The Colorado Plateau contains a rich tapestry of pictographs (drawings painted on rock using natural dyes) and petroglyphs (images carved into stone). Searching out rock-art panels can easily become an obsession, and it’s a good one, since it will lead you far off the beaten path and deep into canyons that were once central for the area’s ancient inhabitants.
- Boynton Overlook: Stop at this overlook between the towns of Escalante and Boulder and scan the cliff face across the river to see a pictograph of many handprints.
- Fremont Petroglyphs: Easily viewed along Highway 24 in Capitol Reef’s Fremont River Canyon, these petroglyphs depict horned mountain sheep and humans in headdresses.
- Newspaper Rock: This easily reached showcase of rock art with an astonishing variety of images is located just outside Canyonlands’ Needles District.
- Great Gallery: One of the most important rock-art sites in the United States is found at the end of a half-day hike in Canyonlands’ Horseshoe Canyon Unit.
- Delicate Arch: On this popular hiking trail in Arches National Park, look for an often-overlooked panel of Ute-style rock-art images.
- Holly Ruins: You’ll find many petroglyphs in this portion of Hovenweep National Monument, one of Utah’s best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan villages.