Gold Bar Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 3973 - 4045 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Gold Bar
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Gold Bar Petroglyphs are located on the north side of the railroad tracks across from the Gold Bar Group Campground in the mouth of Dragonfly Canyon a little west of Moab, Utah.

The trailhead is unmarked at present but it is still easy to find. Travel north out of Moab and turn left onto the Potash Road, Utah Highway 279. The turnoff comes after crossing the river and before reaching the entrance to Arches National Park. Follow the Potash Road for about 9.5 miles to mile marker 5 which is at a big bend in the Colorado River just past the Corona Arch trailhead and the Gold Bar Recreation Area. A large gravel area along the road provides plenty of room to park.

From the pullout head toward the culvert under the railroad tracks as though hiking to Gold Bar/Jeep Arch. Instead of going through the culvert follow the trail that angles steeply on the right up to the tracks.

Once you reach the top of the railroad berm head toward the group of large boulders in this photo.

There is a sign near the site reminding visitors to help protect our archaeological resources.

One side of the boulder in particular shows the scars of graffiti left by thoughtless visitors in the past.

If you can see past the graffiti you will find quite a few interesting petroglyphs.

Some of the images are almost identical to ones found in the Indian Creek Recreation Area near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The two locations are only separated by about 35 miles as the crow flies so there is probably a good chance the same person either created the images in both places or had at least seen them.

Pretty much any surface that was suitable to place a petroglyph was taken advantage of although many of the images are too faded to make out.

They even made us of the top of one of the boulders where it is difficult get high enough to take a decent photo.

If you can imagine the scene without the railroad, highway and campground  then you will have an idea of what it looked like here hundreds of years or more ago when this sites ancient inhabitants picked it as the spot to leave their message for others to see.

I've never seen anyone try wading across the Colorado River in this area and one would have to do that to get between here and Indian Creek. Perhaps one of the images on these boulders shows where they usually made their crossing. The part of the boulder that faces the river has images that might represent a map and they were probably visible from near the river when they were freshly created. Something to ponder anyway. As far as the Gold Bar Petroglyphs go if you would like to see them for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.