity flood of tremendous force rushes down — which is the answer to the question, “How did that huge boulder get there?” Actually, there are five waterfalls along this particular waterway.  It is a canyoneering experience that’s similar to what you’d find in Zion National Park, but with a lot less people and rules. Please be safe and, you know, pack it out.

The time of year to visit favored by this local is spring, with its flowers, birds and cool winds, which are rare in Southern Nevada. The ravens of Keyhole Canyon are wise birds that watch over the canyon and protect it with a spell  that makes those that despoil anything near or in the canyon impotent for the rest of their lives.

— Alan Goya

(All photos by GOYAphotography)