Cedar Mesa & Beyond


Jan 17, 2012
Friday - Sunday, March 14-16, 2014

The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO

On Friday morning, Diane and I headed south towards Cedar Mesa in southern Utah to spend a long weekend hiking, camping and searching for some new rock art sites along the way. While the weather was nice during the days it was still a bit cold overnight and in the mornings, especially on Sunday morning when it dropped down to the low 20's when we woke up around sunrise. Friday was a little breezy with nice clouds in the sky but Saturday was very windy. We got sand-blasted on Saturday pretty good while searching boulders for petroglyphs in the afternoon. When Sunday arrived the winds had finally calmed down and the skies had cleared. We had a great weekend and managed to find everything we were looking for.

Cedar Mesa hiking at it's finest.

Cedar Mesa Hiking
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just a small panel of petroglyphs we spotted above.

High Tracks
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking up at the amazing Hunt Panel.

Hunt Panel Wall
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A better view of this panel. I had to climb a tree for this shot...

Hunt Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view of Cedar Point from the Muley Point overlook.

Cedar Point
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The wind kicked up quite a bit of dust around Monument Valley in the distance.

Dusty View
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was nice spotted light in the canyon of the San Juan River when we made a quick stop at Goosenecks State Park.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

San Juan River
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way to visit a few well-known petroglyphs.

Johns Canyon Road
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A quick stop at the small Dotted Man panel right next to the road.

Dotted Man
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The impressive Duckhead Man.

Duckhead Man
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A lonely desert road...does it get any better?

Desert Road
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Duckhead figures and lines of dancers seemed to be the reoccurring theme this weekend.

The Dance
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This was an amazing panel we came across. The evening light and clouds in the sky cooperated, too!

Growth Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The striped surface of this boulder creates an interesting backdrop for the petroglyph panel.

Striped Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Striped Panel Detail
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Searching a jumble of large boulders for scattered petroglyphs.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Following the glow of reflected light through a small passage.

Hidden Passage
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As we were setting up camp for the evening I looked up and couldn't help but notice the almost-full moon rising above the canyon rim.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our camp under the winter skeleton of a large cottonwood tree. I'm sure this setting would look even more impressive in the fall.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Evening shadows on the canyon walls as the sun gets ready to set for the day.

Evening Shadow
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Saturday morning brought more exploring through large boulders.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We visited this unique panel known as The Obelisk.

The Obelisk
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the petroglyphs.

Obelisk Scene
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We spent much of the very windy afternoon searching for petroglyphs on many large boulders...

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

...until I finally found the boulder I was looking for: The Tilted Boulder! The interesting thing about this boulder is that the oldest Glen Canyon Style petroglyphs found on it are rotated 90 degrees since it appears the boulder has fallen over since they were originally created. Newer petroglyphs were pecked into the same boulder in it's new orientation. Very cool!

Tilted Boulder
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here's a closer look at the older petroglyphs, rotated for easier viewing!

Tilted Man
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Tilted Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice spotlight on Cedar Mesa is created by fast moving clouds in the sky.

Cedar Mesa Light
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Before driving into Bluff for an early dinner at the Twin Rocks Cafe we visited The Dancer Panel.

The Dancer Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Dancers & Spirals
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Dancers Panel
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After dinner we visited Pedestal Ruin before finding a spot to setup camp for the night.

Ledge Ruin
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the precarious location of this ruin.

House on the Ledge
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our shadows in the warm evening light.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The full moon makes an appearance over the sandstone as we setup our camp along Butler Wash.

Moon Over Sandstone
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On Sunday morning we started out our day by hiking up to the impressive Fishmouth Cave in Comb Ridge. I had made this hike years ago, but didn't really remember much about it, so I wanted to refresh my memory and hopefully take some better photos.

We passed a few alcoves containing ruins in this short canyon.

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The reflected light was nice when we reached this large alcove filled with ruins.

Comb Ridge Ruin
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Comb Ridge Alcove
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

All That Remains
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Besides the unfortunate amount of graffiti in the back of Fishmouth Cave there were a few reverse handprints.

Fishmouth Hands
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view out of this massive alcove.

Fishmouth View
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We passed these more recent petroglyphs of a horse and elk on our way back to the highway.

Horse & Elk
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our next stop was to try and find the Polychrome Shelter, which we did. There were plenty of pictographs in this small alcove.

Polychrome Shelter
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hard to see, but there are two green figures painted in the middle of this photo.

Green Twins
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A lot of small flute players found here.

Flute Players
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

White Pictographs
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We made one last stop at Three Kiva Pueblo before starting our drive home. The light beam was nice!

Kiva Light
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I'm not sure when or why these moki steps were carved up to this alcove in Montezuma Canyon, but it must have been important for someone to go through all the trouble?

Moki Steps
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last quick stop along the Colorado River for a photo of the Fisher Towers.

Fisher Towers
by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Cedar Mesa & Beyond Photo Gallery

Featured image for home page:

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Sep 26, 2012
OH MY GOSH! Those are spectacular! Can I come on one of your adventures?
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