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Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites
Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites

Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites

Free admission
Utah

The basics

Often called Potash Road, Highway 279 travels through a beautiful desert landscape of fiery red and orange sandstone. Along the way, it passes the access points for two important sites of rock art: the Moonflower Petroglyphs and the Birthing Scene petroglyphs, each accessible on short, easy walks. These rock art sites are sometimes included on tours of Moab, often combined with activities such as river cruises, hikes, and national park visits.

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Things to know before you go

  • This is a great destination for geology buffs. In addition to rock art, find three natural arches along the highway.
  • Wear a pair of sturdy shoes. While the access trails are short, they do have some uneven surfaces.
  • Bring plenty of water as there are no concessions along Highway 279.
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How to get there

At just over 15 miles (24 kilometers) long, Highway 279 starts at Highway 191 near the entrance to Arches National Park. From there, the highway continues southwest, ending in a series of 4WD-only dirt tracks. If you’re traveling in a 4WD with adequate supplies, it’s possible to continue on to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point.

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When to get there

The most popular times to visit Moab are spring and fall. From March through May and September through October, the weather is relatively warm and mild. Summer can be very hot but don’t let that deter you; just rise early during these months and walk during the coolest part of the day. In the winter, bundle up for chilly temperatures and enjoy uncrowded sites.

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Popular Hikes on Highway 279

In addition to the rock art access trails, several longer hikes begin on Highway 279 too. Starting 2.6 miles from the intersection with Highway 191 is the Moab Rim Trail, a 3-mile hike with views of the Colorado River and Moab Valley. A short drive farther along is the trailhead for Portal Overlook Trail. The 2-mile trail popular with mountain bikers leads to an overlook with panoramic views across the La Sal Mountains and the Colorado River.

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