Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

The Wolfman Rock Art Panels

Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 1 2

This hike in the Lower Butler Wash Road hiking area of Comb Ridge in Bears Ears National Monument takes you to see the Wolfman petroglyph.

It is an amazing and well-known ancient rock art panel with plenty of other unique figures to see and two ruin sites across the canyon from it to explore.

After viewing the Wolfman panel, you can continue the hike, crossing Butler Wash to the other side of the canyon to a bench with an interesting group of ruins and more artwork.
  • Pay close attention to the directions, the exit point from the canyon rim to the trail along the canyon wall is easy to miss
  • Dogs allowed
  • Hiking poles
  • Binoculars


  • 1.0 mile total out and back to the Wolfman rock art panels
  • 2.0 miles total out and back if you continue to the north ruins
  • 2.5 miles total out and back if you continue to the south and north ruins

Wolfman Panel Map



From the parking area follow the well-defined sandy trail heading toward the canyon you can see to the west.

The Butler Wash road wolfman rockart panel sandy trail

The sandy trail becomes slickrock and more difficult to follow, there may be a few rock cairns to guide you, head directly to the canyon rim to the overlook of the ruins on the other side of the canyon.


You should be looking directly across the canyon at some ruins in an alcove under the rim on the other side. Below is Butler Wash, the same wash you cross at almost every trailhead on the hikes up and down Lower Butler Wash Road next to Comb Ridge, however here it is a true rock-walled canyon instead of a shallow sandy wash.


The ruins on the other side of the canyon
The ruins on the opposite side of the Butler Wash Canyon


Standing on the canyon rim facing the ruins turn left and head south along the rim, look for a bench below you that’s starting to head southward downhill.


The crux of finding the Wolfman rock art panels is following this bench down to a notch in the rocks that then leads to a rocky ramp running down the face of the canyon wall.

The notch to the wolfman rock art panel
The notch you need to find and go through

Once you pass through the notch and continue down the rocky trail, you’ll come to an alcove with a seep running in the rear wall with a chain keeping you out. Continue further past this alcove to the rock art panels.

Alcove with the seep in the rear

The panel is quite impressive at least 100 feet long, and there’s rock art starting on the left that gets progressively better as you follow it to the right.
You will find the wolfman about in the center at ground level and then the shield panel, followed by some really nice petroglyphs toward the end with what looks like flowers and a human figure and maybe some eyes.
Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 1 2
The wolfman

Butler Wash road shield panelThe shield panel


Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 11The eclectic and mysterious petroglyph panel


The ruins on the other side of the canyon

Once you’ve had your fill admiring the amazing rock art on this side of the canyon you can either return the way you came or venture on to the two ruins sites on the other side of Butler Wash.
Look below you, at the network of trails, there should be an obvious alcove opposite you on the other side of the canyon. The ruins you saw from the canyon rim are far to the right of this alcove. Look to the left of this alcove and notice how the canyon runs back here into a short side canyon, to see the south ruin that is where you want to go.

The trails and alcove on the opposite side of the canyon

To get to the other side of the canyon go to the end of the panel, head down and then double back heading north and follow the dirt trails to an eventual obvious sloping path cutting down.
At the bottom here the trail turns to the left or the right.
Going to the left takes you to the alcove across the canyon from the rock art panel and around to the short side canyon with a very intact ruin up in an alcove.
The path is quite overgrown as not many people go this way, long pants would be an advantage. Within the alcove is a mud structure, it’s confusing but interesting, it looks possibly man-made but maybe not. 

The alcove to the left with its mud structure

Continue south and find your way around to the small side canyon and ruin with one large open room and a closed wall ruin with a doorway adjacent to the right. Look closely for some good petroglyphs of two bighorn sheep kissing and another with a long neck.
After you’re done, double back the way you came and now take the right-hand fork of the original trail, it takes you north and over and up to the other side of the canyon to the ruins you saw from the overlook above.
The ruins are interesting to see close up. The rooms on the left were made almost entirely from adobe material with very few rocks mixed in, looking similar to the structure in the alcove. The structure to the right is more traditional construction and in really great shape.

