Bartlett pictographs Moab Utah

Aliens, Robots, And Intestines, Oh My! These Are Some Of The Best Petroglyphs In Moab

I finally have all of my Moab rock art posts up and can share this one, too!  These are some of the best petroglyphs in Moab because of the subject and accessibility.  All of these are easy to get to and some of them are pretty unique.

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for ages, but hadn’t been to a lot of these until my parents came to visit and we spent four days in Moab this fall.  Rock art and other ancient things kind of became our theme for their visit this year.  So, I hope some of this helps you get away from the big crowds in Moab and helps you see some really cool rock art.

I won’t be going into a lot of depth with each of these, but I have full posts on almost all of them, so I’ll link to those.  You can find full directions in those posts.  I will include maps of as many as possible.  And I’m going to say it right below this, too, but pleeeease be respectful of the rock art and don’t try to steal any of it or vandalize it.  For the how long do I need for these, I’ll be including driving time from Moab and time to see just that site, not in combination with others near it.  I will include a section at the bottom that says which are close to each other and can be seen together.

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Things to keep in mind when visiting rock art & 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 VerdeEdge of the Cedars, and Anasazi Museum all have ruins you can enter.
  • And finally, don’t carve in or write or paint or draw on the rocks!  I don’t want to have to say this, but I need to fo sho.

Sego Canyon Pictographs

First up is Sego Canyon pictographs!  These suckers are cool, probably the coolest on this list.  Sego Canyon is home to quite the collection of lifesize alien-like figures.  You can see rock art styles from three different time periods.  They’re all really cool, but the Barrier Style were my favorites.

Where are these?

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How long do I need for this?

If you’re doing this as a day trip from Moab, I would say three hours at least.  Since it’s right along the Interstate, you can always stop on your way to or from Moab.  It’s less than ten miles from the Interstate on paved roads.

How long is the trail?

Less than half a mile to see everything.  The parking area is right next to the roack art sites and there are bathrooms.

Bartlett Pictographs

These are like Sego Canyon lite.  Here you’ll find a row of life-sizee eerie robot-like figures towering over you on the alcove wall.  There isn’t any evidence of people living in this alcove, but they certainly used it for something.  These are surprisingly easy to get to and totally worth the time if you have it.  They make a great stop on your way to or from Canyonlands.  Please stay on the slickrock because the area is being restored.

Where are these?

This map isn’t exact.  It is for the Lone Mesa campground group site, but instead of going to that, you don’t turn off to it.  Keep going on the dirt road and it will be a turnoff on the left.  Full specific directions can be found in the post.  If it is raining or has just recently rained, these may be harder to get to and I wouldn’t drive on the dirt road.

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How long do I need for this?

If you’re just going to see this from Moab, I would plan an hour and a half to two hours.  If you stop on your way to or from Canyonlands or Dead Horse Point, I would maybe add 30-45 minutes.

How long is the trail?

Less than half a mile round trip if you can drive all the way to the parking area.  If not, or if you’re not comfortable driving on the side road, it could be up to two miles tround-trip.

Intestine Man Pictographs

The Intestine Man pictographs are a strange little set of rock art on the side of the road next to an alcove.  They get their name from the main featured guy that looks like, well, his intestines are showing.  He’s accompanied by a couple friends and a flock of parrots.  The human figures are adorned with different feathery accoutrements with some smaller birds nearby as well.

They are to the left of the alcove and to the right of it you’ll find some sheep petorglyps that look a bit like big TVs.  There are some other interesting things over by these as well, including a perfect star.

Where are these?

While the map says closed, they are not.  There is no way to close this, really.  They are just on the side of Highway 313, the one that goes to Canyonlands.  I don’t know if they were closed off at some point, but please, like everywhere else, be respectful and don’t vandalize the site.

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How long do I need for this?

I would plan an hour to an hour and a half.  We were there for quite a while just looking for the petroglyphs that are close to it.  You can read about those in the full post.  But just for the Intestine Man, no bonus glyphs, I’d say an hour should be good.

