Newspaper Rock

Round Trip Distance: 0.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4679 - 5466 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Newspaper Rock
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Newspaper Rock National Historic Site is located along US Highway 211 in southeastern Utah. To get there you either drive south for 40 miles from Moab or north for 14 miles from Monticello on US Highway 191 and turn west on US Highway 211 and drive another 12 miles to the site. US Highway 211 also leads to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park which is another 22 miles down the road.

Newspaper Rock is a mere stop along the road but with petroglyphs, some of which date back thousands of years to the Archaic period to more recent Native American, it is a significant site to visit. While the site is off the beaten path it still receives many visitors. Most of those visitors are in route to and from the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

The patina covered surface of the cliff is densely packed with many different etchings. There isn't a good method for dating each of the images other than by style and content.

The BLM and Park Service are always quick to point out on their signs, whether here or at other sites, that the meaning of the rock art is unknown. Many of the symbols themselves are easy to identify so why so much trouble finding meaning? Often there is more than one meaning that is being conveyed by the art. Here at Newspaper Rock interpretation is further complicated by the mixture of symbols having been added over the space of thousands of years.

Some images that are easy to pick out are the numerous bear paws, deer, mountain lion, coyote, horse, bighorn and buffalo.

You have got to love this table.

At first glance the Newspaper Rock site appears to be a collection of hunting scenes and nothing more but when the images are viewed separately there is what appears to be the 'Tree of Life' symbol and a 'Venus' symbol. Perhaps at the time they were first etched the panel was trying to tell some different stories. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.