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Christmas Moab Weekend

Moab Area Rock Art XXXII | Saturday & Sunday, December 23-24, 2017

Since we were planning on spending our Christmas in Arches National Park like we do every year, we headed over to Moab on Saturday morning so we could spend the entire holiday weekend in the area. Earlier in the week when I was finalizing our rough plans for the trip I was expecting that there would still be none to minimal snow on the ground for our trip because even though there was a winter storm predicted toward the end of the week, I really didn’t think it would affect the area too much. Boy, was I wrong! Well, actually I was right about the Grand Junction area since we didn’t get any snow that stuck around, however, the storm seemed to be centered right over the area surrounding Moab and dumped about 6-10 inches there! We tried to continue on with our original plans at first, but we ended up having to cancel or change some of the hikes since they would have been too dangerous with all the snow and ice on the ground, even with our microspikes. In the end I acted as a tour guide for Diane as we revisited many easily accessible rock art sites that I hadn’t been to in a while.

On our way to our first hiking destination of the weekend we stopped at an overlook of Monitor & Merrimac Buttes near the edge of Sevenmile Canyon as the sun came out.

Sevenmile View

Monitor & Merrimac Buttes tower over a snow-covered desert landscape.

Monitor & Merrimac

Highway 313 cuts through Sevenmile Canyon below the overlook.

Sevenmile Canyon Road

Off the pavement and onto the snow-packed road near Lone Mesa.

Lone Mesa Jeep

The snow was deeper than we expected when we reached the rim of Hell Roaring Canyon, but we decided to try hiking into the canyon as we had originally planned.

Hell Roaring Country

The route into the canyon turned out to be too treacherous with the snow and ice on the rocks, so we ended up cancelling our original plans and just explored the rim of the canyon a little.

Overhang View

Juniper Tree

Frozen potholes and Hell Roaring Canyon.

Hell Roaring Canyon

We visited these small Barrier Canyon Style petroglyphs.

Barrier Canyon Style Petroglyph

Little BCS Petroglyph

A slab of sandstone covered with Ute petroglyphs.

Ute Petroglyphs

We did end up hiking up a steep and slippery slope to the top of the mesa between Courthouse Wash and Mill Canyon.

Snowy Hiking

A beautiful view from the top of the snow-covered mesa.

Snow-Covered Mesa

Snow swirls and the La Sal Mountains.

Snow Swirls


Sandstone Playground

A nice view of the upper Courthouse Wash area.

Upper Courthouse View

As we were driving back to Moab it looked like there might have been a nice sunset, so I took a short detour into Arches National Park and stopped at an overlook of the La Sal Mountains.

Subtle Sunset

We turned around at Balanced Rock and then headed back into town for dinner.

Quick Stop at Balanced Rock

We spent most of Sunday visiting rock art sites in the Colorado River Gorge along the Potash Road and hiking up a few short canyons just off the river. While Saturday was pretty sunny out with nice clouds in the sky and warmer temperatures, it was overcast and much colder on Sunday.

There are six toes on this large petroglyph of a foot.

Six Toes

The Water Bird Panel

Water Bird Panel

Push Me – Pull Me

Push Me - Pull Me Panel

Three toes and three fingers.

Three Toes & Fingers

A very nice panel of petroglyphs found along the river.

Potash Road Petroglyphs

A closer look at my favorite part.


Diane hiking through the snow in Long Canyon.

Long Canyon

Snow & Petroglyphs

Snow & Petroglyphs

We went for a short hike up an unnamed canyon not too far from the Corona Arch Trail.

Winter Canyon

It was on this hike that I realized I don’t like bushwhacking in the snow. Not only are all the branches weighed down and hanging lower than usual from the snow resting on them, but every time you touch them the snow falls onto you…

Snow-Covered Trees

Diane nearing the large dryfall at the end of the canyon.

Nearing The End

Icicles & Snow


A beautiful winter scene at the end of the canyon.

Wintery Canyon End

Looking back down the canyon after climbing up onto a sandstone bench to check out a large alcove.

Snow Canyon

Hiking back down the canyon through snow-covered trees.

Snow Canopy

The Bear Panel

Bear Panel

Even though I had pointed out the Courthouse Wash Pictograph Panel to Diane a few times before, she had never seen it up close, so we made sure to do that today.

Moab Barrier Canyon Style

Long-Nosed Sheep. This is a small petroglyph panel Diane spotted as we were driving by.

Long-Nosed Sheep

The High Panel

The High Panel

>> Christmas Moab Weekend Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. Dianne
    Dianne December 28, 2017

    You all are tenacious souls. However, the result is lovely! The geographical features show so well with snow on them. The photos are very interesting, and I naturally am drawn to the glyphs. Beautiful! I’d love to see the areas in snow.

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