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Cedar Mesa & Beyond

Friday – Sunday, March 14-16, 2014

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

Just a small panel of petroglyphs we spotted above.

High Tracks

Looking up at the amazing Hunt Panel.

Hunt Panel Wall

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

Hunt Panel

A view of Cedar Point from the Muley Point overlook.

Cedar Point

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

Dusty View

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


San Juan River

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

Johns Canyon Road

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

Dotted Man

The impressive Duckhead Man.

Duckhead Man

A lonely desert road…does it get any better?

Desert Road

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

The Dance

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

Growth Panel

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

Striped Panel

Striped Panel Detail

Searching a jumble of large boulders for scattered petroglyphs.


Following the glow of reflected light through a small passage.

Hidden Passage

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.


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


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

Evening Shadow

Saturday morning brought more exploring through large boulders.



We visited this unique panel known as The Obelisk.

The Obelisk

A closer look at the petroglyphs.

Obelisk Scene

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


…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

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

Tilted Man

Tilted Panel

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

Cedar Mesa Light

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

The Dancers Panel


Dancers & Spirals

Dancers Panel

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

Ledge Ruin

A closer look at the precarious location of this ruin.

House on the Ledge

Our shadows in the warm evening light.



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

Moon Over Sandstone

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.


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

Comb Ridge Ruin

Comb Ridge Alcove

All That Remains

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

Fishmouth Hands

The view out of this massive alcove.

Fishmouth View

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

Horse & Elk

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

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

Green Twins

A lot of small flute players found here.

Flute Players

White Pictographs

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

Kiva Light


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

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

Fisher Towers

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