the Sand Island Petroglyph Panel is one of the
finest examples of easily accessible Anasazi rock art. Located just
outside of Bluff Utah it's over 100 yards of rock art that spans
everything from archaic to modern times. The sheer amount of
art along with the time range it represents tells us that this area
must have held some special significance.
The Sand Island Petroglyph Panel is as easy to
find as they come. It is located in the Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) Sand Island Recreation
Among the petroglyphs you will find at sand Island are these delightful carving of sheep, including one playing a flute!.
Area just 3 mile south of Bluff. The Recreation Area is one of
the major launching spots for both commercial and private floaters on
the San Juan River. In addition to the excellent boat launch facilities
you will find a well maintained fee required campground with about 25
campsites, pit toilets and no drinking water.
The Sand Island Recreation Area is open year round.
The rock art found at the Sand Island Petroglyph
Panel spans virtually all of the time that humans were known to inhabit
the four corners area. Carbon dating of a sandal found in the
general area of Sand Island
Panel showed that the area was likely occupied as early as 6,500 BC and
there are petroglyphs that are possibly that old on the panel. From
that prehistoric time until recent times the Sand Island Petroglyph
Panel was marked by every succeeding group. From the early Basketmaker
period through the Pueblo III period Anasazi Indians left record of
their habitation of the area. In more recent times the Utes and Navajo
also left records in this spot that clearly had a special meaning to
Looking out from 16 Room House there is a spectacular
vista with the flat river bottom lands in the foreground. It is easy to
imagine that these were important croplands for the Anasazi.
The petroglyph panel is very easy to
find. It is on the north side of the site and both signs and the
fencing protecting the panel make it obvious where to look. There is a
very short walk up the hill to the protective fence that keeps visitors
well back from the rock wall. It's unfortunately that people don't
properly respect these archaeological treasures. Because of the actions
of the few we all have to be restricted. Please remember this
everywhere you go in Anasazi country and be sure that you never cause
the deterioration of any site. Look, don't touch!
The Petroglyph panel stretches for more than a hundred yards and
features hundreds of petroglyphs of every style. Human figures, many
types of animals, geometric patterns, scalp figures and numerous
Kokopelli figures, including a very obvious Kokopelli with a very
over sized phallus and playing a flute.
The Sand Island rock art panel is a very old feature and
the rock has weathered to a very dark patina. This makes it very hard
to get good photos, particularly on a bright day when there is a lot of
reflection. However it is possible to get decent photos and you will be
sure to want to allow yourself enough time to really explore and
appreciate the rock art on display here.
The Sand Island Petroglyph Panel is a very important
and unique area. While much of the rock art in the Grand Gulch/Cedar
Mesa area is difficult to access, the Sand Island Panel is accessible
to almost everyone. There are thousands of years of history that are
represented on the Panel and there can be no doubt that this part of
the San Juan River area was of special importance to the Anasazi as
well as to those who both proceeded them and survived them.
you ever have the opportunity to visit the Bluff or Mexican Hat Utah
area do yourself a favor and make time to visit the unique
archaeological treasure - the Sand Island Petroglyph Panel.