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Dolores Triangle Rock Art

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ute Beaver Panel
The highlight of this short trip was visiting the Ute Beaver Pictograph Panel.

While I originally had no plans for this weekend (besides working on my Jeep and maybe going on a local hike), Marty and I made last minute plans to spend a couple of hours on Sunday morning visiting a few rock art sites on the Dolores Triangle that he recently came across, and I was looking forward to checking them out. We met up at the Tabeguache Trailhead a little before 7:00am and then drove up through the Colorado National Monument and Glade Park until we reached the Colorado-Utah state line.

Rain was falling on us sporadically during our drive to the border, but we didn’t encounter any heavy rain. We were a little worried about the wet conditions because the roads we needed to take might have been impassable if they were too wet. Luckily, we missed any heavy rain and the sky even started to clear up a little when we entered Utah and the roads turned out to be just fine.

Rain falling over part of the Grand Valley in the distance.

Morning Storms

A beautiful view across the Dolores Triangle after the clouds started to clear a little.

Dolores Triangle View

Jeep View

Exploring bands of cliffs for any signs of rock art.


A well-preserved panel of Ute pictographs.

Beaver Panel

I’ve been told this figure might represent ‘Grandfather Beaver’ which is a sacred animal to the Ute.

Grandfather Beaver

Driving across the top of a high mesa.

Mesa Top Drive

Marty leads the way.

Across the Mesa

The road was lined in places with many different kinds of wildflowers.

Desert Wildflowers

Starting the descent down the switchbacks from the top of the mesa.

Going Down

We also visited a panel of petroglyphs before we headed back home.

Petroglyph Point

Unfortunately, this panel was highly vandalized with plenty of graffiti. I did notice that none of the graffiti was dated later than the 1970’s.


Vertical Sheep

There were a few historical inscriptions found here, too, including this one from 1894 which was the oldest one I noticed.

Nicholls 1894

Looks like someone tried to steal this small petroglyph of a sheep.

Theft Attempt

On our way back down from the panel Marty spotted this collared lizard.

Collared Lizard

We took a little detour on the way back home and I was finally able to find the location of this petroglyph panel on Glade Park that I’ve been looking for. Pardon the terrible photo, as this was taken with my 400mm lens and then heavily cropped.

In the Distance

A view of another storm over the Grand Valley from Cold Shivers Point on my way back home.

Grand Valley Storm

>> Dolores Triangle Rock Art Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. David
    David March 5, 2021

    I’ve been researching and tracking down what you’ve found around here (I’m local to GJ) when I have time to explore up there. I’ve been able to comprehend some of it by way of consuming the standard texts and references we’ve all read as well as reading the rocks as best as I can.

    But I’m finding there’s an absence of solid archeological information for this area that goes beyond what the river runners know about and the information for better known sites. Being a lonely amateur without any connections I find myself stumbling in the dark the majority of the time. But stumble I do.

    I’m curious about the panel you found with the beaver. I wasn’t aware that the Uncompaghre Ute held the beaver sacred. Again, as an amateur I don’t have access to the unredacted reports and trinominal databases to see if there’s any scholarly work that’s been done regarding it or if you’ve had it cataloged.

    Best regards!

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