"Needles: Tse' Hane - the rock that tells the story" Top 5 Page for this destination Canyonlands National Park Things to Do Tip by goodfish
Canyonlands National Park Things to Do: 152 reviews and 316 photos
This isn't inside the park but along the road in so you can't miss it: look for the "Newspaper Rock" sign. Close to the parking lot is a large section of flat rock with 2,000 years of petroglyphs etched into its desert-varnished surface. Petroglyphs are found all over the Southwest but it's unusual to find a collection this large in such an easily accessed spot - you usually have to do some hiking/scrambling to get to them.
You'll often see images like these referred to as "rock art" but the peoples who painstakingly pecked them into the sandstone likely had little time for decorative leisure. Some archeologists think they were a form of worship while others believe they could be records of important historical or astronomical events. Or all of the above. So while none of them really know for sure what the squiggles, footprints, animals and otherworldly anthropomorphic (human) forms mean, they have a rough idea how old they are and which groups of people carved them by the age of other artifacts found nearby and specific attributes of the images themselves. For instance, bows and arrows first appeared in this region around 500 A.D, and horses not until after the Spanish brought them in the mid 1500's. Sometimes the age of the surface they've been etched into is a clue, and older figures are darker than more recent additions. The carvings here are said to range from undetermined B.C. Archaic to A.D. 1300 Ancestral Puebloan with later images (see the horses and riders?) and some unfortunate modern graffiti scattered about.
Whatever they mean, this is one very noisy piece of rock. The ancient (and some not-so) people had a LOT to say about this spot and the visible chatter makes you wish you could hear with your ears what you see with your eyes!
Please don't touch the carvings as oils or other residue on your hands can damage them. And don't even think about adding to the graffiti; there are big fines for that.
Address: On Hwy 211, 12 miles from the 191 turnoff
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