Courthouse Wash Rock Art Site
Courthouse Wash Rock ArtOn Highway 191, drive north from its junction with Utah Scenic Byway 128 across the Colorado River and Courthouse Wash to a large parking lot on the right hand side of the road. It is necessary to walk back across Courthouse Wash on the graveled foot path and hiking route almost .5 mile to the rock art site. Between Courthouse Wash and the river, walk uphill to the base of the cliffs overlooking Highway 191. The base of the cliff has a large pictograph and petroglyph panel along with associated petroglyphs on the rock slabs at the base of the panel. The panel is approximately 19 feet high by 52 feet long. The site, located in Arches National Park, was heavily vandalized in 1980, but conservation work has helped preserve and stabilize the site.

You will see large painted ghost-like illustrations typical of the Barrier Canyon Style Archaic figures on the red-orange surface. The numerous figures include human forms, bighorn sheep, shields, scorpion-like illustrations, possible dogs, a long-beaked bird and abstract elements. You can see evidence of painted multi-colored figures superimposed on other pictographs. On the desert varnish surface you will see human and animal-like figures as well as abstract forms. This site is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its representation of a Barrier Canyon Style rock art panel.

Courthouse Wash Rock Art Moab Area Rock Art

 

 

If you have trouble locating the rock art once you are near the site, don't be discouraged. REMEMBER: Check your mileages. You will develop a sense of which types of rocks and surfaces are appropriate areas to look for petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are commonly found on the black or brown surface (called desert varnish) of rock cliffs. The straight, smooth, red sandstone found in the Navajo and Wingate formations is a good area to look for pictographs. As you spot one image, look carefully around the adjoining surface areas. Often there are numerous images at any given site. The main panel might have one or more subpanels nearby. Some of the images may be very faint, having faded or eroded through the years. You will sometimes see one layer of images constructed on top of another.