Head of Sinbad

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.2 - 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6984 - 7092 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Head of Sinbad
Fee: none
Attractions: Barrier Canyon style pictographs




View Head of Sinbad Rock Art Site in a larger map

The Head of Sinbad Pictograph site is located about 35 miles west of Green River, Utah. The area is managed by the BLM and is commonly referred to as the Head of Sinbad. In this context the name refers to the limestone member of the Moenkopi Formation and not to the fabled sailor of Middle Eastern origin. Isn't it interesting that in an area famous for its towering red sandstone cliffs that there is a band of limestone that was deposited at a time when a shallow sea covered the western part of the continent.


The Head of Sinbad is only about a half mile north of Interstate 70 but to get there you have to take a round about route. Travel west from Green River, Utah on I-70 and take exit 131 the Temple Mountain Road. The Temple Mountain Road heads south under the interstate at this point. The road to the north is the Cottonwood Wash Road which leads to the famous Buckskin Wash rock art site. Follow the Temple Mountain Road for about 5 miles, turn right and go for about 1 more mile to a 'T' intersection, turn right again and drive for another 3.4 miles, turn right and follow the road as it passes through a viaduct under the interstate. The viaduct has a cement bottom. When we went through it was holding about 5 inches of water from a rain storm the night before. The road splits after you pass under the interstate. Follow the right fork to get to the pictograph site. The left fork leads to Dutchmans Arch which is about a half mile away in the other direction.


There are several roads in the area going in different directions but with a little extra information you can drive right to the site which is just to the right of center in the photo. How far you drive before you start walking will depend entirely on what you are driving. There are places where the sand gets deep at times and the last quarter mile of the road has some huge ruts in it. We parked about a half mile away and walked from there.


After passing under the interstate stay to the right. Another road connects on your left after a short distance. This road also heads over to Dutchmens Arch. Stay to the right at that point and continue until the road forks again. Take the left branch that heads toward the cliff. There is a brown mylar marker for the 644 trail at this junction that points to the right. That trail parallels the interstate heading east and later passes under it and connects to the Temple Mountain Road. Someone wanting to do a longer hike or someone on a mountain bike could use that trail to get here.


We actually used our binoculars to spot this corral pole fence. It is common for the BLM to erect these to keep cows away from sites they are trying to protect. We could see it from where we parked.


There are only 2 small panels of Barrier Canyon style pictographs but they are fascinating when you consider them. This panel has 2 large Kachina type figures. One is holding a snake in its hand and the other has one or two near its mouth. Using information discovered elsewhere it appears that their feet are showing movement as perhaps dancing as in a ceremony. This panel may be a depiction of a snake dance that is reminiscent of the Hopi Snake Dance that is still an important ceremony in their Kachina belief system to this day. The Hopi carry handfuls of snakes and even hold them in their mouth by the middle of their body. The Hopi have always said that these were their ancestors. The 4 comets and other images also provoke interesting speculation. (and if you are wondering rattlesnakes are among those used in their ceremony.)


There are more images to the left of these 2 but most unfortunately they are badly stained. Too bad they don't have the means to restore them.


Another smaller panel is to the right of the first. This panel is also interesting to speculate about.


A sandstone surface to the west of the panels has some sharpening grooves on it. Some of the newer grooves form a pattern similar to what can be seen at other sites.


The Head of Sinbad area is fun to explore. There are dozens of interesting places ranging from rock art sites such as this, historic sites like the Swasey Cabin and arches, slot canyons and potholes. If you know where to look you can spot several of the wild burro herds that are descended from the time the Northern Branch of the Spanish Trail passed through the area as well as deer, elk and antelope. Some of these places are a little off the beaten path so it is nice to bundle several of them together to make the trip worthwhile. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.