5 ancient cave art sites to visit
Reading Time: 2 minutes Utah is full of rich historical sites to visit, and among them are incredible cave art sites located throughout the state.
There are many beautiful hiking trails and national parks throughout Utah. Hidden throughout these places is ancient cave art from Native American tribes who lived here long before European settlers. Here is a guide to finding these relics.
The Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is 53 miles south of Moab, just outside Canyonlands National Park. This monument features a rock panel with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. Newspaper Rock contains hundreds of petroglyphs and is one of the best preserved and accessible rock art locations in Southern Utah. The carvings include pictures of deer, buffalo, antelope, and riders on horses.
In Arches National Park, the Ute Indian Petroglyphs, located just off the Delicate Arch hiking trail, make a perfect stop for those already visiting the park. These petroglyphs were carved sometime between 1650 and 1850 A.D., and they feature riders on horses surrounded by bighorn sheep and dog-like animals.
The next set of petroglyphs is up Dry Fork Canyon on a 200-foot-high sandstone cliff. These carvings are on the Sadie McConkie Ranch. The owners have opened it up to the public on the condition that visitors obey all the signs and do not destroy the art. The figures in the petroglyphs represent Fremont culture and some of them are up to 9 feet tall.
In November 1983, during the construction of Interstate 70 through Clear Creek Canyon, workers discovered the largest known Fremont village. In 1985, Utah Legislature established the Fremont Indian State Park to preserve the vast amounts of rock art and archeological sites found there. The park is unique because it contains petroglyphs and pictographs painted on canyon walls. It is one of the best spots in Utah to see ancient rock art.
The final location is Nine Mile Canyon, nicknamed “Utah’s Outdoor Museum” due to the amount of well-preserved rock art created by the Fremont Culture over 1,000 years ago. The famous “Great Hunt Panel” is in the canyon, and scholars believe it may represent an actual hunting event. The detailed design and amazing preservation of this panel has made it one of the most well-known rock art sites in Utah. The Nine Mile Canyon also contains other interesting historical sites and ghost towns from early settlers. Despite the deceiving name, Nine Mile Canyon is 70 miles long. Visitors should be prepared for a long drive.
Before visiting any of the ancient cave art sites in Utah and around the world, visitors should be aware that they are not allowed to touch the art because the oils produced by human hands can deteriorate the quality of preservation. Remember to have fun and always take proper precautions when hiking and driving.