Last weekend my husband and I went down into Indian Creek to look for some petroglyphs that we had heard about. All we knew about them was that they were located on the east side of the road near mile marker 4, so with that information we headed down there to see if we could find them.
Indian Creek is the area you pass through on Hwy 211 on your way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It’s a scenic byway and I think the views from the road can easily rival any National Park- it’s a beautiful drive! You might recognize the picture below- it’s the header for this blog and it was taken in Indian Creek…
I always love fall in Indian Creek and I think we caught the very end of it last weekend!
Indian Creek is also a very popular rock climbing area- I’ve heard it described as, ‘The crack climbing capitol of the world’, and you can see people climbing almost any time you drive down there.
One of the more well known stops in Indian Creek is Newspaper Rock- a large petroglyph panel right along side the road just after you drop down into the canyon.
The Newspaper Rock panel is the only signed petroglyph panel along Hwy 211, but there are a lot more- if you look up at the canyon walls as you’re driving through (maybe not a good idea if you’re the driver!) you can see quite a few petroglyphs from the road. I start to get a little car sick if I spend the whole time looking up like that, so I just look for pull-outs along the road, and then look up from there.
Mile marker 4 is just a couple miles past Newspaper Rock as you’re heading toward the Needles District of Canyonlands. When we got there we saw that there’s a small pull-out (only large enough for a few vehicles) on the right hand (east) side of the road.
We parked and just followed the trail that heads to the base of the canyon wall, and we immediately saw petroglyphs! We actually ended up finding several areas with petroglyphs, four or five places with just a few figures, then one large panel farther north.
There were a few unique figures on the largest panels…
In the picture below you can see some more modern ‘rock art’ in the crack on the far left.
In the picture below there are two snake figures and you can also see the scorpion (you have to look closely- it’s very faint) in the bottom left-hand corner.
I was completely blown away by the petroglyphs we saw that day- we’ve driven through this area countless times and had no idea that these petroglyphs were right on the side of the road! I hate to say it, but I think the more rock art I see, the harder it is to find petroglyphs and pictographs that really get me excited. But these definitely did- there were so many unique figures that I’ve never seen before! These panels have definitely made it onto my list of favorite petroglyphs in San Juan County!
From Monticello: Head north on Hwy 191 approx. 14 miles to the turn for the Needles District of Canyonlands. Turn left onto Hwy 211 and drive approximately 14 miles to mile marker 4.
From Moab: Head south on 191 approx. 40 miles to the turn for the Needles District of Canyonlands. Turn right onto Hwy 211 and drive approximately 14 miles to mile marker 4.
There is a small pull-out on the right side of the road right after the mile maker. From there, follow the trail to your right to the base of the canyon wall- the petroglyphs are located all along this wall
Distance to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:
- Monticello: 28 miles/45 km
- La Sal: 40 miles/64 km
- Blanding: 50 miles/80 km
- Bluff: 76 miles/122 km
- Mexican Hat: 102 miles/164 km
- Monument Valley: 127 miles/204 km