For our second incursion of the weekend into the Canyonlands region, the group did a shorter ride and longer hike than we’d done the previous day to the Harvest Scene. The objective this time was Dragonfly Canyon, where we visited several caves/alcoves and the fabulous Dragonfly pictograph panel. We parked the bikes and hiked quite a distance before actually dropping into the canyon. Once in the watercourse it was fairly easy hiking, though we encountered many full pools of water along the way.
The first point of interest that we visited was a pair of alcoves that held some granaries and rock art. The alcove on the left contained many slab-lined granaries, along with some inscriptions and grinding stones. The right alcove revealed a small incised glyph on a ground-smooth surface on the ceiling. There were a few other similar prepared surfaces but with no glyphs on them. A couple more grinding stones were present in the second alcove.
After leaving the twin alcoves, we stayed high and contoured above the bottom of the canyon, which allowed us to spot another cave/alcove. We wouldn’t have seen it from the main watercourse of Dragonfly Canyon. This one required some climbing to access it, made easier by earlier sheepherders who had stacked dead trees against the cliff. Both inside and outside the alcove were inscriptions from early sheepherders, along with yet more grinding stones left by the Fremont or perhaps earlier cultures. Quite unusual was, among signed and dated inscriptions, the words “LOOK OUT” inscribed faintly among the other writings.
Along the way to our final planned stop I spotted an unusual petroglyph on a boulder in the bottom of the canyon. It consisted of a long horizontal line with two curving diagonal lines, one of which had a couple of small bisecting lines. A map, perhaps? On the final stretch toward the Dragonfly panel I found a Canon polarizer and a fairly large four-point deer antler, both of which I packed out of the canyon. I thoroughly enjoyed my second visit to the Dragonfly panel. Once again, I spent more time admiring the rock art than just taking photos of it. The tiny details still amazed me, however.
During the long hike out of the canyon the group spotted at least a couple of other spots that would be worthy of exploration. We didn’t have time to check them out on this trip, but they’re on my to-do list for future explorations.
Photo Gallery: Dragonfly Canyon
3 thoughts on “Dragonfly Canyon”
hey Dennis, outstanding post!
i hereby dub you “Stone Eyes” for all your amazing finds on the Co. Plateau.
all those “pretty rocks” and alcove sightings. sharp eyes.
your photo enhancement of faint pictographs is incredible as seen on the Harvest Scene hike.
i am always amazed at how much water there is on our rides in the Utah “Big Desert” as i’ve seen it called by the old cowboys.
Thank you, Steve! Though the water may seem scarce to others, I’m also amazed at how much people (both prehistoric cultures and modern cowboys) were able to make use of it.
Any way you would share a gps coordinate or give us more of a hint?