Some Of The Best Petroglyphs In Moab
In the canyonlands of southern Utah lies the picturesque town of Moab, a traveler’s base for many extraordinary adventures that can be had nearby. A top reason to visit in this amazing part of the country is to explore the great abundance of rock art that the area holds. Many of our Moab canyoneering trips feature up close viewing, additional information about the sites and views of lesser known, hidden panels . The ancient rock artworks date from as early as 5500 BC. Here’s some information about some of the most popular rock art sites in this part of Utah and where to find petroglyphs in Moab.
The large area of cliff wall by the Colorado River along Potash Road is where you’ll find the Potash Road Petroglyphs. You’ll find petroglyphs scattered along the cliff. Some are up high, others are low to the ground. Don’t forget to look behind the vegetation and in the numerous, smaller, alcoves that punctuate the main cliff.
Location: (About 10 miles from Moab) Take US 191 north, to UT 279 south. The rock art and cliff will be on the right. There is signage for the Petroglyphs which are just past the Wall Street rock climbing area.
Time: For this site, allow an hour, or 1-2 hours if you want to see nearby sites too.
Trail Length: You can view these spectacular, vivid petroglyphs from your car.
These petroglyphs are well worth the effort to stop by and see, and they’re convenient to reach as you’re on your way from Moab to visit Birthing Rock. The Moonflower Canyon Petroglyphs are on a small area of the cliff wall right beside the road, so you don’t need to hike into the canyon to see them.
Location: (About 3.3 miles from Moab) Off of Hwy 191 turn onto Kane Creek Blvd. Follow the road west the petroglyphs are on the left, beside the Moonflower Canyon campgrounds.
Time: Plan for an hour, or a bit longer if you want to hike a little into the Canyon too.
Trail Length: No hiking is necessary. The rock art is by the parking lot for entering the canyon.
The Birthing Rock panel is on a large boulder beside Kane Creek Boulevard. Its namesake petroglyph depicts a woman giving birth to a baby. This is one of, only a handful of “birthing scenes” found in the southwest. It’s one of Moab’s most unique ancient rock artworks.
Location: (About 6.3 miles from Moab) Take Kane Creek Blvd west and continue onto the dirt road after crossing the cattle guard. Continue 1.4 miles on the gravel road to the pull-out on the west side, and walk about 75 feet west downhill to the big boulder with the rock art.
Time: About 1 to 2 hours to include other stops.
Trail Length: 150 feet, an easy walk from parking to the boulder.
The Golf Course Petroglyphs feature Moab Man, a triangular-shaped figure with stunning earrings. There are similar figures of varying sizes, as well as, other figures. These are behind a fence, but this convenient site offers Moab’s most accessible petroglyphs.
Location: (About 5.9 miles from Moab) Take US 191 south. Go left on E Spanish Trail Rd to Westwater Dr. Go about a mile. Pass through the residential area outside the golf course. The petroglyphs are on the left.
Time: Probably best to allow at least 30 to 45 minutes, including driving time.
Trail Length: There’s no hiking involved. Just park and walk a few feet to the fence for viewing.
Some of these fascinating images are nearly identical to those at the Indian Creek Recreation Area nearly 35 miles away. Many are faded and it’s sometimes hard to figure out what you are viewing. Additionally this site has been vandalised by recent visitors. Much of the art has been impacted by graffiti but this site is still worth a visit.
Location: (About 14 miles from Moab) Take US 191 north about 4.1 miles to UT 279 S. The petroglyphs are on the left near the Gold Bar Group Campground. They’re along the north side of the railroad tracks across just inside the entry to Dragonfly Canyon.
Time: Allow around 30 minutes for a short easy walk and time to view the rock art.
Trail Length: From the (unmarked) Gold Bar Trailhead it’s about 0.3 miles roundtrip.
This rock art site is a bit different as you’ll be viewing Pictographs which are paintings rather than petroglyphs which are carvings. The site features images of humans, shields, sheep, dogs, birds, and various abstract shapes painted or carved on the rock. There are also small petroglyphs carved into nearby boulders at the cliff bases. The large figures of the Courthouse Wash Pictographs are believed to be from, 5,000 – 750 B.C. This is an official national historical site.
Location: (About 3 miles from Moab) Take US 191 north to the gravel path of the Courthouse Wash Rock Art Trail, and walk east to the cliff bases. Look up to see the faint petroglyphs. (If you reach Courthouse Wash, you’ve gone too far.)
Time: Allow about 45 minutes.
Trail Length: Walk uphill for a short distance of about 500 feet to the base of the cliffs.
Things to Keep In Mind When Visiting Rock Art & Ruins
You’ve come to Moab to enjoy the scenery, discover the many fascinating petroglyphs and pictographs and experiences the multitude of exciting things to do near Moab!
Please remember to be careful with these ancient cultural treasures:
- Don’t touch the petroglyphs or pictographs because fingers have natural oils that contribute to the degradation of rock art.
- If you find an artifact, don’t take it. Just leave it where it is and just take pictures of it.
- If there are rooms or other structures, don’t enter unless it’s posted that it’s allowed.
- Do NOT write on, draw on, paint, or carve the rocks!
Red River Adventures – For all your Moab adventures
We provide the most fun and exciting guided adventures in the Moab Utah area. For family fun afternoon excursions or multiple days of exploring wilderness wonders, we’ll take you there!
Red River Adventures is in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.