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Zion's Rock Art: Petroglyphs and Pictograph

Zion Petroglyphs:  Petroglyph Canyon

There are several petroglyphs sites in the park, but few are made public due to past, possible and future, vandalism. Treat ancient rock work as you would any work of art found in a museum. Look and admire, but never touch. Treat ancient rock work as you would any work of art found in a museum. Look and admire, but never touch. A simple touch damages ancient rock art. Don't camp, eat, or use the area as a bathroom. Again treat it as you would any indoor museum.

Sacrifice Rock or South Gate Petroglyph -
I think of this one as sacraficed rock. There has been a great deal of damage to it by humans. This is the easiest rock art site to get to in Zion National Park. Look for a single; flat rock located about fifty-yards east of the parks south entrance. There is a small NPS sign by the petroglyph inscribed rock. Of most interest in this rock is that it is an ancient summer solstice marker. The date to watch is June 21st, when a rock from above will cast its shadow upon Sacrifice Rock. The shadow is said to resemble the "open jaw of a coyote."  There has been a great deal of damage done to this site, but the NPS has done its best to restore it to its original appearance.    

Petroglyphs Canyon - This side canyon located in Zion is now protected due to past vandalism. A ranger at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center must be consulted to visit the site. There is a kiosk sign at this site and the rangers will usually give directions to it.

Cave Valley Pictographs - There are two sites along the Kolob Terrace with rock art. Visitors use to be allowed to visit, but because some did not respect the site and take care of it, this rock art is now protected. You must ask at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for directions, but it’s unlikely they will give them to this site anymore, since it is a remote area and the vandalism is recent.

Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Map Coral Pink Sand Dunes Map Zion National Park Lodging Cedar Breaks and Dixie National Forest Map Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon Map Grand Staircase-Escalante Map Zion Book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National ParkAncient Rock Art -Pre-Columbians, better known as ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi Indians) living in Zion long ago, left behind petroglyphs and cliff dwellings giving us insight into how they lived. Later Paiutes added to the prehistoric artifacts and art recording previous life here. There are two basic types of ancient rock art: petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs were carved into rock, often in soft sandstone and pictographs were painted using natural pigments. Due to the delicate nature of ancient paintings they are usually only found in caves or other areas where the art has been protected from the elements. There are a few pictographs in Zion that have been discovered. Included among the odd doodle-like designs are human figures (anthropomorphs) and animals figures (Zoomorphs). Evidence shows that the ancestral Puebloans had been in the area for about two-thousand years and the Paiutes had been around for about 800 years.

Directions to Zion National Park

From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion's east entrance.
From Arizona: Travel US-89A through Fredonia, Arizona and Kanab Utah. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to the east park entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through Zion National Park is always open and is also called the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway. See restrictions for RV's.

Zion National Park Maps

Zion Backcountry Map - Trail Interactive Zion National Park Map Zion National Park Road Map Zion Shuttle - Tunnel Information
 
Zion History: Pictographs

Zion Photo: Cave Valley Pictographs are some of the rare rock art known to the public in Zion. Even so to get direction please ask a ranger at Zion's Visitor Center. Most rock art is hidden so that people do not damage it. Never touch rock art, build a fire near it or damage it in any way. This art is irreplaceable.

 

Lodging Zion National Park
Lodging Zion National ParkLodging and services are available on the gorgeous east side of Zion National Park, where guests are close to Zion National Park (12 miles), Bryce Canyon National Park (60 miles), Cedar Breaks National Monument (45 miles), Coral Pink Sand Dunes (12 miles), and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (85 miles). It's where city traffic is absent and the skies are bright and clean.

 

Zion Petroglyphs: Sacrafice RockPictographs and Petroglyphs -There are at least twenty-six known prehistoric sites with rock art, abandoned cliff houses, chipping sites or some other type of artifact in Zion today. In Clear Creek there is a site that is easy to get to, but angled, and up high, so it's difficult to see from the ground. Bo Beck saw it one day while hanging on a rope during SAR training. There are also remote sites in Spry Canyon and Mt. Kinesava that require scrambling up steep slickrock to see them. Parunuweap sites are well-known, but the protected ruins are off limits to all but research personnel, however there are wonderful pictograph sites located past the east side of Zion that are open to the public.

Visit Pictographs - The South Fork Indian Canyon pictographs are at the end of a fun and easy trail near the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Another hike leads to my favorite pictographs which are protected inside a shallow cave or alcove. I love the little red baby foot print on the ceiling of the cave. Mineral Gulch, just outside of Zion's east entrance has some great petroglyphs that you can visit.
South Fork Indian Canyon Pictographs

Hell Dive Canyon Pictographs

Zion Photo: Sacrifice Rock near Zion's Campgrounds and south entrance to the park.

Kokopelli - The Kokopelli, also called the Gray Flute, is one of the symbols found in Petroglyph Canyon and is a popular design found today throughout the Southwest. This anthropomorphic hunched back flute player is the Casanova of the Cliff Dwellers.

Virgin Anasazi - Much of the rock art in Zion is thought to have been created by the Virgin Anasazi. Evidence of their existence is usually found on river terraces along the Virgin River and its major tributaries such as in Parunuweap Canyon


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Petroglyphs and Pictographs
Brown Petroglyphs
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It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park
 
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