Lower Cedar Mountain Petroglyphs

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 8 miles (driving)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5656 - 5802 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Green River Cutoff Rd.
Fee: none
Attractions: Four petroglyph sites




The Lower Cedar Mountain Petroglyphs are a group of 4 separate petroglyph sites that are all located within close proximity of each other along the Lower Cedar Mountain Road in the San Rafael Swell between Green River and Castle Dale, Utah. The sites include Railroad Rock, 45 Degree Rock, the Daisy Chain Panel and the Silent Sentinel site. Each site requires a minimal amount of hiking and during good conditions can be reached by most any type of vehicle from the westernmost starting point.


The Green River Cutoff Road begins on the west side of Highway 6/191 at the 17.1 mile point from Interstate 70 west of Green River, Utah. From there the cutoff road stretches for 44 miles before connecting to Highway 10 at Castle Dale.


For this post we were coming from the east and began by following the Green River Cutoff Road for 25.2 miles before turning right toward the Lower Cedar Mountain Road. A better route to avoid some bad spots in the road is to continue for another 1.4 miles before turning right. If coming from the west follow the Green River Cutoff Road for 12 miles from Castle Dale and turn left just before the BLM Information Center and restrooms. After turning left continue for another 2.9 miles of good road and make a right turn onto the Lower Cedar Mountain Road. The Lower Cedar Mountain road is so named on maps, including Google Maps, but there are no actual signs with that or any other name.


The route that we took and the alternate route that we recommend taking if coming from the east both meet up near the Dog Ponds. Just under a half mile on west of that point there is a dirt track that branches off on the right that leads to Railroad Rock.


The Railroad Rock site is actually a group of boulders that have inscriptions left by workers of the Spirit Railroad which was a project for a line through the San Rafael Swell that was abandoned before a single track was laid.


While there are a number of names on the boulders the inscriptions left by the railroad workers will have dates around the year 1881. A close examination of all sides of the boulders will also yield a few petroglyphs.


The next stop, about another half mile down the road, is 45 Degree Rock. Be sure to read the plaque at the site for some interesting information about the images.


One of the tidbits makes mention of the figure in the upper right of this photo of a man carrying a large pack. To me it looks like one of those large woven baskets that you see pictures of people still using in South America.


The next stop along the way is the Daisy Chain Panel and it is just over a quarter mile further down the road.


On the back of the big boulder there are 3 large Fremont style figures that are holding hands as well as several smaller anthropomorphic images. If you have children with you be sure to teach them not to touch the rock as the oil from their skin will dissolve away the patina that the images were pecked in causing permanent damage to the petroglyphs.


The final stop is the Silent Sentinel site. It sits at the end of a wash about a quarter mile off of the Lower Cedar Mountain Road. People in passenger vehicles might have to park and hike into this one.


The main panel of petroglyphs is very busy with images. Many of the images, like the rainbow, are common in the area but several of them are much more unique.


A little further away is a large boulder that is resting on a slickrock bench that has a lone image of a warrior known as the Silent Sentinel. Just to the left of the Silent Sentinel in a tight spot between 2 other boulders there are 3 large easy to miss Fremont figures that are also worth checking out.


For some perspective on the area, in this photo of a display that recognizes the Old Spanish Trail that ran through this part of the Swell, Cedar Mountain is in the background and the Lower Cedar Mountain Road where we were just at is along the base of the mountain.


The BLM Information Kiosk provides a staging area with maps and a restroom. From here you can find your way to many more roadside attractions and trailheads including the famous Buckhorn Wash Pictograph site. There are several primitive campsites along the Lower Cedar Mountain Road. Even though there are no signs forbidding it please avoid camping right at any of the petroglyph sites as it makes it difficult for those that want to visit them. The Lower Cedar Mountain Road is a good destination for some easy to get to Fremont Style petroglyphs. If you would like to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.