Kane Creek and Sevenmile Canyon

On the last weekend in January I took my wife and another couple to Moab, taking advantage of cheap winter motel rates to sleep comfortably while still enjoying relatively warmer daytime weather than at home. Chris and Dollie met us in Price and we piled into the Swell Jeep for the drive to Moab. After checking into the Inca Inn and then enjoying dinner at Moab Brewery, we did some nighttime geocaching in and around the Matheson Wetlands Preserve, and even accidentally stumbled upon some petroglyphs.

Petroglyph illuminated by headlamp
Petroglyph illuminated by headlamp

We decided to drive up Kane Creek (aka Kane Springs Canyon) on Saturday morning. I purposely didn’t do much research on the area before this trip–I was hoping to simply wander and explore rather than follow a specific itinerary. A quick stop at Moonflower Canyon revealed some petroglyphs and inscriptions. Between there and Kane Creek we kept a sharp eye out and found several more petroglyph panels.

Moonflower petroglyphs
Moonflower petroglyphs

1923 bottle inscriptions
1923 bottle inscriptions

Traci and Dollie
Traci and Dollie

Bighorn sheep and atlatl
Bighorn sheep and atlatl

“Hey, back up, I think I saw some rock art!”
"Hey, back up, I think I saw some rock art!"

Bear petroglyph
Bear petroglyph

Ground-level petroglyphs
Ground-level petroglyphs

Moab Mastodon
Moab Mastodon

Hos was here to kill!
Hos was here to kill!

M.F.B., J.M. Branson, 1899
M.F.B., J.M. Branson, 1899

Colorado River near Moonflower Canyon
Colorado River near Moonflower Canyon

There’s a side-canyon of Kane Creek that has a noticeable trail in Google Earth, so we followed it to see where it went. At the parking area I recognized kullaberg631‘s family and dogs and chatted briefly with his son, then we began our hike. Along the lower portion of the trail there was a lot of rock art. The trail ascended a notch in a cliff band that was a little difficult for Traci to climb, but once we made it up we saw one more petroglyph panel consisting of a long line of bighorn sheep. The trail continued up the canyon, crossed over a low spot in a sandstone fin to the next canyon over, then did a 180-degree turn and ascended further until we were standing in a notch overlooking the parking area. It wasn’t until we turned around to head back that I noticed a wonderful view over the fins toward the La Sals.

Sheep line
Sheep line

Sheep and archer
Sheep and archer

Around the corner
Around the corner

Climbing through the notch
Climbing through the notch

Long line of sheep
Long line of sheep

Alcove
Alcove

Above the parking lot
Above the parking lot

Chris posing with the fins in the background
Chris posing with the fins in the background

La Sal Mountains over the fins
La Sal Mountains over the fins

Farther up Kane Creek we stopped for lunch. Afterward Traci and Dollie stayed at the Jeep while Chris and I made the climb up to Funnel Arch (aka Cable Arch). There was one spot during the scramble up that sketched me out ’cause I thought it would be difficult coming back down, but it turned out to be pretty easy on the descent. Funnel Arch was nice! We spotted some petroglyphs on the hike to the arch, but I researched it after our hike and found out that we’d missed some other rock art. We spent more time driving up Kane Creek and to Hurrah Pass, but didn’t have enough daylight to explore more so we retired to town and ate at Moab Diner.

Switchbacks on Kane Creek Road
Switchbacks on Kane Creek Road

Funnel Arch
Funnel Arch

Roadside petroglyphs
Roadside petroglyphs

Jeep at Hurrah Pass
Jeep at Hurrah Pass

It had rained Saturday night and snow was in the forecast for Sunday afternoon. We decided to check out of our rooms and do some easy driving/exploring on the way home. Sevenmile Canyon fit the bill nicely since it was a short drive off US-191 and there was plenty of easily-accessible rock art. We hit TV sheep and Intestine Man, which I’d been to before. I had coordinates for two more sites (Snake-in-Mouth and an interesting set of petroglyphs), but as we drove farther up the canyon we spotted a few more rock art sites. We took the Jeep as far as one can legally drive up Sevenmile, then Chris and I hiked a bit farther but didn’t see anything interesting beyond the cable barrier in the canyon. It started snowing just about as we were finishing up, so we high-tailed it for Green River and a quick stop at Ray’s Tavern for a late lunch. Roads were dry going back to Price but I think Chris and Dollie ran quite a bit of snow on the way to SLC. Moab turned out to be a surprising (although much too short) respite from the cold and snow at home.

TV sheep
TV sheep

Photographing Intestine Man pictographs
Photographing Intestine Man pictographs

Back up and give it another go!
Back up and give it another go!

Snake-in-Mouth pictographs
Snake-in-Mouth pictographs

Snake-in-Mouth close-up
Snake-in-Mouth close-up

Sevenmile petroglyphs
Sevenmile petroglyphs

Sevenmile petroglyphs
Sevenmile petroglyphs

Sevenmile pictographs
Sevenmile pictographs

Lone, multi-colored figure
Lone, multi-colored figure

Large BCS pictograph
Large BCS pictograph

Chris checking out a high alcove
Chris checking out a high alcove

Jeep at the end of the route in Sevenmile Canyon
Jeep at the end of the route in Sevenmile Canyon

Lunch at Ray’s Tavern
Lunch at Ray's Tavern


Photo Gallery: Kane Creek and Sevenmile Canyon