Black Dragon Wash
Pictograph of the dragonBlack Dragon Wash
is an interesting canyon located just off Interstate 70 past Green River
, eastern part of the San Rafael Swell. Most people just pass by without knowing that it is out there. I have visited several times, and each time enjoyed the short walk to the pictograph pannel. I often stop there to spend a night on my trips to San Rafael Swell. The canyon is pretty short, but very scenic. There is no sign at the Interstate, so you have to know where to turn off. It is sort of a secret, but then it has been mentioned in several guide books and internet sites, so I do not feel bad advertising this place.
Black Dragon has a great pictograph in the shape of a winged dragon - therefore its name (I always thought it to be more of a pterodactyl looking pictograph). The pictographs were left by Fremont Indians, who inhabited this area from about 500 to 1300 AD. They left considerable evidence of their occupation including campsites, stone granaries, and artwork painted pictographs or carved petroglyphs on canyon walls.
You can actually drive all the way to the panel inside the canyon, but you need a 4 WD vehicle to drive this rough road. I usually park outside the canyon and walk in. The hike is very short.
Black Dragon Wash
View from the panel
From Green River, head west on Interstate 70 for about 14 miles to mile marker 147. Turn off the Interstate onto a dirt road and go through the gate (open it and close it after you pass through). From the gate, head north on a good dirt road and either do a u-shaped turn or drop steeply down into a wash and shorten up the way slightly. I would recommend u-shaped turn if driving a normal vehicle, you can go through the wash if having a 4WD vehicle. Follow the road for 1 mile to a signed junction. Go left into Dragon Wash. There are several spots for parking. Once inside the canyon, the road becomes more narrow and harder to find a spot to park.
Hike: you can either drive on a very rough road or hike inside the canyon. I recommend hiking, so you can admire beautiful canyon walls and enjoy its coolness. It is 0.5 miles from the signed Black Dragon turn to the panel with pictographs and petroglyphs.
The panel is clearly marked as a fenced area.
If you want you can continue exploring the canyon past the petroglyphs. It does open up a little bit. Most people do not continue further up the canyon.
Elevation: 4250 feet
There is no red tape. Driving, hiking inside Black Dragon Wash is free. Please do not touch the pictographs.
Remember closing the gate leading to the Interstate after passing through.
The closest town and services are in Green River
. You can even get a warm shower at KOA campground in Green River.