Little Park Wash

I had Monday off work and went on an exploratory trip to the Little Park Wash area. I’d read about some rock art somewhere in the wash, though I didn’t know exactly where it was. Little Park Wash drains a fairly large area on top of the Book Cliffs between Lila Canyon and the Price River, and I decided to start looking near the upper end of the drainage. There was a smidge of snow on the road while climbing up from Horse Canyon. I stopped several times to take in some wonderful views from the top of the Book Cliffs, and also to look at a boulder that had a square carved into the top and the letters “BM” carved deeply into it. I imagine that it must be a survey marker of sorts.

Climbing up on top of the Book Cliffs on Little Park Road
Climbing up on top of the Book Cliffs on Little Park Road

The Wasatch Plateau across the valley
The Wasatch Plateau across the valley

Large “B.M.” on a boulder along Little Park Road
Large 'B.M.' on a boulder along Little Park Road

Carved square on B.M. boulder
Carved square on B.M. boulder

Lila Point
Lila Point

Lila Canyon
Lila Canyon

Lila Canyon Mine
Lila Canyon Mine

Upper Lila Canyon
Upper Lila Canyon

Book Cliffs to the south
Book Cliffs to the south

I started hiking when I got to the part of upper Little Park Wash where sandstone first begins to crop out along the wash. While exploring around the edges of the wash I found an old camp with rusty cans, old bottles and jars, and a single piece of drill core on the ground. I also found an irregularly-shaped arrowhead with a broken tip. There were some cliffs that I was hoping could hold rock art or historic inscriptions but they turned out to be a poor quality rock for such writings. I climbed a short distance out of the wash to check out a gap in the cliffs and was surprised to find that there was a break in the other side of the cliffs that led all the way to the valley floor below. It was clear from the tracks on the ground that wildlife takes advantage of the break in the cliffs to traverse the Book Cliffs. In the future I may try hiking up or down the gap and combining it with a stock trail farther south to make a loop.

Drill core
Drill core

Jar found at an old camp
Jar found at an old camp

Ooh, a pretty rock!
Ooh, a pretty rock!

Little Park Wash
Little Park Wash

Cliffs above Little Park Wash
Cliffs above Little Park Wash

Panorama from above the break in the cliffs
Panorama from above the break in the cliffs

View down the break in the Book Cliffs
View down the break in the Book Cliffs

Little Park Wash at my turnaround point
Little Park Wash at my turnaround point

After hiking down the wash a little farther, I turned around without having seen much else of interest. I returned to the Jeep and explored a couple of roads in the Little Park area. I encountered what appeared to be an old grazing exclosure with faded signs from the Colorado Fuel and and Iron Corporation on the fencing. Another road ended at a corral that looks like it still sees occasional use. I’d hoped to do another short hike to the top of the Cove Trail but it was late enough in the day that I would have risked being out after dark. While driving home I had just enough time to stop at the coke ovens near Sunnyside before the sun set. I’ve known about the coke ovens for many years but had never stopped to look at them. There are hundreds of ovens once used for coking coal, covering about half a mile in two double-sided rows. It was difficult to imagine what the area would have looked like when the ovens were in use. It would have taken a lot of people to load and unload the coal and keep the ovens burning, but now things are desolate and crumbling.

Possible grazing exclosure
Possible grazing exclosure

Barely legible sign from the Colorado Fuel and Iron Corporation
Barely legible sign from the Colorado Fuel and Iron Corporation

BLM sign on a corral
BLM sign on a corral

Mt. Elliott
Mt. Elliott

Lila Canyon
Lila Canyon

Mine building in Horse Canyon
Mine building in Horse Canyon

Coke ovens near Sunnyside
Coke ovens near Sunnyside

Inside of a coke oven
Inside of a coke oven

On top of one row of coke ovens
On top of one row of coke ovens

Inside looking out
Inside looking out


Photo Gallery: Little Park Wash
GPS Track and Photo Waypoints:
[Google Earth KMZ] [Google Maps] [Gmap4 Topo]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>