Buckhorn Wash is in the San Rafael Swell in central Utah. The Buckhorn Wash breaks through the Navajo Sandstone and works its way down through towering Sandstone cliffs as you make your way to the San Rafael River. Signs along the drive tell you the names of the different sandstone layers. There are several panels of pictographs and petroglyphs along the road, making the road a delight for sight seers, geologists and anthropologists.
Click for more information from San Rafael County.
Once the scene of outlaw chases, Buckhorn Draw, a long, steep-walled canyon, is the main northern gate-way to the San Raphael Swell. A canyon highlight is the interpreted Buckhorn Draw Native American rock art site, where BLM has built an interpretive area. These striking figures were restored as Emery County’s Utah Centennial Project in 1996.
Buckhorn Wash rock art includes pictographs and petroglyphs made by prehistoric cultures. Pictographs are painted onto the rock, as opposed to petroglyphs, which are pecked into the rock. The BLM brochure quotes Schaafsma (The Rock Art of Utah, Univ. of Utah): these may be “pictures of shamans experiencing symbolic death and at times transformations, probably into a supernatural or animal form…”
How To Get There: The Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel at Buckhorn Wash is in a remote part of the San Rafael Swell not far from the San Rafael campground. From the south, the Buckhorn Dra area is accessible from the south from I-70, Exit 129. The upper portion of the road crosses the high desert plains. The road crosses through the Mancos Shale. Although the area is dry most the year, the road is completely impassable when wet.
A must see side trip in the area is to the Wedge overlook. From the Wedge overlook you can see the Little Grand Canyon of the San Rafael Swell. It is more then worth the extra 10 minutes of drive time to see! Highly recommend!
39° 5.020′ N
110° 39.960′ W