Henrys, Poison Spring, and the Cove

February 1-3, 2019

On the first weekend in February, Chris and I did some exploring from the Henry Mountains to Poison Spring Canyon to the Cove. We started off on Friday evening looking for some pictographs at the base of the Henrys. I’d been there once before searching for this rock art without success, and this trip was also pretty much a bust. We hiked around a lot checking out boulders that I’d spotted in Google Earth without finding the specific pictographs I was hoping to find, though we did find some other pictos after sunset. It was too dark to take photographs so we decided to find a place to camp and return the next day.

Bull Mountain
Bull Mountain

Following an old road into a wash
Following an old road into a wash

Seeking out large boulders
Seeking out large boulders

Boulder shelter, but no rock art
Boulder shelter, but no rock art

We camped along Bull Creek in Dry Valley. Some nearby cottonwood trees provided good firewood that night. We watched a nice sunrise Saturday morning and then hit the road. First we stopped at Fallen Rock Alcove which, in addition to a lot of good rock art, held many grinding slicks and inscriptions.

Henry Mountains at sunrise
Henry Mountains at sunrise

Colorful clouds
Colorful clouds

Watching sunrise at camp
Watching sunrise at camp

Fallen Rock Alcove
Fallen Rock Alcove

Fremont petroglyphs on the fallen rock
Fremont petroglyphs on the fallen rock

Lots of grinding slicks and sharpening grooves
Lots of grinding slicks and sharpening grooves

Cowboy porn from May 30, 1929
Cowboy porn from May 30, 1929

Melvin Cook, May 30, 1929
Melvin Cook, May 30, 1929

Incised sandal print
Incised sandal print

Horse drawing and bear print petroglyph
Horse drawing and bear print petroglyph

Grinding slicks and petroglyphs
Grinding slicks and petroglyphs

Deeply-pecked petroglyphs
Deeply-pecked petroglyphs

Rudy Steele, March 7, 1927
Rudy Steele, March 7, 1927

Mike Steele, 1966
Mike Steele, 1966

Enoch Holt, May 16, 1913
Enoch Holt, May 16, 1913

Yet more grinding slicks
Yet more grinding slicks

Ray Weber, October 20, 1936
Ray Weber, October 20, 1936

Fremont pictograph
Fremont pictograph

Guy and snake picto flaking off
Guy and snake picto flaking off

Barrier Canyon Style pictograph
Barrier Canyon Style pictograph

Fremont(?) pictograph
Fremont(?) pictograph

Barrier Canyon Style pictograph
Barrier Canyon Style pictograph

Rock wall near Fallen Rock Alcove
Rock wall near Fallen Rock Alcove

Next we returned to the pictographs we’d found the previous night and took some photos. We also drove farther up the road and hiked around some more, sometimes postholing knee-deep in snow, but again failed to locate the pictographs we’d been hoping to find.

Factory Butte
Factory Butte

Overhanging boulder with pictographs inside
Overhanging boulder with pictographs inside

Pictographs on a boulder
Pictographs on a boulder

Pictographs on a boulder
Pictographs on a boulder

Pictographs on a boulder
Pictographs on a boulder

Jeep parked along the snowy road
Jeep parked along the snowy road

I drove back to Hanksville for fuel and then we headed south on UT-95 to Poison Spring Canyon. Shortly after leaving Hanksville we heard a thud on the roof of the Jeep, and I pulled over to see that a bolt had fallen out of the light bar. While I was zip-tying the light bar back onto the mounting bracket, Chris found the missing bolt still sitting on the roof. We continued on to Poison Spring. I’d never driven down the canyon and wasn’t sure what to expect, and we found a lot of rock art in the canyon. There were also a lot of inscriptions, mostly dating to about the first quarter of the 1900s. Two inscriptions were by Mont Caldwell, whose name I’ve seen written on sandstone in many widely-scattered locations across Utah, always in nice cursive writing and with no date. Ford Weber also carved his name in the canyon walls two times 17 years apart.

Zip ties holding the light bar on the Jeep
Zip ties holding the light bar on the Jeep

But then we found the missing bolt!
But then we found the missing bolt!

Lloyd Hunt, Geo. Hunt, Gilbert Hunt, August 18, 1969, Big Flood
Lloyd Hunt, Geo. Hunt, Gilbert Hunt, August 18, 1969, Big Flood

Loren Allred, Fremont, Utah, October 12, 1923
Loren Allred, Fremont, Utah, October 12, 1923

Ford Weber, March 9, 1921
Ford Weber, March 9, 1921

Ford Weber, April 7, 1938
Ford Weber, April 7, 1938

Good ol’ Mont Caldwell
Good ol' Mont Caldwell

Parked on the Poison Spring Canyon road
Parked on the Poison Spring Canyon road

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Fighting men
Fighting men

Cat tracks
Cat tracks

Bighorn sheep petroglyph
Bighorn sheep petroglyph

Antennae figure
Antennae figure

Archer, bison, and spirals
Archer, bison, and spirals

Bighorn sheep and snake guy petroglyphs
Bighorn sheep and snake guy petroglyphs

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Horace Ekker, April 21, 1924
Horace Ekker, April 21, 1924

