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  • Writer's pictureDan Wagner

The Mysterious Snake in Mouth Pictograph Panel

An easy day hike that leads to a unique Barrier Canyon style pictograph panel, located just fifteen minutes outside of downtown Moab. What sets this panel apart is the depiction of a snake within the mouth of the main figure.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

Trailhead elevation 4,606'

Water None

Don't miss the boulder containing petroglyphs and pictographs

Hiking to Snake in Mouth

The parking area for the Snake in Mouth Panel is located on the north side of Route 313, approximately 2.8 miles from Route 191, at coordinates 38.648343, -109.723907. It consists of a small pull-off, accommodating around six vehicles, which also serves as the parking spot for the popular Intestine Man site. Once parked, cross Route 313 where you'll encounter an unsigned but clearly marked trail leading away from the road.

Snake in Mouth Moab

After a short distance, you'll reach a cattle gate near the base of the formation in the photo above. Once through the gate, continue left along the well-trodden trail into the wash and turn right.

Continue following the wash until you spot a broader wash about 50 feet to your right. Then, exit the wash and cross over the larger one. Once you've crossed, keep an eye out for a faint trail leading up to the alcove shown in the photo below. If you have trouble locating the trail, proceed toward the alcove, being mindful not to disturb any cryptobiotic soil.

When you arrive at the slickrock slope beneath the alcove, the simplest ascent is from the center-right. Upon reaching the top, you'll find a wide ledge that allows you to stroll over to the panel.

The distance along the ledge to the pictograph panel varies based on where you climb the slope, but it's readily visible. Positioned roughly two-thirds down the left side of the alcove, the panel showcases Barrier Canyon style pictographs, including two anthropomorphic figures, one cradling a third human-like figure, vertical lines, three snakes, one nestled within the namesake depiction, and an indistinct image above them all.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

Below is a close-up revealing the snake within the main figure's mouth. The snake, along with what seems to be the figure's eyeballs, was painted using a blueish-green pigment, while the body was created with red ochre.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

In a close-up photo, the snake's head above the left most anthropomorphic figure reveals that its eye and outline of its body were created using the same bluish-green pigment.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

The photo below provides some context regarding the size of the panel.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

Further along the ledge, you'll encounter a boulder featuring both petroglyphs and faded pictographs. The petroglyphs depict snakes and concentric circles, while the pictographs include human-like figures and other unidentifiable images.

Snake in Mouth pictograph

After exploring the area, simply retrace your steps back to your vehicle.


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