Journey deep into the rugged Lower Pecos Canyonlands to experience the White Shaman mural, considered one of the most cosmologically complex narratives in the world, at the Witte Museum’s White Shaman Preserve.
Located near Seminole Canyon State Park, this two hour trek takes you through a landscape filled with Chihuahuan Desert plants and stunning views of the Pecos River where it converges with the Rio Grande. The White Shaman mural, painted thousands of years ago, illustrates the lifeway and belief systems of the now-gone hunter-gatherer society.
The Witte Museum has a long history with the Canyonlands of the Lower Pecos. In 1931, the Museum’s Assistant Director, “Miss Emma” Gutzeit, led expeditions to archaeological sites while artist Virginia Carson pioneered efforts to document Lower Pecos rock paintings. Currently the Witte houses more than 20,000 artifacts from these ancient historic sites. In 2010 the Witte brought 14 scholars together to write updated research in the book, Painters in Prehistory: Archeology and Art in the Lower Pecos, edited by Harry J. Shafer, Curator of Archeology at the Witte Museum (Trinity University Press, 2013). In 2017, The Witte Museum created an unparalleled exhibition, People of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands which focuses on living, hunting, gathering and rock art creation from 2,000 to 4,000 years ago in what is now Texas.
The Witte’s Mission to shape the future of Texas inspires us to provide weekly tours from early Fall to late Spring for the public to experience the majesty of the White Shaman Mural. Reservations are required and spaces are limited. Participants must be ages 12 & up. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Available September thru May every Saturday at 12:30pm
– Members and Quillins $15
– Non-Members $20 (price increases to $25 starting January 1, 2023)
Tour Difficulty: (Strenuous) There is a 250 foot descent into a narrow brushy canyon and the trail is steep with loose rocks and uneven footing. At any time of the year, desert heat can be extreme.
Round-trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours
Vehicle Requirements: There are no vehicle requirements for this tour.
Contact the Reservations Team at 210.357.1910 or Reservations@WitteMuseum.org
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All Witte tours must be paid in advance to ensure your reservation. Only those paid in advance are guaranteed a place on the tour. Cancellations must be made a minimum of 10 days prior to the tour to receive a full refund. Cancellations made after the 10 day minimum are non-refundable. Tours may be cancelled due to weather conditions, extreme heat/cold, limited participation, road conditions, lake/river levels, etc. If a tour is cancelled by the Witte Museum, a full refund will be issued. If a tour participant does not arrive at the gate on time, and therefore misses the tour, their ticket cost will not be refunded. For the safety of the group and at the discretion of the Guide, tours may be cancelled at any stage during the tour for any reason. Requests for private tours must be submitted in writing to email@example.com.
Photographs or video taken on the property of the White Shaman Preserve of the Witte Museum are for personal use only. All requests to reproduce images for research, exhibition, publication or distribution must be submitted to the Registrar’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. For protection of this special archaeological site, we request that participants minimize the use of electronics. Do not share locational information for sites on private land and the use of drones is not permitted.
The Witte Museum is proud to be a conservation steward of the White Shaman Preserve, a nationally recognized historic site. As an elite accredited museum with the American Alliance of Museums, we have the highest standards to uphold. The use of open flame or smudging or smoking of any kind in the shelter is not allowed under any circumstances.
The Witte Museum’s White Shaman Preserve is a sacred site. Requests for ceremonial use of the White Shaman Preserve must be submitted in writing to the Witte Museum. Approval of requests will be weighed against the risk to the site, human safety and museum resources. Availability to White Shaman Preserve is limited, so any request must be scheduled in advance. The White Shaman Preserve is an archaeological site and removal of any artifact, cultural or paleontological remains is prohibited.
Founded in 1926, the Witte Museum is where Nature, Science and Culture Meet, through the lens of Texas Deep Time, and the themes of Land, Water and Sky. Located on the banks of the San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum is San Antonio’s premier museum promoting lifelong learning through innovative exhibitions, programs and collections in natural history, science and South Texas heritage.
These tours are only possible through the kind cooperation and generosity of various landowners. The Witte firmly supports their rights as private landowners, who act as fabulous stewards for these irreplaceable archaeological treasures. With trust and friendship, they have offered their properties on these limited dates as a truly unique experience.
– Members and Quillins $35
– Non-Members $50
Reservations are required and limited
Participants must be ages 12 & up, all minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
Become a Witte Member for discounted pricing on all Rock Art Tours – JOIN NOW
Located near Langtry, Bonfire Shelter is a nationally significant site in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands that preserves evidence of what may be the oldest and southernmost “bison jump” in North America Eagle Cave, a large occupational site, is found in the same canyon.
February 11 and December 2, 2023
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Tour Difficulty: (Strenuous)
The hike is into a very steep and rough canyon. Stamina, agility and good balance are a must and climbing (knees to chest) over large boulders is required. This tour involves a 100 ft. descent into a canyon with no trail. Deep loose rocks make walking difficult. You will be in a remote location where response to serious injuries and medical emergencies will be difficult and lengthy.
There are no vehicle requirements for this tour.
Located near Dryden, Texas, Meyers Spring, on The National Register of Historic Places, is considered one of the “must see” rock art sites in Texas. The Meyers Spring site features a 100 ft. long prehistoric and historic rock art panel near the spring and the site of historic Camp Meyers, a western outpost of the Black Seminole Scouts assigned to Fort Clark in Brackettville during the late 1800s.
May 27 & September 2, 2023
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tour Difficulty: (Easy)
The site is 9 miles by dirt road followed by a short walk on defined trails of loose rock and uneven terrain. It’s an easy walk for those accustomed to the West Texas environment.
¾ of a mile hike with 2 stops.
The 9-mile dirt ranch road does not require 4WD, although a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.
Located in a tributary near the pristine Devils River north of Comstock, Halo Shelter features some of the best preserved Pecos River style pictographs in the region. The site gets its name from the unique “halos” that are painted above the heads of several figures.
February 4 & October 21, 2023
9:00 am – 4:00pm/5:00 pm
Tour Difficulty: (Strenuous)
This tour requires stamina, agility, and balance; complete physical mobility is essential. The descent into the canyon is very steep with a rope-assisted climb in and out of the canyon, gloves are recommended.
¼ of a mile hike.
Be prepared for rough roads. High-clearance 4WD vehicles are required.