Travel Curious

For independent travelers who want to dig deeper

Temple Mountain Pictographs

The Temple Mountain Pictograph site has the remains of some of the largest ancient figures you will see in the Green River area and was once covered with much more artwork

This was a very significant rock art panel at one time, the Temple Mountain pictographs panel was once about 60 feet long, but it still contains some of the largest painted figures in Utah.
The remains of the damaged large figures are still over 6 feet tall and it is estimated they were originally over 8 feet tall. What has been lost can only be imagined at this time, were there even more large, remarkable figures in the damaged areas, were there even larger figures than these?

The large figure has a short arm holding a snake, similar to many Barrier Canyon Style figures, the ones at the Head of Sinbad and at Horseshoe Canyon immediately come to mind.
To the left, look at the two animals one with a horizontal and one with a vertical stripe through it.

The Temple Mountain pictograph sight has some interesting figures

The various artists made a bad choice in choosing this part of the cliff face, water, winter freeze-thaw, and salt crystal growth all contributed to the spawling of the rock face, a natural destruction of the panel.
The horned figure on the far left with the bullet hole damage is a Fremont anthropomorphic figure, the other figures on the right are Barrier Canyon Style and much older. This indicates the panel had a long history of being decorated over a long time period.
So much of the original work has ben destoyed by water
Vandalized pictograph with bullet holes
Fremont anthropomorphic figure
The Barrier Canyon Style figures on the right came first, and the Fremont figures on the left came later, and the artists had to use the space that was still available.
Why did the artists start on the right when they had the first choice? Was it because it was easier to access to work, or was it a better position for the display of their work? Were their trees blocking the view of the cliff face to the left at one time? The amount of time we are dealing with when it comes to these figures means you should realize that any trees you see here today were not here at the time of the creation of the figures and any trees that were there at the time of creation would not be here today.

What was the significance of the size of the figures? Did size represent importance in relation to the other figures? Did they want these figures to be seen from a distance? Unfortunately, there is just so much we don’t know and don’t understand about the artwork of these ancient people.


Getting there

1.5 hours from Moab, west of the town of Green River: Follow I-70 west for 11 miles to Exit #149 and take Highway 24 south 24 miles to mile maker 136 and the signed turn-off to Goblin Valley State Park (Temple Mt Rd) located on the west side of the road, continue for 6.2 miles.
The Temple Mountain pictograph are back along the cliff face behind the fence
  • Binoculars – to get a good close-up of the artwork
Parking ( 38.660794, -110.669731 )
A dirt parking area



Explore Nearby...


Rochester Rock Art Panel

A short hike leads to a boulder on an overlook with hundreds of petroglyphs chipped into the desert varnish from the Fremont Culture dating back to at least 1300 AD

Horseshoe Canyon – Hike

Once known as barrier canyon, it contains rock art that gave name to the barrier canyon style of artwork, contained in four galleries including the Great Ghost.

Goblin Valley State Park Utah

Goblin Valley State Park

The park contains thousands of mushroom-shaped (goblins). You can walk amongst the hoo-doos, there are hiking trails and a cave on the back side of the valley called the Goblin’s Lair

Scenic Drives...

Nine Mile Canyon Utah

Nine Mile Canyon – Scenic Drive

A forty-mile long canyon drive with the highest concentration of rock art in the world, with an estimated 10,000 individual artworks from Archaic, Fremont, and Ute Indians

Buckhorn Wash Green River Utah

Buckhorn Wash

Rock art on 100 foot panels. See pictographs painted by the Barrier Canyon culture 2000 years ago and petroglyphs pecked into the rock by Fremont Indians 1000 years ago.

Wedge Overlook

Called “Utah’s Little Grand Canyon”. There are multiple overlooks 1000 feet above the San Rafael River and canyons below you, each one gives you a different vista.

Everything Else...

Crystal Geyser Green River Utah

Crystal Geyser

Crystal Geyser is a CO2 geyser created accidentally in 1935 by an oil drilling rig.

Temple Mountain Pictograph

Significant because it contains some of the largest prehistoric painted figures in Utah. The largest image in its current condition is about 6 feet tall.

Lone Warrior Panel Green River Utah

Lone Warrior panel

The Lone Warrior is the main feature, but there are some petroglyphs, some signatures with dates and some sharpening grooves carved into the base of the cliff to see also.

Head of Sinbad / Locomotive Point

On the south side of a locomotive-shaped rock formation, are amazing Barrier Canyon Style pictographs so pristine they look like they were painted yesterday

Dutchman Arch

Visit a small but picturesque arch you can walk inside of or climb right on top of

Swasey Cabin Green River Utah

Swasey Cabin

Visit Joseph Swasey’s 1921 cabin. The Swasey brothers, Joe, Sid, Rod, and Charley were some of the earliest pioneers of the San Rafael Swell and many local landmarks bear their names.

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