The first set of ruins look more like they are made from mud

The second set of ruins look more like they are made from stone

Close up of the mud covered walls

Follow the bench further to the right, along the base of the cliff face you’ll find some rock art up higher if you look carefully. You should see a handprint and a foot outline.
Look for the hand and foot designs up on the left
Keep walking and you’ll see more and more faint artwork, sharpening marks and a snake-like image.

Sharpening marks

Butler Wash road wolfman rock art snake


There’s a trail that leads off to the right and goes around the cliff face but doesn’t seem to go anywhere or lead to anything

Getting there
  • All sites on the Lower Butler Wash road can be reached from the north from Highway 95, or the south from Highway 163. The road is a good quality dirt road that cars can traverse.


From the North

  • Exit south from Highway 95 at ( 37.534608, -109.620771 ) onto the un-named dirt road
  • Continue for 0.3 miles (passing the dinosaur footprints trailhead).
  • At the T, turn right onto Lower Butler Wash road (country road 262), and continue south for 11 miles.
  • Turn right at the Y at ( 37.392207, -109.618686 ) and continue south for 9 miles.
  • The turn-off for the short spur road to the parking area for the Wolfman rock art panels from Lower Butler wash road is at ( 37.276258, -109.641416 ), just south of the fence that intersects Lower Butler Wash Road


From the South

  • Exit north from Highway 163 at ( 37.264230, -109.641849 )
  • Follow Lower Butler Wash road north for 1 mile.
  • The turn-off for the short spur road to the parking area for the Wolfman rock art panels from Lower Butler wash road is at ( 37.276258, -109.641416 ), just south of the fence that intersects Lower Butler Wash Road

Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 22
From Lower Butler Wash Road, follow this short spur road to the parking area

Explore Nearby...


House on Fire Ruin

House on Fire Ruins in Mule Canyon South Fork

There are many ruins in the canyon, but House on Fire ruin is the most famous of them, getting its name from the effects that the sunlight has on the sandstone cliff of the overhang that it is built under

Road Canyon Fallen Roof Ruin 2

Fallen Roof Ruin in Road Canyon

Road Canyon contains many ruins, granaries, and kivas. “Fallen Roof Ruin” derives its name from the elaborate pattern created by the missing sandstone slabs of rock that fell out of the roof of the alcove in front of it.

Butler Wash Ruins 4

Butler Wash Ruins

Choose to view the ruins from an overlook or hike up the wash and explore the ruins close up

Lower Butler Wash Road - Hikes

Lower Butler Wash Road is a unique area of Comb Ridge, home to a dozen unmarked trailheads not published by the BLM or marked with signs. All are short hikes (1-3 miles round trip) that lead to amazing ancestral sites, caves and alcoves with 800-year-old ruins, petroglyphs, pottery shards and more.
Multi-colored hand prints on the back wall

Double Stack Ruin

See a higher and lower set of ruins with painted handprints, metates, rockart and impressive mud mortared rock walled structures still standing

Lower Butler Wash road monarch cave 3

Monarch Cave

Hidden up a side canyon of Comb Ridge is an impressive ruin complex with petroglyphs, pottery sherds, corn cobs, sharpening grooves, and grinding metates.

Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 13

Wolfman Panel

Hike to see multiple rock art panels with one with a unique wolfman like figure, across the canyon are ruins you can continue to

Lower Butler Wash Road Fishmouth Cave 5

Fishmouth Cave

A short easy hike to a large cave with handprints and metates, there are a number of smaller ruins to see along the trail.

Lower Butler Wash Road Split Level Ruin 8

Split Level Ruin

The hike to a ruin split over two ledges is filled with hundreds of pictographs, large rocks covered in metates, sharpening marks, pottery shards, and painted handprints

Goosenecks State Park ...

Scenic Drives...

Recapture Pocket_ 4

Recapture Pocket

This is a little visited but interesting location full of goblins and hoodoos contained in three main groups of formations relatively close to each other

Everything Else...

Newspaper Rock 2

Newspaper Rock

A famous rock panel carved with about 650 individual petroglyphs of abstract shapes and symbols to more recognizable human and animal figures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Buy Framed Prints

Images on this website are available as framed prints to support running the website
Browse Prints For Sale


Featured Posts