Utah’s Black Dragon Wash Pictographs

There is a little known canyon with petroglyphs and pictographs just off of I-70 in Utah. From Green River, Utah, head west on I-70. When you pass the exit for UT-24 slow down and look for mile marker 147. Just past this mile marker you will see a large dirt pull-off right off the shoulder of I-70. Pull off the highway (there is no exit here) and drive north (right) to the gate. Open the gate, drive through, then close the gate again. You are at the start of a whole network of trails.

From here, follow the main trail for a mile to a trail junction. There is a sign here for Black Dragon Wash. Turn left at the intersection and head straight into the canyon and the beginning of the San Rafael Swell.

When you enter the wash the trail becomes rocky. If you don’t feel comfortable driving over the rocks, park your vehicle in one of the large sandy spots to the left off of the trail. From the mouth of the canyon, it’s only about half a mile to the pictographs and petroglyphs, an easy hike on flat terrain.

The wash goes through this canyon. Park at the wooden sign to view the pictographs.

After about half a mile in the wash you’ll see a wooden sign indicating that you’ve arrived at the Indian Rock Art. These pictographs and petroglyphs were made by the Freemont Indians, who inhabited this area of Utah between 500 and 1300 A.D.  

Freemont Indian pictographs in Black Dragon Wash
This is the “black dragon” of Black Dragon Wash. Is it a dragon? A
pterodactyl? What do you think?

What is the difference between a pictograph and a petroglyph? A pictograph is painted onto a rock surface. A petroglyph is carved or chipped into the rock face.

More of the pictographs in the canyon.

When you are finished viewing the pictographs you can follow the trail you came in on back to I-70 or you can continue deeper into the canyon. If you decide to go on further, the trail becomes more difficult and eventually comes out into a network of trails off of Buckhorn Wash Rd. I do not recommend you continue into the canyon unless you have a good map and GPS, and a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle. It will be easy to get lost or stuck if you don’t know where you are going back there.

Here is a video of the drive from I-70 to the pictographs.

Here are two good guidebooks for this trail and others in the San Rafael Swell:

Backroads of Utah’s San Rafael Swell 

by Christian Eric Probasco

Utah Trails Central Region 

by Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson