Dragonfly Canyon

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.

Parking spot
Parking spot


Hiking into the canyon
Hiking into the canyon


Sundog
Sundog


Wild burros
Wild burros


Dragonfly Canyon
Dragonfly Canyon


One of many pools in the canyon
One of many pools in the canyon


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.

Two alcoves that each hold something special
Two alcoves that each hold something special


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


E. Musselman, 10-24-??
E. Musselman, 10-24-??


Grinding stone
Grinding stone


Slab-lined granary
Slab-lined granary


Fingerprint details in the mortar
Fingerprint details in the mortar


Slab-lined granary
Slab-lined granary


Alan in the second alcove
Alan in the second alcove


Grinding stone
Grinding stone


View out the alcove
View out the alcove


Incised figure
Incised figure


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.

Another alcove in the distance
Another alcove in the distance


Climbing into the alcove
Climbing into the alcove


P. Moynier 1904
P. Moynier 1904


Climbing into the alcove
Climbing into the alcove


Grinding stone
Grinding stone


H. Moynier 1937
H. Moynier 1937


Joe Lavigne 1910 (with “LOOK OUT” above)
Joe Lavigne 1910 (with


A. Carnier 1910
A. Carnier 1910


Eddyjo Ekker 1941 28 August
Eddyjo Ekker 1941 28 August


J. Garnier 1910
J. Garnier 1910


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.

Unusual petroglyph on a boulder in the watercourse
Unusual petroglyph on a boulder in the watercourse


Dragonfly panel
Dragonfly panel


Dragonflies
Dragonflies


Dragonfly and another figure
Dragonfly and another figure


Holding a tiny animal figure
Holding a tiny animal figure


Whispering weiner dog
Whispering weiner dog


Antennae figure
Antennae figure


Insect
Insect


Rabbit
Rabbit


Dragonfly and another tiny figure
Dragonfly and another tiny figure


Slab-lined granaries
Slab-lined granaries


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.

Hiking out of the canyon
Hiking out of the canyon


Another alcove that we had to pass up
Another alcove that we had to pass up


Seep below a large overhang
Seep below a large overhang


My shadow on the exit hike
My shadow on the exit hike


Photo Gallery: Dragonfly Canyon

2 thoughts on “Dragonfly Canyon

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

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