Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell

Buckhorn Wash Pictographs
San Rafael Swell
Rock Art

          One of the highlights of the San Rafael Swell is the Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. A pictograph is painted onto a surface, and a petroglyph is carved or pecked into the stone. There are some faint petroglyphs here, but the red pictograph figures are the stars of this panel of rock art. Please remember that sites such as this one are irreplaceable.

General Information:
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The main panel of rock art is over 130-feet long and was painted well over 2,000 years ago by the Indian culture archeologists have named “Barrier Canyon Culture”. The Barrier Canyon people were an archaic age hunter-gatherer society, living in caves or brush shelters. The red pigment was created using powdered hematite, and possibly mixed with animal fat, eggs, or some other fluid. For a brush, they may have used fingers or brushes made from animal fur or slender grasses. When painted on freshly exposed sandstone, the stone absorbs the pigments, thus preserving them for thousands of years. The images here are fascinating, and defy interpretation.

          The route up Buckhorn Draw was part of the Old Spanish Trail. As a result of the relatively large number of people passing by, the panel was repeatedly vandalized and marked with graffiti over the years. In 1996 the State of Utah and Emery County restored the panel as part of the state's centennial celebration.

          A GPS is useful. The USGS 7.5' Map titled "Bottleneck Peak" shows the Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Area.
Navigation for this route is very easy. All waypoints and maps use the WGS84 datum.

Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell

Trailhead Information:
          The trailhead is accessible to all vehicles in normal conditions. This area is criss-crossed with roads. Stay on the road described until told to turn off of it.

          From Price Utah - Take Highway 6 Exit #241 and drive south on Highway 10 for 28 miles to mile marker 39.5, where you will find a well maintained gravel road on the east (left) side of the road. This is where you enter the San Rafael Swell.

          From Castle Dale Utah - Take Highway 10 north for 1.5 miles to mile marker 39.5, where you will find a well maintained gravel road on the east (right) side of the road. This is where you enter the San Rafael Swell.

          From where you enter the San Rafael Swell (N39 13' 15", W110 59' 51") follow the well maintained gravel road east. The road is signed Buckhorn Wash. Follow the road east for 15.1 miles to the signed Buckhorn Wash turnoff (N39 10' 15", W110 45' 03"). Turn south (right) and follow the Buckhorn Wash road south for 5.8 miles to the Buckhorn Wash Pictographs (N39 07' 25", W110 41' 38"). The rock are is located on the north (left) side of the road and are easy to located. There is a large parking area, toilets and information kiosks.

          For those wanting to camp in the area continue down the Buckhorn Wash Road an additional 3.8 miles to the San Rafael River Campground (N39 04' 58", W110 39' 52").

Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell

Route Information:
         
This route involves no hiking. From the parking area simply walk over and admire the pictographs and petroglyphs along the base of the cliff.

Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell

Please take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Buckhorn Wash Pictographs - San Rafael Swell

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