Fish Rocks – California - Atlas Obscura

Fish Rocks

This unique graffiti art from the 1940s has become a staple of this local landscape in the remote California desert. 

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Driving east from Ridgecrest, California on Hwy 178, visitors will find these painted rocks at the edge of Poison Canyon, about halfway to Searles Valley. The rocks look like moray eels peering out from desert boulders at unsuspecting travelers.

According to various accounts, they were first painted in the 1940s by Joe Fox. The designs have been maintained by locals ever since the 1970s when a group of Boy Scouts painted over them and two local girls, Nancy Reed and Claudia Grandjean, repainted them. The girls were detained for questioning by the local sheriff, but area residents decided they wanted to keep the Fish Rocks. The girls were let off the hook and the images have been a part of the landscape ever since

Know Before You Go

The rocks are located just 15 minutes east of Ridgecrest, CA, two minutes before the turn off for Trona Pinnacles. There’s a large pull-off area on the northwest side of the highway, and the rocks are just a short walk away. They are free and accessible to the public.

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