Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Writing on Stone is a unique geological area named for the petroglyphs carved into the rocks by the Blackfoot People. My husband and I didn’t arrive at a good time to take the tour into the archaeological preserve, so we walked the Hoodoo Trail along the river and up the hills. Sometimes a place feels a bit special, and this was one such place for me. The beautiful setting, the history…I can’t say why exactly, but it was inspiring. The cliffs along the river set against the blue sky were magnificent.

We saw a couple sets of petroglyphs that you can access without a guide. Our photographs were taken in bright light so you have to zoom in to see the carvings. I took a photo of the diagram from the guide booklet that makes it easier to distinguish the markings. So starting with the park’s namesake…

This is the battle scene carved into the rocks. The next two photos show the left and right side of this scene.

This is the left side of the petroglyph with the tipis etc. There is a lot of detail if you zoom in.

This is the middle-right section. Again, zoom in for detail.

I have cropped a zoomed in view of the horses on the bottom centre of the petroglyph.

These are the three large tipis defended by a line of guns, showing which way the shots were fired.

This shot overlooks the Milk River from the Police Coulee Viewpoint.  We are in Alberta, but you can see the Sweet Grass Hills in Montana, U.S.A, so we are very close to the border.  The white buildings you can see are where the Northwest Mounted Police set up camp in 1887 to establish a Canadian presence (Canada had purchased the land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1869) and stop the illegal flow of cattle and whiskey from the U.S.

The next shots are of some of the magnificent hoodoo formations, and rock faces along the trail from the Battle Scene petroglyph to the campground.

Literally right at the edge of the trail, I spotted this little fellow, who was practicing his “freeze” technique. He lost his nerve as I stepped past him though, and hopped onto the trail. He is a Nuttall’s Cottontail – a very small bunny.

And…a couple panoramas from my husband’s phone.


  1. Been to WOS several times over the years – starting when I was a kid. I’m glad the Writings have finally been protected from the graffiti idiots. And much of the graffiti is now removed. I hope.
    I still fear the area requires more protection. There is a lot of destruction being done by people clamouring over the rocks. Ultimately, access will have to be monitored as we see many of our wonderful parks being overwhelmed by visitors. Shame, but otherwise it will soon be destroyed.


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