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Head of Sinbad

San Rafael Swell
Pictographs and Petroglyphs

          This guide provides the information required to locate rock art in the San Rafael Swell.   All of the sites listed are accessible in the family car or require only a short walk.  Be aware that many of the roads listed are maintained gravel roads, which can become unserviceable in wet weather.  These sites are all senior and children friendly.  Leave only footprint, take only pictures.

          If you are new to Native American rock art it is helpful to know that pictographs are paintings on the rock, petroglyphs are chipped into the rock.

Black Dragon Canyon:
          Black Dragon Canyon is very popular with rock art enthusiasts.  The panel receives its name from a pictograph, which resembles a flying dragon.  Pictographs and petroglyphs are spread out along the base of the high canyon walls.  Unfortunately, the site has been seriously damage by inconsiderate visitors.  DO NOT outline pictographs with chalk for photographing.

Black Dragon & Petrogylph CanyonLocation: Black Dragon Canyon is located just north of I-70 near the San Rafael River.  From Green River Utah go west on I-70 for 12 1/2 miles.  50-feet west of mile marker 147 is a graded county road on the north side of I-70, there is no sign.  If you are eastbound on I-70, the is an underpass 2 miles east at mile marker 149 that you can use to safely turn around.  Go through the gate and follow the graded road north for 0.7 miles.  There is a track on the west (left) which leads to the start of the Pictograph Canyon hike.  Continue on the main road for 0.3 miles to the fork in the road.  The left (west) fork leads to Black Dragon Canyon.  The right fork leads to the San Rafael River.  The Famous Black Dragon Panel (GPS Coordinates N38 56' 29", W110 25' 27") is located 0.6 miles up the left fork on the north (right) side of the canyon, behind a log BLM fence.  The last 1/2 mile of track before the panel is occasionally washed out, which means an easy hike is required.

Black Dragon Black Dragon

Petroglyph Canyon:
Petroglyph Canyon         Petroglyph Canyon contains two rock art panels.  The first panel is very faded and scared with gringogylphs.  The second panel is very spectacular, small, easy to find and undamaged.  This hike also visits a triple arch located in Arch Canyon.  This is an excellent hike for seniors and children.  Navigation along hiker made trails is easy and there are no hills to climb.

Location: Petroglyph Canyon is located just north of I-70 near the San Rafael River.  From Green River Utah go west on I-70 for 12 1/2 miles.  50-feet west of mile marker 147 is a graded county road on the north side of I-70, there is no sign.  If you are eastbound on I-70, the is an underpass 2 miles east at mile marker 149 that you can use to safely turn around.  Go through the gate and follow the graded road north for 0.7 miles.  There is a track on the west (left) which leads to the start of the Pictograph Canyon hike.  Travel down the track 1/4 mile and park or camp under the cottonwood trees.

          The canyon directly west of the parking area is Box Spring Canyon.  This canyon can be hiked for about 3/4 miles.  The canyon contains a reliable spring, potholes and lush vegetation.  There is no rock art located in this canyon.

          To reach Petroglyph Canyon from the parking area go southwest along the face of the reef for ten minutes until the next drainage is reached.  Go west up the canyon, known as Arch Canyon, to the end.  There is a triple arch and a seasonal plunge pool at the head of the canyon.  The arch is known as "Spirit Arch" (GPS Coordinates N38 55' 46", W110 26' 3").  The Spirit Arch will require about 20 minutes to reach from the parking area. 

          From the end of Arch Canyon, return about 300 yards to a side canyon, known as Petroglyph Canyon, on the southwest.  Follow this short canyon to near the end.  The good petroglyph panel is located just short of the canyon end (GPS Coordinates N38 55' 40", W110 25' 55").  The panel is very easy to locate on the north wall in the darkly varnished area.  A faded and vandalized panel is located approximately 100' to the right of the good panel.  The round trip hike to visit both the arch and the rock art will require approximately 1 1/2 hours round trip. 

Temple Mountain:       
          This is a very popular Barrier Style pictograph panel, which was heavily vandalized in the spring of 2000.  All of the black markings resembling ancient rock art were add by some moron, and are not authentic.

