Escalante Petroglyphs and Ruins

Petroglyphs chipped through desert varnish on sandstone canyon walls of the Escalante Canyons are the rock artworks of the prehistoric Anasazi and Fremont people who inhabited the area between 500-1250 A.D. Bighorn sheep, geometric designs, perhaps an image of the setting sun, a panel of figures that look like weavers, human-like figures that sometimes appear more like visions of space aliens … What do they mean? If only we could find a Rosetta stone to decipher them like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Perhaps, we will never do better than to make up stories. Gazing up at rock structures nestled beneath overhangs at the treetop level of cottonwoods, one wonders how these people scaled such imposing cliffs. Flattened stones were used to grind corn or pinyon pine nuts. Many routes into the canyon are ancient trails with footholds and handholds chiseled into the sandstone faces by the ancient people. When you chance upon flakes of chert scattered by prehistoric flintknappers who knelt in the same places where you might rest today, you realize that the landscapes haven’t changed much in the last millennium. You look but you don’t touch these sacred remains. You take only pictures and vivid memories, and leave only footprints. It is truly magical! Our relatively easy hike explores a number petroglyph panels and stone ruins along the Escalante Canyon. We can help you up over rock ledges and you will be rewarded by not only petroglyphs but also views over the Escalante River with its green corridor contrasting with the redrock desert.