Swelter Shelter

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: .25 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4812 - 4829 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Stop 1
Fee: $25/vehicle
Attractions: Rock art




The Swelter Shelter is in the Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal, Utah. Located about a half mile past the Visitor Center it is the first stop on the Tour of the Slanted Rocks Drive. With numerous pictographs and petroglyphs the shelter is an example of the Fremont Indians life dating back over 1,000 years ago.


To get there find your way to the main entrance of Dinosaur National Monument by driving about 4 miles north on Highway 149 in Jensen, Utah.


The trailhead is a pullout on each side of the road about a half mile past the Visitor Center.


From the roadway follow the maintained trail a short distance to the nearby cliff.


The Park Service has added a set of stone steps leading up to an observation deck in front of the shelter.


From the observation deck there is a view down into the shelter and of the rock art that covers the smooth sections of rock right above it.


The images have weathered and faded over time making much of the original paint hard to discern. We traced a few of the images on the computer to make them stand out.


A side trail that looks to get a lot of use leads toward some nearby boulders.


The only thing of interest that we found in that direction was part of a necklace wearing image that is similar to those further down the Tour of the Slanted Rocks Drive in the Cub Creek area. The image is located high up on the cliff behind the boulders.


There are a few other petroglyphs just to the right of the Swelter Shelter as well as one on a boulder at the observation deck. Also to the right of the observation deck is an overhang that is covered with black soot from ancient fires that once burned there. Looking around the area one might wonder how far they had to go in search of firewood as the immediate area is completely treeless. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.