Free activities Hikes

Black Dragon Wash Pictograph

(Last Updated On: May 10, 2018)

A short flat hike along a rocky draw is all it takes to see the Black Dragon Wash Pictograph. It’s a really pretty piece of art that dates back to over a thousand years ago. The Black Dragon was found in 1928, and researchers no longer believe it is a dragon or pteradactyl at all, but a combination of other pictures. It sure looks like one, though.

 

The road to Black Dragon Wash is unique. The panel can be accessed from I-70, but there is no exit. There is a wide turnout at mile marker 147 as you travel west. This means that you really must be travelling west so you can make a right turn (North) off the freeway. It would be very unwise and dangerous to try to access it traveling east, so use the exits to get going the correct direction. Next, open the gate (trust me, this is legal), pull through, and then close the gate as you found it. Drive about 0.7 miles down the main road (avoid that dangerous looking left right on the other side of the gate and the right that parallels the freeway) winding along until you come to a left turn. There should be a sign directing you into Black Dragon Canyon.

This is the pull out off the I-70. You have to open that gate to get to the pictographs.

After you drive on the dirt road toward the West, watch for this sign.

Then you will head down into the canyon.

We parked right before this because we didn’t want to hurt our poor van.

Decide carefully how far to drive into the canyon. We only went about 1/2 mile as the road gets really rocky, and we didn’t want to push our van. A four-wheel drive might be able to drive right to the pictograph, but we preferred to walk the last quarter mile. It’s an easy, but rocky walk.

The canyon walls tower around you as you head to the pictograph. It was a very pretty stroll over to the Black Dragon Wash Pictograph.

Follow the road down further into the canyon.

We came across two 4 wheel drive vehicles a little further than we drove. The pictographs are straight ahead.

When the canyon takes a sharp turn to the left, a low fence appears on the right. Look for the Black Dragon on the other side of the fence. There are many other pictographs on this wall, including a pretty cool cat and some markings that look like a calendar.

The pictographs are signed, so they are easy to find.

You can see the large red figures on the canyon wall.

Then a little to the right, there is a little alcove with a bunch more.

We really liked this cat/dog figure.

The large red figures are neat, too.

Historians believe this could be a calendaring system with all the lines and dots.

So, what do you think it is?

As always with rock art, look but don’t touch! The oils in your hands can damage the art. Don’t even think about adding graffiti of your own. We don’t want to see it, and you don’t want to pay a fine. And while I’m ranting, don’t forget to lock the gate on the way out.

Directions

Head west on 1-70. Turn right onto a dirt road 50 feet west of mile marker 147. Open the gate, drive through, and then close the gate. Don’t go left through the wash, but head right to go around the wash. At the next junction just a few hundred yards in, head left. Drive 0.7 miles and there is a sign for Black Dragon Wash. Turn left and drive about 1/2 mile until it gets too rocky for your car, and then park along the side of the road. Walk down the road to the Black Dragon Wash Pictograph.

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