The desolate Salt Wash region of Utah sees relatively few visitors, even though thousands upon thousands of tourists pass through on Interstate Highway 70 each day. When looking from the highway, this vast landscape appears to be as inhospitable as can be, so most people are just content with taking a few pictures before heading on down the road. During the time it takes to pass through this badlands terrain the thoughts naturally drift toward dreaming about making a great escape into this picturesque place. Thinking about what it would take to survive in this unforgiving high desert environment also comes to light. Dreaming is as far as most are willing to go when flying by on the highway, but for those who wish to take a closer look, there is a side road that goes through this desolate area and there are a few interesting lesser known points of interest to check out along the way.
At Exit 116 on I-70, South Moore Cutoff Road is the travel route to look for. This paved road heads northwest through the vast Salt Wash badlands region to Utah Highway 10 and Millsite State Park, which is a premium golfing and fishing destination. In between is a vast landscape of geological reefs, canyons, buttes and endless desert dry washes. Very few people tour this road and the silence out this way is deafening. Solitude is easy to find and there are BLM dispersed camping opportunities throughout this amazing landscape. There are also a few hiking trailheads to explore and the most popular path goes to Molan Reef, which is a native cultural site where ancient rock art can be viewed. Both the hiking trails and the dirt side roads are rough in this badlands area, so it is best to be well prepared before taking on this lesser known destination.
For those who are not into hiking way out in the middle of nowhere, South Moore Cutoff Road definitely is one of the most interesting scenic drives in the entire west. There are a few roadside points of interest along the way, which include the Dry Wash Petroglyphs near Molan Reef. A faded old BLM information sign marks the spot and it is very easy to overlook while passing through, so keeping the eyes peeled will be necessary. The Dry Wash Petroglyphs can be found on gigantic boulders that have tumbled downhill from a tall butte into a dry wash basin next to the road and it will take a little bit of searching on foot to find the rock art. One of the most famous petroglyphs in this sacred place is a long snake that covers the entire face of a huge boulder. There are only a few ancient rock art examples at the Dry Wash Petroglyphs, but they they certainly do inspire finding what else lies in store at Molan Reef!
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