Potash Road Rock Art Site

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.1-0.25 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4004 - 4015 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Potash Road MM 10-11
Fee: none
Attractions: Numerous petroglyphs




The Potash Road Rock Art site is part of the Moab Rock Art Auto Tour in Moab, Utah. The self guided tour includes a half dozen sites located close to Moab that are easily accessible without a lot of hiking. Along the Potash Road on the north side of the Colorado River there are hundreds of petroglyphs that are visible from the road.


The Potash Road and Utah Scenic Byway 279 are one and the same highway. To get there drive north out of Moab on Highway 191. The Potash Road comes up on the left, or west side of the highway, before reaching the entrance to Arches National Park. Follow the Potash Road for about 5 miles watching for the sign in this picture.


There are actually 2 'Indian Writing' signs that are within about a tenth of a mile of each other. The petroglyphs can be found on the cliffs on the opposite side of the road about 20-30 feet up. Around the time the petroglyphs were made there would have been a talus slope along the base of the cliff. The talus was removed when the highway was constructed and that is why the petroglyphs appear to be so high up off of the ground today.


With the petroglyphs being so high from the ground it can be difficult to pick out the details without a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens.


Here is part of the image above taken with a 250mm zoom lens.


There are so many petroglyphs at this site that we are only going to show a few of them here. Note that the 2 larger images on the right have bows and arrows and are carrying shields.


Some of the petroglyphs are around corners from the cliff face and are easily missed.


This is one of the two rows of 'doll cutouts' that are mentioned on the kiosk to watch for.


This iconic panel is the big bear petroglyph. Notice that there are three hunters, one shooting the bear in the snout or head, one in the back and one in the foot. Perhaps the panel is retelling the story of a huge bear that these three men surrounded and killed.


A little further down the road heading west is the Poison Spider Dinosaur Track site where high up the slope on the cliffs there are quite a few more petroglyphs to see. We have stopped and photographed the petroglyphs in this area several times and have never felt truly happy with the results. Petroglyph pictures usually come out best when the ambient light is a little diffused and not shining directly on the images. On this trip it was probably just a little too dark for good photos. If you like petroglyphs then you are sure to enjoy the ones along the Potash Road. If you would like to see them for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.