Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sand Island Petroglyphs.

Sand Island (CR 275) is located 2.3 miles (use the Desert Rose Inn as your starting point) outside the town of Bluff, Utah; heading south on Route 191.  While it is open for camping year round, we were there to check out the petroglyph walls.  The artwork on the panels date from 800 to 2500 years old; all depending on which Native culture happened to be in the area at the time.  Of course it contains "graffiti" from the pioneers and ranchers of the 19th century; as well as from modern idiots of the 20th and 21st centuries who think their initials or names are important to anyone.

A good portion of the panels is fenced off, but we did find petroglyphs in an area before and after the fencing.  Think of it as a perpetual message board, much like Newspaper Rock located on Route 211, north of Monticello.  The main panels are located 6/10ths of a mile along the dirt road while the other panels were 1/10th of a mile on either side.  You can photograph them from the roadside, or walk along the trail which is narrow, sandy and rocky, so be careful of your footing.

Before Fencing

After Fencing at Turn Circle
Main Panels

Many of the images have faded, or been darkened naturally by desert varnish; therefore, I had to darken or lighten my photos to get the best look-sees.  We spent about an hour going from one end of the path, then back again; finding figures we had missed the first time through.

Sand Island Petroglyphs Panorama
Walking Path

All those interested in ancient rock art will enjoy visiting the Sand Island Petroglyphs; if you're interested in camping there, go HERE for more information.

Imagine, artwork left by people who had traveled through, or even settled in the area for awhile; 800 to 2500 years ago!  Way before the Spanish from Mexico who traveled the Old Spanish Trail through Utah; way before the ranchers from Colorado and Texas who led their cattle here; way before the Mormon pioneers came through from the western end of Utah.  Gives you something to think about, and what mark you want to leave for future generations to remember you by.

Mary Cokenour

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