How long is the trail?

Less than half a mile round trip if you’re parked in the pullout right by the alcove that they’re by.  Closer to half a mile round-trip if you’re parked by the cow gate before these.  They are right on the side of the road.

Golf Course Petroglyphs (Moab Man)

The petroglyph site by the Moab Golf Course is the home of the Moab Man, a triangular man with some killer earrings.  There are actually a few of these guys at this site in varying sizes, along with quite a few other figures, but the Moab Man is the highlight of the site.

These are behind a fence so you can’t get right up to them, but it’s close so it’s still easy to see them.  Please don’t go over the fence to get closer.

Where are these?

To get to these you’ll be passing through a residential area, so like the rock art sites, be respectful of the residents, too.  These aren’t in the golf course, but just outside of it.

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How long do I need for this?

These are a quick stop.  I would say 30-45 minutes, drive time included.  Less if you’re visiting on your way in or out of town.

How long is the trail?

None?  You park and walk like five feet to the fence so you can see them.  The parking lot might have been gravel, I honestly can’t remember, but anyone should be able to see these.

Potash Road Petroglyphs

There is a good sized section of wall right along the Colorado River on Potash Road where you can see tons of different petroglyphs.  They’re up a little high, but they’re still very easy to see.  And make sure you look on the sides of the wall and in the cracks becausee you can see them there, too!  This is a great easy stop not too far from the entrance to Arches.

Where are these?

This map isn’t exact, it’s to the Wall Street climbing area, but the rock art is just after it.  There is a sign and small dirt parking area on the river side of the road.  Be careful crossing the road to the rock art.  It can be busy in the area.

Potash Road Moab petroglyphs

How long do I need for this?

Just for the petroglyphs, maybe an hour.  If you want to see other things along the road or hike to Corona Arch, two to four depending on how much you stop and what you do.

How long is the trail?

Howeveer wide the street is.  There is parking on the side of the road by the river and you just cross over to the other side.  The seection with the rock art is maybe fifty feet wide?  I honestly can’t tell distances so that could be wrong, either way, it’s not a far walk.

Birthing Rock Petroglyphs

The Birthing Rock panel is on a giant boulder along the side of Kane Creek Boulevard.  It’s exactly what it sounds like, a woman giving birth to a massive baby.  It even looks like there’s a doctor next to her.  This is the highlight of the boulder, which features different petroglyphs on each side.  If you want to see something a little weird and totally different, this is the stop for you.  These are in the same post as Moonflower Canyon, linked below.

Where are these?

There is a parking pullout just past the boulder, which is very easy to spot when you’re driving.  The road is paved probably half of the way, but once it switches to dirt, it’s eeasy and any car should be fine on it.  If it has reecently rained or is raining, I’d be more cautious about driving on it.

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How long do I need for this?

You have to drivee slower on the road out to these, so I would say 1.5-2 hours.  That should give you time for any stops along the way.

How long is the trail?

Less than half a mile round trip.  There is a short walk from the parking down to the boulder that is the home of the Birthing panel, but it’s not hard.  There is a bit of a scramble down to the boulder, but I think if you walk past it a bit, it will be easier to get down.

Moonflower Canyon Petroglyphs

While these aren’t the coolest petroglyphs in Moab, they are still worth seeing, especially since they’re on the way to the Birthing Rock.  There is a small seection of the cliff wall right next to the road that is home to the petroglyphs, it’s not in the canyon.

Where are these?

These are right along the road by the Moonflower Canyon camping area.  When you’re in the parking lot, it’s to the right if your back is to the road.  They are not in the canyon.

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How long do I need for this?

For just these, an hour is probably enough.  You can just see the petroglyphs or you can hike into Moonflower Canyon a bit, too.  You can’t go too far into it but it’s a nice walk.

How long is the trail?

