Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Nine Mile Canyon Rock Art
Nine Mile Canyon has the greatest concentration of rock art sites in the U.S. Many petroglyphs can be easily viewed from the road but spotting them is a little hard and there are few pull offs. Fortunately hardly anyone lives along the road and it’s possible to go very slowly. We did the drive on a Sunday to avoid truck traffic from the oil and gas companies who are drilling at the end of the canyon.
The road, starting from US 191, is actually about 50 miles long. The first petroglyph can be found around mile 25. The BLM website is a bit out of date and their map doesn’t have a lot of the sites marked but this site has a pretty good map - American Southwest. The drive along of the road is very scenic with old homesteads, green pastures, and towering cliffs. Other things to see include a small Fremont village and granary ruins. Even if you don’t take the time to search for all of the petroglyphs you’ll still be able to see some of the best examples. Daddy Canyon Picnic Area has a short trail and petroglyphs that can be viewed from the parking lot. The Great Hunt panel at mile 46 is a wonderful scene of a bighorn sheep hunt by the Fremont culture (AD 300 – 1350).
The oldest petroglyphs are by the Fremont but there are also some by the Utes and early pioneers. Sadly a few have been marred or destroyed by gunshots and recent visitors adding their names and drawings.
The road is completely paved and can be driven with a RV. There are two picnic areas but dispersed camping is prohibited. It is allowed two miles off of the canyon road but opportunities to exit the canyon road are few.
It isn’t necessary to leave your vehicle to see many of the petroglyphs so this is a fairly accessible attraction. The Fremont village is not accessible due to a steep trail. The trail at Daddy Canyon is not accessible. The trail to the Great Hunt is accessible with help. It can also be seen from the road.
Canyon 39.54271, -110.68822