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Rock Art Sites, Moab
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ADDRESS
Moab, Utah 84532
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Historic Interest
 
 
 
 
 

Rock Art Byway 279, Moab

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Rocks, the main attraction on any trip to Moab, hold appeal for archaeology buffs young and old. This seemingly harsh and inhospitable land has been inhabited for hundreds if not thousands of years. And the area's early inhabitants have left their mark. The evidence is on the rock. Paleo-Indian flints and rock piles may be visible to the well-trained eye only. But Moab petroglyphs etched in canyon walls are detectable by everyone. How many images can you identify at this outdoor art museum?
Getting There
 
There are numerous Native American Rock Art sites in and around Moab. And many of them are easily accessible! The Moab Area Rock Art Auto Tour put together by the Moab Area Travel Council and Utah BLM is ideal for families in search of an alternative to nature. For the Moon Flower Canyon Rock Art site take Main Street to Kane Creek Drive. Travel west 3.1 miles to the mouth of Moon Flower Canyon. The first site is situated behind a tall protective fence. A second panel is visible on the large desert varnished slab facing the river 1.2 miles further on. For the Birthing Scene site take Main Street to Kane Creek Drive. Travel west 6.1 miles. The rock art at this site is situated on a large boulder approximately 75 feet west of the pullout. For the Potash Road and Jug Handle Arch Rock Art sites take Highway 191 to Utah Scenic Byway 279, also called Potash Road. Travel 5.0 miles to the "Indian Writing" interpretive road sign. Park in the pullout adjacent to the river. The rock art is found at a height of 25 to 30 feet on the rock wall. Follow Byway 279 another 7.5 miles and take the dirt road east to the parking area. The Rock Art at this site is located on the north face of the parking area. For Courthouse Wash take Highway 191 north. The parking lot is situated on the right hand side of the road just beyond Highway 128 and the Colorado River. Follow the gravel footpath across Courthouse Wash and continue on roughly 0.5 miles to the base of the cliffs. For the Golf Course Rock Art site take Highway 191 south. Turn left at the sign for the golf course. Turn right on Westwater Drive and travel roughly 0.5 miles to a small pullout situated on the left-hand side of the road.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
The majority of the rock art found around Moab is from the Formative period (AD 1 to AD 1275), an overlap of Anasazi and Fremont cultures. Courthouse Wash, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only example of the Barrier Canyon Style attributed to Archaic culture that inhabited the area seasonally between 5,500 BC and AD 1. Binoculars are helpful for viewing rock art located high up on the rock walls.
 
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A FREE outdoor art museum

Submitted on 19 December 2007 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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In a town where outfitters reign, it was refreshing to find something fun for free. Not only did my 8-year-old daughter and 18-year-old niece find the rock art impressive they equated the experience to a trip to an outdoor art museum. Rembrandt, Chagall, Fremont petroglyphs. Why not?
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