Triassic Wash Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5582 - 5625 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Dinosaur Quarry Rd. mm 1.3
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

Triassic Wash is a nice little petroglyph site that is located just outside of the Jurassic National Monument, formerly the Cleveland/Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, near Elmo, Utah. All vehicles should be able to drive to within 3/4 of a mile of the petroglyphs and those with a little more ground clearance can get even closer.

The easiest directions are to enter Jurassic National Monument into your driving app and follow those until you reach the turnoff to Triassic Wash. Short of that you can find your way to Elmo, Utah and follow the signs to the Dinosaur Quarry or the Monument. After turning onto the Dinosaur Quarry Road reset your odometer. You will know you are on that road when you see the sign in this photo.

As the road descends a hill you will see 2 roads up ahead that branch off on the right. To get to the petroglyphs take the first road. According to Google Maps it is at the 1.3 mile point of the Dinosaur Quarry Road.

There are several places where 2wd passenger cars can park along the road that leads toward the wash. Once you get to the wash stay to your left and head toward obvious place where you would find petroglyphs which are the cliffs and boulders that you can see a short distance away. The petroglyphs are right along the wash itself so don't take any of the roads that climb out of the wash on either side. The further you drive up the wash the more you will need a little ground clearance and possibly even 4wd.

We began our search on the right hand, or west, side of the wash where the first image that we noticed was this segmented or striped bighorn sheep.

Among the images near that is this panel that shows two hunters with bows waiting on the approach of several lines of bighorns. Whether another person was herding the sheep toward the hunters was hard to tell. Be sure to look carefully behind trees and on all the different surfaces to find more images.

Right before the wash becomes choked with boulders there is a primitive campsite on a little bench above the wash on the right hand side. A section of cliff here has some very nice images that might either predate the Fremont or be an early Fremont Style. That speculation was arrived at by noticing the 'carrot man' anthropomorph in the shaded part of this photo and a few others that didn't have to more common Fremont trapezoidal body shape. Looking at this panel from the campsite there didn't appear to be anything recognizable but once we shaded the panel the images magically revealed themselves. It was like having a magic decoder ring.

In this photo we circled a couple of other panels on the east side of the wash that a person would want to be sure and find. The best panel in Triassic Wash is probably the smaller of the circles. (It's actually a pretty good sized panel. It's just further away in the photo.)

The huge boulder near the bottom of the wash has a handful of geometrical images. One arc looks like a rising or setting sun.

This is what we thought was the best panel. It is located on the face of the cliff higher up above the huge boulder. There is a juniper tree that partially  blocks the view at first but as you hike in that direction the entire panel becomes more apparent.

Although  it wasn't absolutely necessary a little shade also made these images really stand out. Besides the images we have shown here there were a few more places further up the wash and even closer to the mouth of the wash on the east side.

On current maps Triassic Wash is labeled 'Dry Wash'. The geology of the wash appears to be of the Morrison Formation which does occur during that Triassic Period so renaming it to Triassic Wash would match up nicely with the theme of the nearby Jurassic National Monument. There might be more current maps than what we possess that reflect that name but we didn't find any. Triassic Wash is a fun place to explore for petroglyphs for those that happen to be in the area looking for something to do. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.