Overview

Black Dragon Wash cuts through the San Rafael Reef just north of I-70 and features an ancient rock art panel depicting an impressive dragon-like creature amongst other figures. The rock art itself is only a quarter mile from where most people park but the rest of the canyon offers plenty of exploration opportunities. This hike is suitable for kids and adults of all ages and skill levels.

Trailhead

Black Dragon Wash (38.942872, -110.424227) is located just north of I-70, about 15 miles west of Green River, UT. To reach the trailhead from Green River:

  1. Drive 15 miles west on I-70 to mile marker 147.
  2. Turn right onto a dirt access road on the north side of the freeway. Be sure to close the gate behind you.
  3. Continue 0.1 miles and turn left.
  4. Continue .9 miles then turn left into Black Dragon Wash.
  5. Continue up the wash as far as you are comfortable driving, and then park.

It is possible to drive all the way to the Black Dragon rock art panel. However, most people will want to park at the 0.25-mile mark as the road becomes quite rough at that point, even for high clearance 4WD vehicles. The canyon is still an open motor vehicle route, but it is unmaintained and usually impassable without specialized vehicles and a skilled driver.

The Route

From the parking area, begin hiking west up into the canyon. Depending on how close you parked, it’s about one quarter to one half mile to the rock art panel that gives the canyon it’s name. The panel is located on the north (right) wall of the canyon and is easy to find thanks to a wooden fence built to keep cattle out.

The Black Dragon pictograph is a large figure painted on the wall that resembles a fantastical flying creature. If you keep looking around, you can find many other compelling markings on the wall from ancient cultures. Appreciate the rock art from a distance and please do not touch or mark the walls.

If you’d like to extend the hike, continue hiking up Black Dragon Wash for as far as you wish. It’s approximately 1.5 miles, depending on where you parked, to where the canyon opens up on the west side of the San Rafael Reef, through which the canyon cuts. When ready, return the way you came.

Rules & Regulations

  • Do not touch or alter the rock art.
  • Do not draw or carve on rocks.
  • Drive only on designated routes.
  • Clean up after pets.
  • Pack out all trash.

Special Considerations

  • This area can be extremely hot during spring, summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.
  • Do not enter canyons when significant precipitation is in the forecast. Flash floods can strike quickly and without warning.

Credits

This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.