Location: From Green River Utah go west on I-70 for 11 miles, take exit 149.  Follow highway 24 south for 25 miles to the turnoff to Goblin Valley.  Follow the Goblin Valley road west for 5.2 miles to the Goblin Valley Junction.  Follow the Southern Reef Road west for 0.9 miles.  The Barrier Canyon style pictographs are visible from the road on the north (right) side of the canyon.

Temple Mountain

Head of Sinbad:
          This area contains two pictograph panels often referred to as "Head of Sinbad".   You will also want to visit "Dutchman Arch" if you are in the area.   The pictographs are in very good condition and have not been vandalized.   Dutchman Arch was named after a Dutchman who worked cattle in the area.

Head of Sinbad & Dutchman's ArchLocation:The San Rafael Swell is criss-crossed with roads.  Stay on the road described until told to turn off of it.

          Take I-70 to Exit 131 (mile marker 131). From the cattle guard on the south side of the underpass, follow the graded dirt road signed U24/Goblin Valley/Temple Mountain, for 3.9 miles.  Take the right (west) fork for 1.0 mile to a tee.  Turn right (west) and travel 1.7 miles to a fork.   Take the right (north) fork for 2.3 miles to the concrete underpass under I-70 and a BLM sign.

          The BLM sign is located at a major road junction of the San Rafael Swell known as the "Head of Sinbad".  From the BLM sign, you must travel north, under I-70 using the concrete underpass.  On the North side of I-70 the dirt road forks.

          The left fork leads to Dutchman's Arch, which is approximately 3/4 mile from the underpass.   To reach the arch follow the left fork for 1/4 mile until you reach an intersection.  Turn Left (west) at the intersection and follow the road to Dutchman Arch (GPS Coordinates N38 52' 21", W110 47' 17").  The arch is easy to find and sits 50' to the right of the dirt road.

          From the concrete underpass The right fork leads to the center of a long rock butte known as "Locomotive Point" which is approximately 1 1/2 miles from the underpass.  To reach the Head of Sinbad pictographs follow the right fork for 1/4 mile until you reach a tee.  Turn right (east) at the tee and follow the main road.  The panels are located near the center, on the south side of Locomotive Point (GPS Coordinates N38 52' 48", W110 46' 13").   There are two Barrier Style pictograph panels enclosed inside a log BLM fence.

Head of Sinbad Dutchman's Arch

Rochester Rock Art Panel:
          This site contains a very impressive collection of petroglyphs on a rock point overlooking the Muddy River.  This is an excellent 1/2 mile hike for seniors and children.   Navigation along a semi-maintained trail is easy.

Location:  From the town of Emery travel 3 1/2 miles north on highway 10.  Take the turnoff for the town of Moore.  Drive east for 0.6 miles to the signed turnoff to "Rochester Rock Art Panel".  Follow the well-maintained gravel road south for 4 miles to a large parking area.

          The trail begins on the east side of the parking area.  Follow the trail down the east side of the hill.  The trail soon turns south and climbs to a ridge overlooking the Muddy River.  The main petroglyph panel (GPS Coordinates N38 54' 10", W111 11' 53") is on the rocky point and faces east.  There are many smaller panels in the area if you explore the rocks.

Rochester Panel Rochester Panel

Additional Pictograph & Petroglyph Sites:
         The following rock art sites are in or near the San Rafael Swell.   Each of these sites is impressive enough to require an entire web page.

Horseshoe Canyon is a detached unit of Canyonlands National Park.   This canyon requires a half-day round trip hike to what many consider the finest pictograph site in the world.  All other pictograph sites are compared to the rock art found in this canyon.

Nine Mile Canyon is often referred to as the worlds longest art gallery.  Nine Mile Canyon is located north of the San Rafael Swell and is a must visit for every rock art enthusiast.  The canyon is 40 miles long, vehicle accessible and requires a full day to visit.

Sego Canyon contains three magnificent rock art panels and a ghost town.  The rock art is from three different Native American cultures.  The pictograph and petroglyph panels in Sego Canyon are some of the finest vehicle accessible rock art in the San Rafael Swell and will require 2 or 3 hours to visit.


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