Not much.  The parking area is right next to the site which is right along the road.  If you walk into the canyon, it’s maybe half a mile at most in and out.

Wolfe Ranch Petroglyphs

The Wolfe Ranch (Turnbow Cabin) was settled by John Wesley Wolfe and his son in 1898, but they weren’t the only ones to live here.  Or at least pass through.  Just a short walk from the cabin you’ll find a small panel of big horn sheep petroglyphs.  They’re not the most impressive rock art in Moab, but they are pretty cute and worth the short detour on thee trail.

Where are these?

These are on the trail to Delicate Arch.  There is a little loop at the beginning of the trail off on the side, they are down there.  There is a sign so you know where to go.

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How long do I need for this?

Just to see the petroglyphs, if you’re already in the park, maybe 20 minutes.  It’s a really short detour on the Delicate Arch hike.

How long is the trail?

Less than half a mile round-trip just for the petroglyphs.  Three miles round-trip for the entire hike.

When is the best time to see these petroglyphs in Moab?

There isn’t a bad time to see any of these petroglyphs in Moab, but I would say spring and fall are probably better simply because of the weather.  Summer is going to be super hot, but most of these are close to the road or easy to drive to so it’s not too big of a deal.  If you go in winter, I would just make sure the roads are good and clear before going, don’t go anywhere you’re not confident driving.

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Which ones are by each other?

Here you’ll find the rock art in Moab that you can see close to each other.  If there are other cool things to do near the site, I’ll include those, too.

  • Intestine Man, Bartlett – See these on your way to Island in the Sky or Dead Horse Point Statee Park.
  • Birthing Rock, Moonflower Canyon – On Kane Creek Boulevard you’ll find the Amasa Back Trail area and some Jeep trails.  This is a more rugged area than, say, Potash Road on the other side of the river.
  • Sego Canyon is along the Interstate, stop at Mill Canyon and Copper Ridge dinosaur tracks.
  • Potash Road – See the dinosaur tracks and Corona Arch.  They’re not too far from the Arches National Park entrance.
  • Wolfe Ranch – Everything in Arches National Park, like Delicate Arch, Firey Furnace, Park Avenue, Landscape Arch, and Devils Garden.
  • Moab Golf Course – These aren’t really by anthing but could be a good stop if you’re going to or coming from Monument Valley.  If you’re going this way, consider stopping at Newspaper Rock, too.

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What to bring camping in Utah

NatGeo National Parks Book – This is one of the best national park guidebooks and I take it on all my park trips.  Plus, it’s got the nice glossy pages.  Buy the book here.

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 if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season.  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.

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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.

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If you visit in winter

Warm hat – You’ll definitely want a warm hat for a winter Gooseberry Falls trip.  I have a different color of this hat and love it.  Check out the hat here.

Gloves – If you plan on being outside all day, you’ll probably want thicker gloves, but these are perfect for a few hours.  Buy my gloves here.

Hand and toe warmers – If you don’t want to get thicker gloves, bring some hand warmers.  If your feet get really cold really easily, definitely bring toe warmers.  They’re a game-changer.  Buy hand warmers here.

Warm socksSmartwool socks are always a good choice, but I also love my Farm to Feet socks.  I usually just get hiking socks and might wear a lighter pair underneath.  Check out warm socks here.

Warm bootsI love my Sorel boots.  They’re cute, comfy, and warm.  Plus, there is room under my toes for toe warmers.  Buy my boots here.

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.

Long sleeve shirt – I just have one that’s like Underarmour but not.  I think I found it at TJ Maxx.  I also just like these from Parks Project.

Have you seen any of these?  Which ones?  What is your favorite rock art in moab?  

2 thoughts on “Aliens, Robots, And Intestines, Oh My! These Are Some Of The Best Petroglyphs In Moab

  1. These are sooo cool Megan! I have never visited any of them, so i love that you have one epic post to learn about the best petroglyphs.

    I love the details on the Sego Canyon Pictographs and wooow at the intestines one!

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