Planning a trip to Arches, Canyonlands or Moab?
If so, consider a side trip to Newspaper Rock. It's an impressive display of ancient rock art, accessible for all ages and abilities. I've visited this site several times, and I love it every time. My most recent trip was with my son and niece (ages 12 and 11).
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 just a few steps from the parking lot. They are abundant, clear and low to the ground so that anyone, including little children, can easily see and appreciate them.
Here is everything you need to know to visit Newspaper Rock in Utah.
What You'll See
Newspaper Rock is a large panel of ancient rock art. It's on a sheltered rock wall that is tall and wide and close to the ground. A fence has been built to protect the wall, but you'll still get a good view.
Scholars know little about how old the petroglyphs are, 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 get their imaginations working. Ask them questions about what they see and what they think it might mean.
How to Get There
Newspaper Rock is about an hour's drive from Moab. Take Highway 191 south from Moab. After about 40 miles, look for the turnoff to Highway 211. It's well marked, and on the way to Canyonlands National Park's Needles entrance.
Follow scenic Highway 211 for about 12 miles, and look for the parking lot on your right.
How Long Does It Take?
Most visitors won't need more than 10-15 minutes to see the petroglyphs and get photos. You may want to plan some other activities nearby. I've got a few recommendations below.
Things to Do Nearby
On our most recent trip, we kept driving Highway 211 to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. This is a gorgeous area, with some great hikes for families. We spent 3-4 hours here after visiting Newspaper Rock. I highly recommend this option.
Newspaper Rock is located inside of the Indian Creek section of the new Bears Ears National Monument. At this time, this monument is so new that it doesn't have a website, brochure or visitor center. However, I noticed some hiking trails and camping areas as we drove through. Adventurous families may want to explore this area.
Newspaper Rock is located just outside of Canyonlands National Park and about an hour south of Arches National Park and Moab. It's about two hours away from Four Corners Monument and Natural Bridges National Monument. On a previous trip, we stopped here on our way from Mesa Verde National Park to our home near Salt Lake City.
- Favorite Family Hikes in Canyonlands' Island in the Sky
- Top Stops for Families in Arches National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park for Families
- Everything You Need to Know about Four Corners
- What to Expect at Natural Bridges National Monument
What to Pack
You don't need special clothing or gear to visit Newspaper Rock. However, this is a rural area with few services and you'll want to plan ahead if you continue to Canyonlands National Park or dig deeper into Bears Ears. Monticello, about 25 miles away, is the closest city.
Pack plenty of water and food for your day. Bring hand sanitizer for bathroom breaks. Make sure you have enough fuel in your car for wherever the road takes you. You may want sturdy shoes, sunscreen and outdoor gear for other activities.
Newspaper Rock is a little out of the way, but worth the trip. It's hard to find a collection of ancient rock art that is more abundant and more accessible. If you love petroglyphs, or have never seen any, be sure to put Newspaper Rock on your itinerary.
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, not including drive time. If you're taking a side trip from 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. Pack water and snacks.