Moab History & Museums: Moab Petroglyphs, Indian Rock Art

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Indian Rock Art

The Moab, Utah petroglyphs date as far back as 3500 BC and were created by Paleo-Indian, ancestral Puebloan, and Ute artists. All rock art panels can be accessed in Moab by car or a short hike.

  • Moab, Utah Petroglyphs can be viewed year round and most at no cost.
  • See a birthing scene just 5 miles out of Moab on Kane Creek Boulevard.
  • Find dinosaur tracks amongst petroglyphs on Scenic Byway 279.
  • See the “reindeer and sled” near the golf course.

Overview

Moab rock art has no translation, leaving interpretation up to the visitor. Each site is unique where you will never see a scene more than once - anywhere. It was created by two different methods. Pictographs are painted pictures with mineral and plant dye and are commonly found on smooth, red sandstone. Petroglyphs are scratched, incised, scraped, or abraded into the rock and are found on brown or black rock surfaces. Interestingly, oil from the human hand can contribute to chemical changes in the rock. Therefore, please do not touch these ancient rock stories so future generations may experience this window into ancient history.

Wolfe Ranch Rock Art
A petroglyph panel containing Ute images. Because there are figures on horseback, this time period has to be after the Spanish introduced horses to the region.

  • Location: Arches National Park is 5 miles north of Moab and is open year round. The trail head is located 14 miles past the entrance.
  • See the Ute hunting panel
  • Phone: (435) 719-2299

Kane Creek Boulevard
Rock art panel dating from the Archaic to Formative Periods (3500 BC - 250 AD). In the first panel, you will see a Barrier Canyon Style figure (large triangle shape with headdress), desert, bighorn sheep, and abstract figures. In the second art panel, see humans, snakes, bighorn sheep and a trail that might have been giving route directions up Kane Creek Canyon.

  • Location: At the comer of Main and Kane Creek Drive (McDonald's is on the southwest corner) turn west and proceed .8 miles to the intersection of Kane Creek Drive and 500 West. Stay left and continue along Kane Creek Drive approximately 2.3 miles to the mouth of "Moon Flower Canyon. Along the rock cliff just beyond the canyon, you will see the rock art. Continue another 1.2 miles to see another rock art panel found on black colored rock facing the river.

Birthing Scene
Rock art depicting a birthing scene. Other scenes include a sandal trackway, various animal forms, such as a centipede and a horse, bear paws and a snake, as well as triangular anthropomorphic (human) figures.

  • Location: Continue on from the Kane Creek Boulevard rock art site on Kane Creek Drive past the cattle guard. After traveling 1.7 miles from the previous site, or a total of 5.3 miles from the intersection of Kane Creek Drive and 500 West, you will see two small pullouts suitable for single vehicles. If you are traveling with a large group, continue up the hill where more parking space is available and walk back to the site.
  • Look for a large boulder down the hill from the road. Rock art is found on all sides. Note the feet first position of the baby.

Golf Course Rock Art
Dating back to the Formative Period (2000 BC - 250 AD), this panel is covers a 90 feet wide area. See elk, canines, human figures, such as the "Moab Man", and big and small bighorn sheep. Look to the far right of the panel and find what is popularly referred to as the reindeer and sled.

  • Location: Take Highway 191 south to the golf course turn off (approximately 4 miles from the comer of Main and Center in downtown Moab). Turn left and proceed to Spanish Trail Road approximately 1 mile just past the fire station located on the left-hand side of the road, turn right onto Westwater Drive. Proceed.5 miles to a small pullout on the left-hand side of the road (please do not block or go up the private driveway).

Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites
There are many rock art panels on this road. Scenes include a sandal trackway, various animal forms, such as a centipede and a horse, bear paws and a snake, as well as triangular anthropomorphic (human) figures. Dating from the Formative Period, these petroglyphs show a wide variety of animal and abstract images. Most interesting is the line of "paper doll cutouts" and horned anthropomorphs holding shields. This panel extends 125 yards.

  • Location: From Highway 191 take Utah Scenic Byway 279 south for 5 miles where you will find an "Indian Writing" interpretive road sign and pull out adjacent to the river.
  • At an interpre­tive pullout approximately 0.75 miles further along the Utah Scenic Byway 279, you can see Indian rock art and dinosaur tracks. The location of three-toed allosaurus tracks in the Navajo/Kayenta sandstone interface is on the north side of the road indicated by two spot­ting tubes. Binoculars are needed to view the petroglyphs located to the left of the tracks at the base of the cliff.

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