Indian Creek - Bears Ears National Monument
The Indian Creek Special Recreation Management area contains the northern portion of Bears Ears National Monument. Indian Creek has something to offer everybody: rock climbers come to test their skills on world-class crack climbing routes, bird watchers scan high cliffs for Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, and photographers seek to capture the moment when late afternoon light illuminates canyons in a vibrant red. Whether you stop at Newspaper Rock for a few minutes or stay at one of Indian Creek’s three established campgrounds, you are sure to find something in this magnificent landscape that speaks to you.
Rock climbing is a popular recreation activity in Indian Creek. There are thousands of crack climbs to choose from, but very few routes for beginners: if you plan to climb in Indian Creek, be prepared for the challenges that unrelenting splitter crack-climbing presents. Remember to recreate responsibly so that future generations can enjoy the same experience. Please keep these tips in mind while exploring the climbs of Indian Creek:
Wait at least 24-48 hours to climb on sandstone following rain.
Wet sandstone can erode more quickly and could result in weakened anchors, cam slipping, and unintentional changes in the climbing route.
- Use existing trails and respect private property.
Several popular climbs can only be reached by crossing private land. Unless signs say otherwise, leave gates open or closed as you find them.
- Don’t bust the crust.
Cryptobiotic soil is a living crust that plays an important ecological role in many desert environments. When you or your animal walks on crust, it can take decades to regrow.
- Pack out human waste.
Desert soil lacks the necessary microorganisms for it to biodegrade naturally.
- Visit archeological sites with respect.
Please visit archeological sites with respect. It is illegal to damage, disturb or remove anything from archeological or historical sites.
- Respect raptor avoidance areas.
Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons make their homes in the cliffs of Indian Creek: disturbing them can impact their young and present a dangerous situation for a climber if a raptor feels threatened. Raptor avoidance areas are typically active through the summer, but they are lifted based on the behavior of raptors each year and therefore may vary.
You can learn more about how to minimize your impact while climbing in Indian Creek by contacting the Monticello Field Office (435-587-1500).
What could be better than sleeping underneath the expansive, starry skies of canyon country? There are two options for camping on your visit to Indian Creek: camping at an established campground or dispersed camping.
Indian Creek is home to three of Bears Ears National Monument’s established campgrounds: Hamburger Rock, Superbowl, and Creek Pasture. These campsites are first-come, first-served, the cost $15/night and the maximum stay is 14 days. All of the first-come, first-served sites allow for Scan & Pay, so you can pay electronically through the Recreation.gov mobile app once you have claimed an available site. Group sites are available for reservation and can be found at the Indian Creek Falls Group Site, Superbowl Group Site, and Creek Pasture Group Site. All group sites can accommodate up to 50 people and cost $65/night.
Dispersed camping is allowed 150 feet off designated routes in Indian Creek in previously disturbed areas. Pack out all trash. Protect and conserve scarce desert water sources by camping at least 300 feet from water sources or streams to allow for wildlife access.
Indian Creek Special Recreation Management Area is located along Hwy 211, 15 miles north of Monticello and 40 miles south of Moab. This 26-mile stretch of spectacular country borders the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.