Many people come to the Bureau of Land Management’s Monticello Field Office to see its heritage resources, especially archeological sites. People come from all over the world to see areas like Grand Gulch, where some of the earliest archeological research was conducted. Throughout this area Ancestral Puebloan Native Americans left a legacy that includes hundreds of cliff dwellings and ruins and thousands of pictographs and petroglyphs. Less known heritage resources are paleontological discoveries.
It is exciting to discover a ruin in a protected alcove or a rock art panel with petroglyphs and pictographs. Open air ruins are more common, and a few have been excavated and stabilized to make them easier to see. While some sites have been developed for easier access; others are deep in the backcountry and require more of a commitment to experience. You can follow in the tracks of the ancients or follow a trail made by historic pioneers. At a museum you can learn more about the people that lived here and see items that they used in their daily lives. The cultural resources that are available to enjoy here are widely varied and offer something for everyone.
When visiting these areas, please take care not to harm them. Leave all artifacts in place; don’t make piles for pictures or take them home. Artifacts tell an important part of the story that makes these places special. If you visit a ruin with standing walls, please don’t climb on the walls and don’t enter rooms. Standing walls are fragile and can easily be damaged. Stay on the trails. Leave your backpack and your pets outside the site. Never touch or put chalk on rock art figures, and don’t write on the rocks. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints.
The BLM Monticello Field Office has long been an area where paleontological research has been conducted. Some amazing discoveries have been made here, including some of the earliest petrified trees known. Dinosaur tracksites are places that you can visit, where you can actually see the prints made by these strange creatures, now turned to stone. To see fossils, you should visit a museum.
When you visit dinosaur tracks, take lots of pictures. Look at how long their strides were. Can you step that far? Are some of the tracks made by smaller dinosaurs? Avoid walking on them with your shoes. Never try to cast the tracks. You can seriously harm them. Enjoy them, and leave them for others to find.
Detailed maps showing road and trail access are available at the offices of the BLM or the U.S. Forest Service in Monticello, at the Blanding Visitor Center, the Monticello Multi-Agency Visitor Center or the Moab Information Center, and at the Canyonlands Natural History Association.