Indian Creek Site #3

Round Trip Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5735 - 5870 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Highway 211 MM 3.2
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

Located in the Indian Creek Recreation Area along Highway 211, on the way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, is the famous Newspaper Rock petroglyphs site. Stretched out along Indian Creek for the next several miles past the Newspaper Rock site are four more petroglyph sites that are well worth investigating. We have numbered 3 of them as Sites #1,#2 and #3. The fourth site is more commonly known as Shay Canyon. This post covers Site #3.

To get there 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. Continue along Highway 211 for 12 miles to the Newspaper Rock Site where there is a restroom. From Newspaper Rock keep driving toward the Needles District of Canyonland National Park for another 3.5 miles where there is a pullout on the right hand side of the road. The area with the petroglyphs is along the base of the cliff a short distance away.

Getting up to the petroglyphs isn't the easiest of tasks. With no well worn trail to follow it requires scrambling up the rocky slope. There are a few segments of trail a little further north but there isn't any parking there. One might walk along the road until they see a more suitable route.

For this post we followed an old fence line toward the cliff and scrambled up to the level of the petroglyphs.

From up here it is plain that there are a lot more images than it looks like there are from the road. The first panel alone has over 40 images.

Understanding that back when these images were made that everyone that looked at them completely understood the meaning they conveyed, taken with the sheer number of images along Indian Creek, beginning at Newspaper Rock, we wondered if it showed what we would call a highly literate community.

As you work your way down the cliff there is a continual chain of panels. This one that is high up on the cliff has a lizard image that is reminiscent of ones in Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal, Utah.

There is one pictograph that is sheltered beneath an overhang. We saw other signs of painting that weren't in sheltered places and were consequently extremely faded.

There are images in so many places that are facing in different directions that it is easy to miss seeing them all.

This image seems to show a very interesting or surprising level of abstract thought.

If there is a section of cliff that looks like it could be free climbed there are probably a few images very high up.

These images that are very high up look like they may have been taking advantage of a corner to create a calendar.

We like to end each post with a shot of our vehicle so readers can see what the trailhead or parking area looks like. When there are other vehicles at a trailhead it makes it easy to see what types of cars were able to make it there. The sites along Indian Creek are all right next to the highway so obviously any vehicle will do the trick. Other than that it is a good way of conveying the notion of "bah-dea, bah-dea, bah-dea, that's all folks". If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.