Campground Pictorgraphs

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5283 - 5289 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Temple Mountain Road
Fee: none
Attractions: pictographs, sharpening grooves




This post is for a panel of pictographs that are located across the Temple Mountain Road from the east campground in the San Rafael Swell near Hanksville, Utah. The site also has a cowboy inscription and artwork that dates to 1891 as well as numerous sharpening grooves on a few boulders in a nearby alcove.


The site is located on the opposite side of the road from the campground just before the Temple Mountain Road enters the reef. There are pullouts on both sides of the road that are big enough for 1 or 2 vehicles or just stroll over from the campground where there are also restrooms available.


The site is only a hundred feet or so from the pavement where there is an outcropping mound of sandstone.


The pictographs are very faded but they are visible from the road. There are more images below the four that we outlined that were indiscernible. At first we thought the image that we outlined in black was a Bear Clan symbol or bear paw but it appears to be a hand instead. The cowboy added his artwork right over the top of some of the images.


There is an interesting amount of detail in John's 19th century selfie.


To the left of the pictographs there is a small alcove with a number of boulders all of which have sharpening grooves and some possible petroglyphs.


Following 19th century John's unfortunate example the site has been heavily vandalized by others that apparently didn't understand the great value that archaeological sites have to offer. While it may not have been illegal in the 19th century today it is unlawful to vandalize or disturb a site in any manner.


This boulder has a number of sharpening grooves and what may have also been a map.


One of the boulders in the back of the alcove has a few more sharpening grooves along with a metate.


The site across from the campground is interesting to visit for several reasons. Much of the prehistoric significance is lost due to all the vandalism at the site. It doesn't appear to resemble a traditional calendar site but if the the four images are dancers they might have represented some particular festival. Anyway, the site is easily accessible and shows some of the areas rich history. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.