IMG_3789 Petroglyphs sign

From Mesa Verde to the Painted Desert to Albuquerque, we’ve seen a potpourri of petroglyphs, those mysterious rock carvings from long ago. A few points petroglyphic shone particularly brightly for us.

Newspaper Rock

There are several places with that name; we headed for the one near Canyonlands. The road is little-used, the turnoff is easy to miss, the reward is great: a giant wall jammed with carvings.

Rochester Rock Art Panel

Our GPS unit wasn’t even sure the road to this spot existed. At the end of the road, a hike over rocky terrain awaited us. Then an explosion of petroglyphs.

Black Dragon Wash

Our friends John and Brenda told us about this site. Astoundingly (to us), you pull off the freeway onto a gravel road. We missed it the first time and had to loop back and try again.

Pretty Much Anywhere

Yup, you find them even when you’re not looking for them. Just outside Moab, a nondescript sign promised “Indian Writings” (I was hoping to see some Hindi). We pulled over to investigate.

Again and again, we were surprised at how little protection these artifacts receive.

Leave no trace

Then again, what can you do: post an armed guard in every canyon? While graffiti and even bullet holes mar some displays, most of the carvings we saw were in good shape.

And so we drive on, eyes open, searching for more mysterious messages from long-ago civilizations.

GOPR0611 dashboard