Located in the Southwest Minnesota region of Comfrey is an interesting and sacred Native American site known as the “Jeffers Petroglyphs.”
What follows is a concise overview of the notable site and just some of what those visiting the area can expect to find.
Brief Description of the Jeffers Petroglyphs
At the “Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site” there are over 2,000 assorted petroglyphs spread out over 160 acres.
Believed to be over 5,000 years old, the petroglyphs appear to have been manufactured using what is commonly referred to as the “pecking method.”
The “pecking method” involves taking an object that is stronger than the surface area to be marked and using it to chip away at the surface area until the design has been created.
Traditionally the purpose of petroglyphs is believed to be much the same as antediluvian, Egyptian hieroglyphics; to record events, pass on folklore and honor deities.
The primary subjects portrayed in the petroglyphs at the Comfrey site are humans, deities, animals and ancient tools.
The site also contains three rare images of the “Thunderbird”, a mythical creature that is part of Native American lore.
Other than the petroglyphs themselves, perhaps what is most visually interesting about the “Jeffers Petroglyphs” site is that the petroglyphs seem to vanish during certain parts of the day. This is due in part to solar positioning.
As such, visitors should bear in mind that the optimal times to view and photograph the petroglyphs are at dawn and dusk. The worst time to view them is during the middle of the day.
The 3,000 square foot visitor’s center offers a plethora of exhibits, multimedia productions and interactive exhibits designed to edify visitors on the chronology of the site as well as Native American culture and Minnesota ecology.
The site is home to 1.2 miles of nature trails that crisscross over 80 acres and are replete with signage to serve as a guide.
Portions of the nature trail contain a rope guideline so that visitors will not accidently step on and destroy the centuries old petroglyphs.
In addition to the petroglyphs, visitors hiking on the nature trail can hope to see an abundance of wildlife, prairie flora and fauna as well as markings believed to have been left from early settlers.
It should be noted that the nature trail, though lengthy, is not terribly strenuous and therefore suited for most able bodied individuals.
Hours of Operation and Admission Fees
The “Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site” is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Hours of operation are Monday and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. The site is also open on Sunday from Noon until 5:00 pm.
As of 2010 admission to the “Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site” is $6 per adult and $4 per child between the ages of 6 through 17. Children ages 5 and under are admitted to the historic site for free. Furthermore, there are special discounts available for senior citizens and college students as well.
Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site
21760 County Route 2
Comfrey, MN 56019
Those would-be visitors that wish to learn more about the various things to do and see while in Comfrey, Minnesota should log onto the city’s website.
Paul Burke, “The Origin of the Thunderbird” First People of America and First People of Canada: Turtle Island
Minnesota Historical Society, “Jeffers Petroglyphs” Minnesota Historical Society
Julie Tregeagle and Joyce Kelen, “Creating Petrogylphs and Pictorgraphs” Utah Education Network