The Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel definitely is an ancient art exhibit that belongs on the lifetime destination list. This gigantic canvas is located at the end of the Buckhorn Wash next to the San Rafael River Swinging Bridge Campground, so there are options for spending some quality time in this area. A series of previously published articles describes the best way to begin a Buckhorn Canyon adventure in the San Rafael Swell region of Utah. The visitor center near the Wedge Recreation Area will provide all the information needed for experiencing this fascinating geological area and the points of interest are listed too. Information about the rules to follow when viewing ancient rock are also mentioned, along with the social responsibility of reporting suspicious behavior and vandalism.
The rock art at the towering canyon wall panel is mostly composed of large red paint pictographs and there are hand pecked pictographs to view too. The tall red paint figures are adorned with mysterious symbols and each one seems to be holding a tool, hunting weapon or snake, which which opens the door for many interpretations. Clues as to the meaning of the artwork can be found in the local terrain, which is actually very lush and green in this end of the canyon, so this must have been some prime hunting grounds long ago. The vast amount of snakes being handled by the human figures may suggest that these reptiles were either a local food resource or snake medicine ceremonies may have been practiced here.
There are also a few interesting pictographs that are described as being "Rain Angels" and they certainly do look like winged humans upon first glance. Closer inspection will reveal more details that show ceremonial practices aligned with the overall theme of this rock art panel. Hours upon hours can be spent viewing the pictographs while meditating over the mysterious meanings that have been lost over eons of time. Those who feel the need to stare in wonder will find some comfort in this area, because there are viewing benches and basic facilities on site. This fine example of ancient Barrier Canyon tribal art certainly is worth going way out in the middle of nowhere to view, so be sure to chalk this destination high on the list when planning a San Rafael Swell region excursion!
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