Book Cliffs Rock Art II

On a Monday two weeks ago I set out alone to visit some more rock art sites in the Book Cliffs. Some I’d heard about from a friend, others I’d seen photos of online and was able to discern the locations, and the rest I just stumbled upon. I left home early, driving most of the way in the dark, and got to Floy Wash just as the sun was rising. First the dark clouds were illuminated, then the Book Cliffs around Hatch Mesa glowed with the rising sun. The rest of the day alternated between sunny and overcast conditions, but temperatures were pleasant for hiking and there was no snow on the ground. At the first site I stopped at, the pictographs were not particularly well-made and they had faded or been broken off by rockfall.

The moon and Venus
The moon and Venus


Sunrise light hitting clouds near Floy Wash
Sunrise light hitting clouds near Floy Wash


Sunrise on the three eastern points of Hatch Mesa
Sunrise on the three eastern points of Hatch Mesa


Floy Wash near Thompson Pass
Floy Wash near Thompson Pass


La Sal Mountains
La Sal Mountains


Pictographs on the bench above the Book Cliffs
Pictographs on the bench above the Book Cliffs


Painted petroglyph
Painted petroglyph


White handprint
White handprint


The second rock art panel I planned on visiting has a road that passes within 200 feet, but I decided to park the Jeep half a mile away and hike along the cliffs adjacent to the road. It was a good decision because I found some inscriptions and additional rock art that I wasn’t expecting to see. One of those unexpected panels was probably quite nice when it was made, but now it’s faded and streaked with mud. The rock art I was intending to visit in that area consisted of a badly-vandalized pictograph panel, another large panel of petroglyphs around the corner, and a large boulder with a few petroglyphs and many inscriptions. Among the inscriptions is one left by Company 561 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and another with an 1844 date that I’m not sure is legit. I hadn’t heard a description or seen photos of anything at this site–I only had a set of GPS coordinates–and it was a nice surprise to find some great rock art and inscriptions.

Swell Jeep parked in a wash
Swell Jeep parked in a wash


Boulder balanced on a coal pillar
Boulder balanced on a coal pillar


S. Bowman, Trapper, 1878
S. Bowman, Trapper, 1878


Faint pictographs at ground level
Faint pictographs at ground level


Several inscriptions: Chester Jenkin, October 4, 1911; Rye Curtis, October 13, 1882; and an illegible 1889 writing.
Several inscriptions: Chester Jenkin, October 4, 1911; Rye Curtis, October 13, 1882; and an illegible 1889 writing.


Faded, mud-covered pictographs
Faded, mud-covered pictographs


DStretch-enhanced pictographs
DStretch-enhanced pictographs


Bison(?) pictograph
Bison(?) pictograph


Barrier Canyon style pictographs
Barrier Canyon style pictographs


1932 inscription with skull and crossbones
1932 inscription with skull and crossbones


Pictographs (also, Eugene is kind of a dick)
Pictographs (also, Eugene is kind of a dick)


Pictographs
Pictographs


Petroglyphs just around the corner from the BCS pictos
Petroglyphs just around the corner from the BCS pictos


Three figures with elongated bodies
Three figures with elongated bodies


Petroglyphs
Petroglyphs


Boulder with petrogyphs and inscriptions
Boulder with petrogyphs and inscriptions


Co. 561 (left by the C.C.C.)
Co. 561 (left by the C.C.C.)


P.S. 3 2 1844
P.S. 3 2 1844


Human figures surrounding a bighorn sheep
Human figures surrounding a bighorn sheep


Very large bighorn sheep petroglyph
Very large bighorn sheep petroglyph


After some more driving I arrived at the final stop for the day. It was a steep scramble up to the base of a cliff where I found quite a bit of rock art (some of it very unusual), one ruined granary, and another intact granary. The last granary was a big surprise. It wasn’t visible from the base of the cliff, but I climbed up on a rock and stuck my head behind a huge slab of fallen rock and saw the granary tucked away between the rock slab and the cliff face. After seeing the granary I called it a day and hiked back to the Jeep. I’d actually planned one additional stop but didn’t have enough daylight, which is often an indication of a fun day. ­čÖé

La Sal Mountains
La Sal Mountains


Canyon and pillar
Canyon and pillar


Interesting shelf road between cliff bands
Interesting shelf road between cliff bands


Steep scramble up to some cliffs that contain a lot of interesting rock art
Steep scramble up to some cliffs that contain a lot of interesting rock art


Death Star pictographs
Death Star pictographs


Death Star pictograph
Death Star pictograph


Large Fremont-style figure
Large Fremont-style figure


Fremont pictograph (lower-left) with ruined granary above
Fremont pictograph (lower-left) with ruined granary above


Red and white picto
Red and white picto


Granary hidden behind a rock slab
Granary hidden behind a rock slab


Cordage holding timbers together
Cordage holding timbers together


Inside of the granary full of droppings
Inside of the granary full of droppings


Photo Gallery: Book Cliffs Rock Art II

2 thoughts on “Book Cliffs Rock Art II

  1. Love your adventure. Great pictures. Will travel to Utah next March and hope to visit Green River and the Book Cliffs. Any hints you could provide would be most appreciated. We are lacking for rock art here in North Carolina.

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