The Paleo-Indian cultures lived in this area as far back as 11,500 b.c. Their descendants, the Archaic people, also hunted and gathered here and by about 1000 b.c. began to grow corn. By about a.d. 1100, there was Ancestral Puebloan occupation in the Needles District of Canyonlands. The ruins around Salt Creek are evidence of small settlements. The Fremont people lived across the Colorado River to the northwest of the Ancestral Puebloans. In all three areas of the park, there can be found scenes of hunting and harvesting, stylized figures, and abstract designs left by ancient artists working in stone for purposes that remain unclear. For about 200 years, the Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan peoples cultivated crops in canyon bottoms and left rock art on canyon walls.
Grand Canyon: Some 3,000 to 4,000 years, the Desert Archaic people lived within the Grand Canyon. Pictographs were applied to rock with a crude sort of paint made of minerals mixed with plant juice or animal oils. The Desert Archaic seemed to vanish from the scene about 1,000 BC, possibly slowly blending their culture in with the next group of Indians to occupy the Grand Canyons, the Anasazi. The Anasazi, who had been occupying lands east of the Grand Canyon for 600 years or so began drifting into the Grand Canyon region by 500 AD. By 800 AD, the Anasazi were entering a phase known as the Pueblo.
Capitol Reef National Park: It is an inviting wilderness of sandstone formations and cliffs with places such as Capitol Dome, The Park preserves the Waterpocket Fold, a 90-mile long wrinkle in the earth's crust, called a monocline. The Fold extends 70 miles, from nearby Thousand Lake Mountain to the Colorado River. It is a place where Indians hunted and farmed for more than 1,000 years
Bryce Canyon National Park: People have been in the Colorado Plateau region for about 12,000 years, only random fragments of worked stone tell of their presence near Bryce Canyon. Paiutes explained the colorful hoodoos as "Legend People" who were turned to stone by Coyote.
Arches National Park: Paleo-Indians lived in the lush canyons leading to the Green and Colorado rivers from about 10,000 to 7,800 BC and might have been the earliest people to see Arches. Although there is no evidence of Paleo-Indian use in the park, their spear points and camps have been found nearby.
Canyonlands National Park: Native American rock art found in Horseshoe Canyon is most commonly painted in a style know as Barrier Canyon, believed to date to the Late Archaic period (1700 B.C. to A.D. 500). The Fremont and Anasazi Indian cultures also left their own distinctive rock art in the canyon, but their presence was brief in comparison and by A.D. 1300, they had left the area. The Great Gallery, the best known and most spectacular panel in Horseshoe Canyon, includes well-preserved, life-sized figures with intricate designs.
Navajo Tribal Park: Monument Valley is a Navajo Nation tribal park. Ice Age Paleo-Indian hunters occupied the Monument Valley area between 12,000 and 6,000 BC. Archaic hunter-gatherers left evidence between 6,000 BC and the Christian Era. Anasazi farmers arrived about the beginning of the Christian Era and suddenly disappeared around 1300. Because of their unique pottery styles, they are called the Kayenta Anasazi.