Explore the West's ancestral past. Visit the sacred lands of the Navajo. Travel with respect.
Countless generations of Native Americans have called the landscapes of Utah home, from the hunter-gatherers of the prehistoric era and the Ancestral Pueblos who built cliff dwellings in Bears Ears National Monument to the more than 60,000 Native Americans who live in Utah today. This five-day itinerary will paint a vibrant picture of Utah’s heritage as you visit dwelling sites, petroglyphs, and other places steeped in Native American culture and present-day history.
Start things off with a visit to the Natural History Museum of Utah then give yourself a couple of days to tour Nine Mile Canyon and the backcountry roads of the San Rafael Swell to see some of the state's finest petroglyph and pictrograph sites. First-time visitors might start the trip in Arches National Park, where just off the trail to Delicate Arch lie ancient Ute petroglyphs. (But plan with care: The park gets busy and patience is a must. Check traffic in advance and know that weekends will be especially busy.) Head south toward the Indian Creek Corridor Scenic Byway unit of Bears Ears National Monumebt for a stop at Newspaper Rock, where you’ll find hundreds of petroglyphs etched into the cliffside and dating as far back as 2,000 years.
Around Blanding and Bluff, you can visit Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum to explore an ancient Pueblo village, as well as Hovenweep National Monument and its castle-like remnants of a massive ancient village. Then marvel at the 100-yard panel of petroglyphs at Sand Island. With high-clearance, a map, preparation and respect, nearby Comb Ridge offers a closer look at this land's indigenous history.
Take a Jeep tour of Monument Valley with a Navajo guide who will teach you about Navajo culture, storytelling, and this breathtaking landscape they call home. Get a closer look by walking the Wildcat Trail that loops around West Mitten Butte. If you've seen even a few Hollywood Westerns, chances are, this place will seem familiar.
On your final day, explore the rugged Cedar Mesa area where you’re bound to discover with humility and care the ancient cliff dwellings along S.R. 95 and countless relics scattered throughout the canyons. Or visit the largest known Fremont Indian village and its artifacts, petroglyphs and pictographs as well as the impressive range of animals depicted in the petroglyphs of Capitol Reef National Park.
Across a Snow-Covered Desert
Follow this itinerary for a week-long winter road trip across the snow-covered desert of Southeastern Utah.
Ancient Pictographs, Petroglyphs and Timeless Mysteries
Exploring Horseshoe Canyon isn’t for everyone. First of all, the effort to get there is an adventure in itself, but those efforts make the reward — namely, the chance to see up close some of the most significant pictograph panels in North America — even more noteworthy.
Art Keeps the Native American Culture Alive
Utah artist Al Groves launches a new art collective as he works to keep indigenous traditions alive.
Exploring Mule Canyon: House on Fire and Cave Tower
Driving the up the dusty, terracotta-colored road toward Mule Canyon in Cedar Mesa, you get a sense that this is a special place, though you might not be able to put a finger on why.
Following the Markings of Native American History
This road trip across Utah to view ancient petroglyphs and pictographs will give you an incredible window into the past.
Hike Among Traces of the Ancients at the Mysterious Parowan Gap
See an impressive number of panels covered in petroglyphs. Some people believe that the Gap was considered a special place at certain times.
Hoop by Hoop with Patrick Willie
A Navajo storyteller found his purpose in hoop dancing. Now he’s using social media videos to amplify the Native voices of a younger generation.
How to Visit Rock Imagery Sites Like an Archaeologist
There are untold thousands of rock imagery sites across Utah, and hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites of every stripe. Learn how to explore these sites with the respect and deference they deserve.
Insider's Guide to Hiking Rainbow Bridge National Monument
From choosing the best season and trail, to understanding logistics and history, here's what you need to know to hike Utah's Rainbow Bridge National Monument located off the south coast of Lake Powell.
It’s About Time We All Unplugged
After months of being at home, we’ve all been disconnected from each other but connected permanently to our screens. It’s time to pull the plug—literally. In Utah, you can find far-flung places to reset, wellness resorts that promote digital detox, and destinations where you can swap screen time for much-needed adventure time.
Meet the Fremonts: Unearthing an Ancient Civilization
Did you know that interstate highway construction created Fremont Indian State Park? Visit the park and Museum for a peek into Utah’s past, plus hiking and ATV trails.
Navajo: Fry Bread, Tacos, Pizza
Despite its troubling origins, Navajo fry bread is an inspired food of the nation’s people, and it can be found in many forms with various names around the southwest.
Nourished by the Land: A Shoshone Perspective
Darren Parry learned from his grandmother about the plants, places and worldview that sustained their Shoshone ancestors.
Spirits in the Rock
Spectacular pictograph panels, ingenious cliff-hanging architecture and the mysteries of Range Creek Canyon’s first inhabitants, the Fremont.
The 46 Miles of Nine Mile Canyon
Follow Nine Mile Canyon Road into the rugged and remote Book Cliffs, where messages from the ancients interface with settlers of the West and modern ways of thinking.
The Art of Supporting Utah Artists
Here’s a look at six local artists whose work draws upon Utah’s diverse environments as inspiration.
The History of River House (and How to Experience It Today)
Looking for items to add to your Bears Ears Monument itinerary? Explore the history of the River House Ruin site here and see it for yourself. Visit Utah.
The Navajo Basketmakers
Meet the Navajo artists behind this labor intensive and traditional practice.
The Petroglyphs of Comb Ridge
Comb Ridge in Southeastern Utah offers dramatic galleries of ancient petroglyphs engraved on sandstone cliffs by Ancestral Puebloan artists over 1,000 years ago. Learn more about Comb Ridge and its unique rock art sites, including the famed Procession Panel.
The Return to Robbers Roost
Are you intrigued by the old American West legend involving Robbers Roost? Want to find an alleged hideout of the infamous Butch Cassidy and Gang? Explore Utah.
The Voices of Bears Ears
Bears Ears National Monument is at the heart of southeastern Utah. These lands are imbued with layers of culture — layers of life. In this four-part video series, meet the locals who connect with the land in their own distinct ways.
Touring Utah with the State’s Most Well Known Women Writers
The diversity and beauty found in Utah has often been captured by women. Here are the places that seven of Utah’s most well known women writers knew and loved most.
Twin Rocks Trading Post
A must stop! The shop has museum-quality ancient art as well as handcrafted Native American and Southwest art.
Utah’s Unexpected Pit Stops
You’re doing it wrong if you think road trip pit stops are boring layovers on your way to more exciting destinations. How many of these hidden gems have you been to? Here are 11 mini-adventures to check off your list next time you’re road-tripping through Utah.
Wintertime Storytelling With Shoshone Tribal Elders
We’re shining a spotlight on elders from the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation who keep tribal history alive through the stories traditionally told and retold in winter months.