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  • Writer's pictureDan Wagner

Visit Utah's Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument

Nestled in the rugged landscapes of Bears Ears National Monument, the Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument is a remarkable site that bears witness to the rich cultural history of the region. At this site, visitors can marvel at hundreds of intricate petroglyphs created by the Native American tribes that inhabited the area thousands of years ago.

Newspaper Rock

The Newspaper Rock site is located along State Route 211 along the Indian Creek Scenic Byway, about 28 miles northwest of Monticello, Utah. Visitors can park at a small turnout and take a short, paved trail that leads to the petroglyphs. Along the way, informative signs provide context and help visitors understand the significance of the site.

Newspaper Rock informative sign

The name "Newspaper Rock" was given to the site by early Anglo-American settlers who were struck by the sheer volume and diversity of the carvings. Spread over an area of about 200 square feet, the rock surface is covered with more than 650 individual images, arranged in rows and clusters. Some of the petroglyphs are small and simple, while others are more elaborate and complex, featuring intricate details and patterns.

Newspaper Rock

The petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock are estimated to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old, and were created by the ancestors of the present-day Pueblo, Ute, and Navajo tribes. The images depict a variety of subjects, including animals, human figures, weapons, tools, and abstract shapes. Many of the petroglyphs are thought to represent religious or cultural symbols, while others may have been used for communication or storytelling purposes.

One of the striking features of the petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock is their remarkable preservation. Despite being exposed to the elements for thousands of years, the carvings have retained their clarity and detail, thanks in part to the durable sandstone that makes up the rock face. The site has been carefully maintained and protected over the years, with measures such as a low fence to prevent vandalism or damage. Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or simply curious about the ancient past, a visit to Newspaper Rock is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Utah. If you plan on spending any time at Bears Ears National Monument, heading to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, or traveling from Moab to Page, don't miss out on this incredible piece of history.

If you'd like to read more about rock art along Indian Creek Scenic Byway check out our article Spectacular Tales on Stone: The Rock Art of Indian Creek for several very interesting sites.


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