Buckhorn Wash Pictograph panel is an extensive rock art panel located in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah, about two hours north of Moab. The panel is right next to the road so one can easily drive up and see the pictographs, no hiking required. We stopped at the panel while driving from the Salt Lake City airport. The stop made for a great way to breakup the 4 hour drive and didn’t not add to much to the time in the car.
At 130 feet in length the Buckhorn Wash Panel is the most extensive panel I have visited to date. It is awe inspiring to view the panel from the trail in front of the panel. Some people may be tempted to jump out and snap a quick photo and move one. What a waste, you don’t see things like this everyday, take time and study what you see. How do you interpret the panel?
The Buckhorn Wash Panel is an outstanding example of Barrier Canyon style rock art. The name Barrier Canyon come from a canyon in Canyonlands National Park where this style of rock art was first studied. The canyon has since had it‘s name changed to Horseshoe Canyon. Barrier Canyon rock art is dated from 2,000 to 6,000 years ago. Barrier Canyon typically consists of anthropomorphs or spirit beings and is easily differentiated from Fremonts Petroglyphs which are more common near Moab.
No one know for sure what all of these drawings mean. Many ”experts” think the drawings have a spiritual meaning. My wife believes the pictures were inspired by visit from ancient aliens. After a recent camping, we discovered our shadows on the rock walls behind our campfire looked just like many of the figures in the panels. Maybe everyone is overthinking this rock art stuff and it was simply guys drawing shadows they seen art night while sleeping in the desert. Remember, the artist had no modern convinces such as smartphones to look at around the fire, maybe the shadows were the most interesting things they had.
If you are considering a Moab adventure we would recommend checking out the town homes at Moab Adventure Condo. We stayed with them and it was so nice to have room to relax and not be stuck in a cramped hotel room. Since the cost of the rental was split between two families it actually ended up being cheaper than a hotel room and much nicer. Not to mention the pool and hot tub were just sets from our condo.