If you’re planning a trip to Arches or Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, consider a side trip to Newspaper Rock. We stopped at this petroglyph site on our way back to Salt Lake City from Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
I really like petroglyphs, but in my experience, much of the ancient rock art throughout Southern Utah is best viewed through binoculars, from an off-road vehicle, or along a hiking trail. Newspaper Rock is easily accessible by car and the petroglyphs are abundant, clear and low to the ground so that anyone, including little children, can easily see and appreciate them.
Scholars know little about how old Newspaper Rock is, or what its symbols mean. They do believe that it represents 2000 years of history, from at least six different groups of people, including a few white settlers who left their marks. It is estimated that most of the ancient art dates back to before 1300 A.D.
Scholars may not be able to explain Newspaper Rock, but your children might have some ideas about it. This is a great place to introduce children to ancient American history and ask them questions about what they see and what they think it might mean.
Good to know
Where: On Highway 211, about 13 miles west of Highway 191 in southeastern Utah, between Moab and Monticello. It is on the way to one of the entrances to Canyonlands National Park. It is well-marked.
When: Year-round, weather permitting.
How Much: FREE
How Long: 15 minutes or more to see Newspaper Rock and take photos, not including drive time. If you’re taking a side trip from your travels on Highway 191, plan about one hour.
Amenities: Primitive toilets. Bring your own hand sanitizer. There are no restaurants, gas stations or lodging between Highway 191 and Newspaper Rock. Bring a picnic or snacks.