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Yellow Comet Alcove

Moab Area Rock Art VI | Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Saturday, Jackson and I headed back to the Moab area to hike to the Yellow Comet pictographs. After researching a route to reach them, I found that there were two different ways down into the canyon. The closest route to the pictographs is supposed to be difficult to find if you don’t already know where it is, plus there is supposed to be a very tricky section that I didn’t like the sound of. Luckily, I managed to find another way down into the canyon, but the hike in the canyon would be about 6 miles longer. A few weeks back I stopped by the area to see if I could find this alternate route down and did manage to find it. I parked the Jeep as close as I could to the route down and we set off on our hike.

It was a short cross-county hike to the way down. The route looks like it may have been an old cow trail, but I haven’t been able to find any information about who or when it was constructed. The person who created this trail drilled holes into the sandstone and pounded in some steel bars. Then rock, stones, branches and dirt were used to build a trail on top of these steel bars. There’s not much left of the trail, but it was still possible for us to get down even if it was a little tricky in places.

This was the toughest part of the trail. There’s not much left of it.

The Way Down by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After scrambling down some large boulders and steep scree slopes the rest of the way, we were soon in the wash bottom and the rest of the hike was much easier.

Canyon Hike by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After a few more miles we reached the large alcove that houses the Yellow Comet pictographs.

Yellow Comet Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a few photos of the awesome Yellow Comet Panel, which is a very unique Barrier Canyon Style site.

Yellow Comet Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Yellow Comet Above the Rocks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Behold! The Comet by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A photo of the panel with Jackson standing under it for scale.

Jackson & The Yellow Comet by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A large, but faint, life-sized petroglyph of a zoomorph. If you look closely, you might be able to find some other very faint petroglyphs on this wall, too.

Large Faint Zoomorph by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a very faint petroglyph of an anthropomorph. This one kind of makes me wonder if there wasn’t a painted figure here that is now gone, but the scratched designs have remained?

Faint Scratches by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This large life-sized anthropomorph guards the entrance to the large alcove.

Alcove Guardian by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s Jackson again for some scale.

Jackson & the Guardian by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After exploring the large alcove, having some lunch and taking plenty of photos it was time to start hiking back to the Jeep. Near the end of our hike, we had to climb back up the old cow trail again.

Jackson climbing back up the old ‘cow trail’

Climbing the Old Cow Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Almost at the top.

Jackson Climbing by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After reaching the Jeep again we still had some time before we were ready to grab dinner, so we stopped at the Snake-in-Mouth alcove for a few photos.

Snake-in-Mouth Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Blue Eyes, Snake-in-Mouth, Bird-in-Hand by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Snake-in-Mouth Alcove 2 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While in the alcove, I stumbled across a boulder that had some very faint petroglyphs on it. I have not seen any like this before. They seem to be darker than the rock itself…very unusual!

Easily Missed by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The large dark figure just to the left of the center looks like a gorilla walking in profile to me…

Easily Missed 2 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the spiral on the right side of the boulder.

Easily Missed Spiral by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We also made one last quick stop at the Centipede Alcove

Fishman Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we finished up there we headed into town for some burgers from the Moab Brewery before driving home. It was a great day for hiking and exploring.

>> Moab Area Rock Art VI Photo Gallery


  1. Tammy Tucker
    Tammy Tucker February 16, 2017

    the trail down the crawl route is easier and much closer to the panel. We did it in 3 hours with a small baby in pack.

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat February 16, 2017

      I know that now, but back when I was trying to locate this panel there were no guidebooks or websites that told you how to get to it, and I didn’t know about the crawl route then.

      It was an adventure to figure out where this panel was located and how to get to it for me (not just following directions to see it) and I wouldn’t trade that experience for a quicker/shorter hike!

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