Explore Michigan’s History at the Sanilac Petroglyphs

Sanilac Petroglyphs, Michigan
The Chief of Knowlege is one of the most prominent petroglyphs still visible on the stone.
Sanilac Petroglyphs, Michigan
The Chief of Knowledge is one of the most prominent petroglyphs still visible on the stone.

If you’re looking for a place to take the kids this summer, and want to teach them a bit about our state’s history head up to Cass City and the Sanilac Petroglyphys. Thousands of years old, the stone carvings are attributed to multiple Native American Tribes that called the area home. Each carving into the sand stone tells a bit of a story about the state, the culture and history of many of the places we still visit today.

Sanilac Petroglyphs, MichiganWhen you visit the Petroglyphys, be sure to not blink when you’re going down the road or you may miss the sign and the small parking lot. Visiting the park is free, as is touring the Petroglyphs which is a small walk from the parking lot. The park also offers a one mile nature walk over the Cass River. This summer they are replacing the bridges on this portion so there may be some closures on the wal

Sanilac Petroglyphs, Michigan
The water animal is thought to kick up water to create the rain in the storms.

Arriving at the Petroglyphys you’ll find the large sand stone in a pavilion with a couple of DNR workers who are more than happy to answer any questions, explain the markings that are still visible on the sand stone and more of the history of the area.

Sanilac Petroglyphs, Michigan
The Nightwalker in seen in the center with either a child or a soul to go to the afterlife.

The Petroglyphys were found after a Forrest fire in the 1880’s, and have drawn visitors from all over to see them since they were discovered. They were fully exposed to the conditions in the late 70’s for about a decade and a lot of the carvings were lost to the soft nature of the sand stone. The Petroglyphys are now in a covered area but still  exposed to some natural elements.

Sanilac Petroglyphs, Michigan
An outline of a great turtle believed to form Mackinac Island can be seen. Also known as Mitchimakinak that swam into Gitchi-Gami

While the Petroglyphys have received some media coverage over the years, they are still a hidden secret for most people that live in Michigan. You can stand feet away from ancient history, and learn more about the state me know and love. Even with the little coverage they have received, only around 5000 people visit the site a year. There is no fee to get in and to see the carvings, and they make for a great history lesson for kids, as well as discussion starter about our Native tribes and their impact on our area.

The Sanilac Petroglyphs has guides available for free tours Wednesday-Sunday Memorial Day through Labor Day 10 am- 5 pm. The park technically requires a recreation passport to visit, however there is not a guard station checking tags. However, we always recommend getting one to help support the parks and make sure the Petroglyphys and other historical treasure are there for future generations.

Find out more about the Sanilac Petroglyphs and plan your trip today!

Sanilac Petroglyphs, MichiganSanilac Petroglyphs
8251 Germania Road
Cass City, MI 48726


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