Black Dragon Canyon

Black Dragon Canyon

38°56’28.5″N 110°24’17.5″W

Randall Chapman | March 20, 2018 | Travel


The Black Dragon Canyon is a steep walled canyon of beautiful Wingate Sandstone cut into the San Rafael Swell just off of Hwy 70 near Green River Utah. A pictograph of a dragon was painted onto the wall by the Freemont Indian that roamed these lands between 400CE and 1350CE. There are other pictographs alongside that of the dragon but the dragon itself is the most intriguing. While Dragons are all over European and Chinese mythology they are seldom found in Native American lore. It is believed that dragon lore comes from the misunderstanding of dinosaur fossils; in some of the more rural regions of China they still make “medicines” out of “dragon” bones. It would stand to reason that a similar misunderstanding could have led to this pictograph as dinosaur bones are regularly excavated from the rock in this area. This is all speculation of course but it does spark the imagination. Then again, maybe the artist had a pet bird he wanted to honor and the alien looking figures to the left are the most significant. Who knows???

To see this pictograph it is a short hike, about 3 miles round trip, on relatively flat terrain. It doesn’t take a high clearance vehicle but you can park a little closer if you have one. The canyon is wide enough that I’ve run into four wheelers in the canyon. You can’t miss the Dragon as there is a wood fence put up in front of it that alerts you when you are there. This is not a destination but if you are ever in the area you should stop and see this beautiful canyon and get swept back to a time before Columbus “discovered” America.

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