Bartlett Pictographs: Out Of This World Rock Art In Moab, Utah

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As you know, the theme of my last trip to Moab was rock art and the Bartlett Rock Art was one I was very excited about.  These pictographs are Barrier Style, a style that was featured on Ancient Aliens (if you know which episode, please let me know in the comments!)  The figures look kind of like robot aliens and I love them.

These were surprisingly easy to get to and you don’t actually have to hike very far.  We saw one other small group of people there, but they were on their way out so we had it all to ourselves.  The trail has recently been rerouted to follow the Slickrock so please stay on the cairned route to help the restoration.

Parts of the rock art have fallen away, but it’s still very easy to see.  I would definitely recommend visiting these if you’re interested in rock art, aliens, or just generally cool stuff.  They’re easy to get to, close to other things you’ll probably be doing, and just a very unique thing to do in Moab.  It’s also the perfect addition to a southern Utah road trip or Trail of the Ancients road trip.


Things to keep in mind when visiting ruins:

  • Do not touch the rock art (pictographs or petroglyphs) because the oils on our fingers can degrade them.
  • If you find artifacts, do not take them.  Leave them where they are and just take pictures.
  • If there are structures (rooms, kivas, anything like that) don’t enter them unless it is stated that you can.  Most places you can’t but national and state parks will have restored structures you can enter.  Mesa Verde, Edge of the Cedars, and Anasazi Museum all have ruins you can enter.
  • And finally, don’t carve in or write on the rocks!  I don’t want to have to say this, but I need to fo sho.


What to bring camping in Utah

Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side.  They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.

Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry!  I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese.  There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and humid and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Neutrogena a lot, but if you’ll be visiting a beach soon, you’ll want a reef-safe sunscreen.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.  A baseball hat should be fine but a bucket hat or sun hat could help keep the sun off your neck.

Sunglasses – This is a must, especially with the strong desert sun.  Sunglasses are best paired with a hat on those really bright days.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and especially higher on the mountain.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking.  This isn’t the exact one I have, but it’s similar and if I needed to replace mine, I’d probably get this one.

Cozy Sweatshirt – I have a few different Patagonia sweatshirts and love them all.  They’re great for layering in cold weather.  I have two Re-tools, a Better Sweater, and a Synchilla.  Sometimes you can find them on sale on REI or Backcountry.  I also like to keep an eye out for them on Poshmark (use code REDAROUNDWORLD for $10 off your first purchase) and Mercari (you can save $10 with that link as well!)  I’ve found some really good deals on both.

For Camping

Tent – I love the REI Passage 2 tent for one or two people.  It’s small and fairly light.  If you need a four-person tent, I’d go with this one, the REI Half DomeYou can check out my tent here.

Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy!  The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar.  It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way.  Buy the sleeping pad here.

Sleeping Bag – I have the Nemo Viola 35 and love it because it’s not as restrictive as the mummy bags.  It has ventilation slits for those warmer nights.  Check out my sleeping bag here.

Puffy quilt – If you’re a really warm sleeper and visiting in the summer, a puffy quilt might be a better option.  I prefer this for hotter nights.  Check out the Rumpl camp quilts here.

Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow.  This is a good non-inflatible option.  Here is a good inflatable option.

Camp chairs – If you plan on doing a lot of camping outside of this trip, and backpacking especially, the REI Flexlite chairs are great choices.  Check out the camp chairs here.

Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it.  Buy the LuminAID lantern here.


Where is the Bartlett Rock Art site?

The Bartlett Rock Art site is off of Dubinky Well Road which branches off of Highway 313 which takes you up to Canyonlands.  It’s near Lone Mesa Campground.

Once you turn off of 313 the road is dirt, but a normal car can make it almost all the way to the parking area.  There is a really rough section right at the end of the road before the trail starts but you can park right before that and walk to the trailhead.  It’s a short walk and hike, so don’t worry.  It doesn’t add much.

How to get to the Bartlett Rock Art site

From Moab, head out towards Canyonlands National Park.  Turn onto Highway 313 then follow it for about 8.4 miles and turn at the Lone Mesa Campground sign.  This is Dubinky Well Road, but it is not signed at all.  There is a campground sign, though.

Follow Dubink Well Road for 0.8ish miles then take the left turn.  There is no sign on this road either, except one that says Day Use Area.  A regular car should be fine almost the whole way if it’s dry.  If you don’t feel comfortable driving on the last turnoff road, you can park at the turnoff and walk the rest of the dirt road, making the hike 1.2ish miles round-trip.  If you go to the end of the road by the trailhead, it’s 0.2 miles.


How much is the Bartlett Rock Art site?

Free!  Just make sure you respect the site and the restoration going on.  You should plan 2ish hours for this.

Camping near Bartlett Rock Art

You can camp in Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse Point State Park.  You can also camp out at Willow Spring, Lone Mesa Campground (closest to the site), or Dalton Well Road.  You can read more about camping here.


Other things to do in the area:


Overall, I would highly recommend this site if you have a spare couple of hours and want something a little weird on your bucket list.  It’s right on a main highway and you’ll most likely be passing it anyway.  If you want a little adventure, I’d consider this.

Have you been to the Bartlett Rock Art Site?  Do you want to go?  What are the coolest pictographs you’ve seen?


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