Newspaper Rock…

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Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock, located along Indian Creek in southeastern Utah, is a 200 square foot sandstone rock which was used as a canvas by ancient rock artists.

It is believed that the petroglyphs found here were made by various cultures over the last several hundred years.

The oldest culture reflected here were the ancestral Puebloans, followed by the Fremont people and then the Utes and Paiutes.

There are more than 200 petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock, and it is one of the largest, best preserved and easiest accessed group of petroglyphs in Utah.

Newspaper Rock


Newspaper Rock is situated within the Canyon Rims Recreation Area between the towns of Moab and Monticello, 12 miles west of US 191 off Hwy 211.

Operating Hours and Season

Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.


There are no fees.

Local Facilities

This day-use site has toilet facilities and plenty of paved parking.


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There is no lodging within the monument.

The closest lodging is in the towns of Monticello and Moab, Utah.

Monticello is 24 miles northwest of the monument, and Moab is 50 miles north.

To find lodging in either of these towns, use the Search Box on the right.

Simply enter the location and dates you have in mind, and the server, Hotels Combined, will provide you with a list of the lodging available on the dates you have specified.

This is not a booking agency. It is a search engine to help you find great lodging at great prices.

Newspaper Rock


There is no camping at the monument.
The old campground was closed in 2006 and it is illegal to camp there.
Squaw Flat Campground

Squaw Flat Campground is operated by the Needles District of nearby Canyonlands National Park.

Squaw Flat is located approximately 25 miles northwest of Newspaper Rock and is reached by continuing on Hwy 211 from Newspaper Rock.

There are 26 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Maximum RV length is 28 feet.

Facilities Include

•    Restroom
•    Tent pads
•    Picnic tables
•    Fire grates
•    Water available year-round


$15 per night


Squaw Flat typically fills every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October.

Group size limit is 10 people and 2 vehicles.

Newspaper Rock

Definition of Terms

Many people new to Lake Powell Country and the Grand Circle have difficulty understanding some of the designations used in describing this ancient rock art. 

Here are some of the more common ones and their definitions:


These ancient artists carved, chiseled, etched or pecked into the rock a variety of designs and symbols: animal, human, celestial and abstract.
Archaeologists call them petroglyphs.

They were most likely pecked or chiseled by using two handheld rocks, one used as a hammer and the other as a chisel.


Pictographs, on the other hand, are images and designs painted on a rock surface.

The paints were made from colorful plants and minerals which were ground up and mixed with liquids such as egg, blood or urine.

The pigments were applied using sticks, yucca fiber brushes or simply the artist’s fingers or hands.

Desert Varnish

“Desert Varnish, sometimes called rock varnish, is a thin coating (patina) of clay particles that are deposited on rocks in desert environments.

These clay particles are attached to rock surfaces by bacteria that live there.

The presence of manganese with the clay particles gives desert varnish a dark color, while the presence of iron causes it to appear red.

After an underlying area is exposed by pecking or scratching, the color of the exposed interior gradually becomes more like the color of the surface because of the rock varnish's regrowth, or repatination.” 1

Newspaper Rock


“Repatination refers to the re-coloration, or the re-growth of the desert varnish after a petroglyph image has been created.
Repatination occurs at various rates and degrees. A close examination of the degree of repatination can give a relative idea of how old an image may be. A great degree of repatination (darkening) indicates greater age than an image that shows only slight repatination.” 1

General Information

Why were the petroglyphs made?

No one knows for sure why petroglyphs were made.

Anthropologists have many theories; a few of them are:

•    They were religious icons
•    They marked rites of passage
•    They were used to ensure good hunting
•    They were used to display the hunter’s success

Newspaper Rock

How are petroglyphs dated?

There is currently no widely accepted method of exact dating for petroglyphs and pictographs.

For the most part, archaeologists rely on what is known as “Relative Dating by Depiction.”

The bow and arrow came into use in the southwest approximately A.D. 500 and the horse was introduced to the southwest after A.D. 1540.

If a petroglyph or pictograph depicts either of them then we know the relative date in which they were made.

References and Resources

The American Southwest
Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument

Bureau Of Land Management (BLM)

1 National Park Service

The Free Encyclopedia

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