R.R.M., Aprl, May 19, 1915
R.R.M., Aprl, May 19, 1915

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Deer, bighorn sheep, and bison petroglyphs
Deer, bighorn sheep, and bison petroglyphs

Lorin Turner, December 1, 1909, Hanksville
Lorin Turner, December 1, 1909, Hanksville

Hy Petersen, January 13, 1911; G.H.K, Manti
Hy Petersen, January 13, 1911; G.H.K, Manti

Geo. Keller, December 8, 1911
Geo. Keller, December 8, 1911

Glen Canyon Linear Style petroglyph
Glen Canyon Linear Style petroglyph

Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs
Poison Spring Canyon petroglyphs

Another Mont Caldwell inscription
Another Mont Caldwell inscription

There’s a purported Butch Cassidy inscription somewhere in the canyon, and I thought I knew where it was but didn’t find it there. We reached the Dirty Devil River crossing and found a geocache nearby, then reversed course and drove back out of Poison Spring Canyon.

Black Jump in Poison Spring Canyon
Black Jump in Poison Spring Canyon

Parked in Poison Spring looking for a Butch Cassidy inscription
Parked in Poison Spring looking for a Butch Cassidy inscription

Cowboy horse
Cowboy horse

Dirty Devil River crossing
Dirty Devil River crossing

Eros ’17
Eros '17

We drove in the dark toward the Cove and found a place to camp near a corral, and stayed up late around a camp fire. It was a little breezy and cold, and when it began raining we called it a night and slept in the Jeep–no cots this night! On Sunday morning we drove farther up Cove Canyon and found some rock art and old cowboy relics.

Classy dinner
Classy dinner

Camp at the Cove
Camp at the Cove

Pictographs in Cove Canyon
Pictographs in Cove Canyon

J.R., April 2, 1946
J.R., April 2, 1946

First tracks in 2019
First tracks in 2019

“Road” through Cove Canyon
"Road" through Cove Canyon

The Sewing Machine
The Sewing Machine

Water trough at Cove Spring
Water trough at Cove Spring

Sunlight on North Block
Sunlight on North Block

Old wagon in Cove Canyon
Old wagon in Cove Canyon

Frozen potholes
Frozen potholes

Corn cob in an alcove
Corn cob in an alcove

Bird man
Bird man

Barrier Canyon Style pictographs
Barrier Canyon Style pictographs

Barrier Canyon Style pictographs
Barrier Canyon Style pictographs

Chris enjoying the pictographs
Chris enjoying the pictographs

Porcupine?
Porcupine?

As Chris and I headed toward home, we stopped at a spot that a friend had told me about with many circular stone rings that were likely storage cists. That friend had been looking for some rock art I’d told him about when he found the stone circles, and it turns out I’d been within a couple hundred yards of that spot on an earlier trip. They were in an unusual spot, not sheltered by an overhang or alcove like most storage cists that I’ve seen. We found a broken metate, mano, and potsherd nearby, indicating that this was indeed a grain storage and processing site used by Native Americans.

Stone circle
Stone circle

Stone circle
Stone circle

Stone circle
Stone circle

Stone circle
Stone circle

Stone circle
Stone circle

Broken metate
Broken metate

Mano and potsherd
Mano and potsherd

Potsherd
Potsherd

Andy Miller Flats
Andy Miller Flats

We made a couple more stops in North Wash while driving home, both at the Hite Overlook (with no sign of Lake Powell in sight) and a couple of petroglyph sites along the highway. Although we failed at my main goal of finding the pictographs near the Henry Mountains, it had still been a very productive trip! I took way too many photos to include here, so check out the photo gallery link below for more.

North Wash petroglyphs
North Wash petroglyphs

North Wash petroglyphs
North Wash petroglyphs

North Wash petroglyphs
North Wash petroglyphs

North Wash petroglyphs
North Wash petroglyphs


Photo Gallery: Henrys, Poison Spring, and the Cove

3 thoughts on “Henrys, Poison Spring, and the Cove

  1. I haven’t been in Cove Canyon since like 2003, but I remember there being a pretty tough section at that time, around where the road pulls out of the canyon on the way to the Block. How tough did you find this now?

    1. It was relatively easy. I seem to recall using 4WD only because of the mud–and that was on top after the climb out of the canyon–but when dry I think it would be okay in 2WD. A friend went in October 2017 and sent me this photo of one spot with a lot of stacked rocks during the climb out of the canyon, but I don’t even remember seeing that spot this year. Maybe it was there but just too easy to stick in my memory.

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