Cedar Point Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5258 - 5338 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Johns Canyon Road MM 4.3
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Cedar Point Petroglyphs are located off of the Johns Canyon Road near Goosenecks State Park about 4 miles north of Mexican Hat, Utah. Some of the large boulders below where Cedar Point juts out from Cedar Mesa have many interesting petroglyphs a number of which depict anthropomorphic images with what look like ducks for heads. There is also a boulder that appears to have had some of its images made before it tipped over and then had others added afterwards.

To get there drive east from Mexican Hat for 4 miles, or west from Bluff for 21 miles, on UT-163 and turn north on UT-261. Follow UT-261 for just under 1 mile and turn west at the sign for Goosenecks State Park.

Right at the 3 mile marker of the Goosenecks State Park road turn right onto the unpaved and unmarked Johns Canyon Road.

The Johns Canyon Road gets a little rough in places but overall it should be passable by most 2wd vehicles during favorable conditions. Stay to the right as the road passes the unmarked turnoff to the Honaker trail and continue to the 4.3 mile point and turn right. There are several primitive campsites at the turnoff and lots of room to park and turn a trailer around if needed.

After turning off of the Johns Canyon Road and parking follow the old jeep road around the hill to the east. As it approaches the slopes of Cedar Point look for a route that will lead toward the boulders in this photo. As you get closer to the boulders a faint trail should appear.

When you get to the area where the boulders are look to the left 50 feet or so and you should be able to spot these petroglyphs that are on a slab of rock that is facing in your direction. (37.21723, -109.95699)

From there continue on the well worn trail that heads eastward around the base of the mountain. The trail fades away in places but is generally easy to pick up once again as you travel around the mountain staying on the valley side of most of the boulders.

As the trail makes its way around the mountain the main boulders with most of the petroglyphs come into view. The trail leading to the first boulder can seem to disappear in places but a keen eye, or a pair of binoculars, can spot some of the petroglyphs from a distance. The first boulder looks like a chunk of it has broken off leaving a good place for a rock shelter in the remaining cubby hole. (37.22597, -109.95113)

There are some interesting images on both sides of where the chunk broke off. Note the hand with 7 fingers. On the upper right is an image that is somewhat reminiscent of the Broken Hearted Man, without the tears, that is in the San Rafael Swell. There are also a few birthing scenes here and on other panels nearby.

The west facing side of the boulder has a menagerie of symbols including a large bighorn sheep on the right and wavy lines of dots that overlay some of the older images.

Several duck headed anthropomorphic images can be found in the mix. Notice that this one looks like it has a mans feet and bird hands.

From the first boulder the trail is pretty easy to follow to get to the 2nd of the main boulders. (37.22823, -109.95234)

The south facing side of this boulder has many images that are common in the area.

Just to the right is another duck headed figure that has both bird hands and feet. It's interesting that if that is supposed to be a duck on its head that the feet look like those of an owl or turkey rather than webbed like a duck. It's all symbolic I guess and probably attests to the hallucinogenic effects of smoking datura.

The other side of the boulder is where it really gets interesting. All of the images on the right hand side of the boulder are on their side. The images run right off the edge of the boulder which appears to have broken off from its pedestal and tipped over. Judging from this the horizontal images appear to be older than the vertical images that include a few duck headed men and those magnify glass looking symbols that are common in the area.

There are other rocks in the area of the 2 main boulders at the east end of the trail that have a few interesting petroglyphs on them that are worth checking out as well as what were probably a couple of rock shelters. We searched through all the boulders on the west end of the trail and only found a couple of petroglyphs. Exploring for petroglyphs around the base of Cedar Point is a lot of fun and very rewarding. If you would like to try it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.