Canyon Pintado rock art is easy to find and makes for a great road trip.
As we began our drive into the Canyon Pintado National Historic District, we were both filled with excitement. We had heard about this place before, but we never really knew what to expect. Now, as we drove deeper into the canyon, we were both eager to see what it had in store for us.
The Canyon Pintado area is located in western Colorado, just outside of the town of Rangely. It’s a rugged and beautiful landscape, filled with steep canyons and towering cliffs. But what makes this place truly special is the ancient history that’s been preserved here in the form of rock art.
As we made our way deeper into the canyon, we began to see the first signs of the area’s past inhabitants. Petroglyphs – ancient rock carvings – were etched into the cliff faces on either side of us. Some were simple shapes and patterns, while others depicted animals or human figures. We were both fascinated by these petroglyphs and couldn’t help but wonder about the people who had created them so long ago.
As we continued on, we came to a small parking lot and a set of informational signs. Here, we learned that the Canyon Pintado area was once home to a thriving community of Native Americans known as the Fremont people. They lived here for hundreds of years, from around 200 AD to 1300 AD, and left behind a wealth of artifacts and structures that can still be seen today.
One of the most impressive of these structures is a series of pit houses, which were dug into the ground and covered with roofs made of branches and mud. These houses provided shelter for the Fremont people during the harsh winters and hot summers that are common in this part of Colorado. We both marveled at what was left of these structures, imagining what it must have been like to live in such a place.
But perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Canyon Pintado area is the sheer number of petroglyphs that have been preserved here. There are so many rock art and petroglyphs in the area, and they range in age from 1,000 to 8,000 years old. Some are very easy to spot, while others are more subtle and require a keen eye to find.
As we wandered through the canyon, taking in all of the petroglyphs we couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder. This place is a true testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Fremont people, who were able to thrive in such a challenging environment for so many centuries.
As we continued to explore the Canyon Pintado rock art, we both agreed that the Canyon Pintado National Historic District is a truly special place. It’s a must-see destination for anyone interested in ancient history or Native American culture. If you ever find yourself in western Colorado, we highly recommend taking the time to check it out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.