Buck and Pasture Canyons

October 24, 2019

On the Thursday of our long weekend, Chris and I hiked from the Lower Sand Slide, crossed the Dirty Devil River, and did some exploring in Buck and Pasture canyons. We’d received a tip from a hiker earlier in the year about some rock art in Buck Canyon, so since we were relatively close we decided to check the area out. We didn’t get a very early start which turned out to be a good thing. I parked my Jeep at the top of the Lower Sand Slide and we hiked down a sandy trail to the Dirty Devil River. After changing into water shoes we waded across the river, and the water was cold! If we’d have gotten an earlier start it would have been unbearable.

Panorama of the Dirty Devil River from the Lower Sand Slide
Panorama of the Dirty Devil River from the Lower Sand Slide

Almost to the Dirty D
Almost to the Dirty D

Crossing the Dirty Devil
Crossing the Dirty Devil

Crossing the Dirty Devil
Crossing the Dirty Devil

We changed back into hiking shoes and started up Buck Canyon. Almost immediately we spotted some petroglyphs. The first panel was pretty visible, but farther along the cliff face were more faint petroglyphs. We both made a difficult climb up onto a ledge to get a closer look and I noticed there were some very faded pictographs as well. On the narrow ledge we were too close to the cliff to make out any details, so we slid back down off the ledge which left my legs shaking from the exposure. From below I still couldn’t make out much detail in the pictographs, so I took several photos almost blindly hoping to frame them fairly well. It wasn’t until I started writing this trip report that I used DStretch to process the photos and realized that at one time there had been some pretty good pictographs here!

Petroglyphs at the mouth of Buck Canyon
Petroglyphs at the mouth of Buck Canyon

Bighorn sheep and other petroglyphs
Bighorn sheep and other petroglyphs

A big squiggly panel
A big squiggly panel

Figure below a squiggly line
Figure below a squiggly line

Fighting men
Fighting men

Archer and bighorn sheep
Archer and bighorn sheep

Looking at faint petroglyphs
Looking at faint petroglyphs

Faint petroglyphs
Faint petroglyphs

Sketchy slide down from a ledge
Sketchy slide down from a ledge

Faint petroglyphs and very faint pictographs
Faint petroglyphs and very faint pictographs

Faint petroglyphs and very faint pictographs (DStretch enhanced)
Faint petroglyphs and very faint pictographs (DStretch enhanced)

Animal and human figure
Animal and human figure

Animal and human figure (DStretch enhanced)
Animal and human figure (DStretch enhanced)

Full panel
Full panel

Full panel (DStretch enhanced)
Full panel (DStretch enhanced)

Chris and I bushwhacked our way farther up Buck Canyon. We didn’t go terribly far and didn’t see much except an inaccessible alcove. I’d imagine in the not too distant past the alcove was easier to access, but a deep cut through some sandy alluvial fill made it impossible for us to access. We gave up there and decided to head to Pasture Canyon.

Buck Canyon
Buck Canyon

Shwhackin’ in Buck Canyon
Shwhackin' in Buck Canyon

Buck Canyon
Buck Canyon

Inaccessible alcove
Inaccessible alcove

Between Buck and Pasture canyons is a smaller unnamed canyon, and near the mouth of that canyon we found some petroglyphs and inscriptions. Unlike Buck Canyon the hiking was easy with no brush and we hiked as far as we could until a large dryfall stopped us. There were some yellow cottonwood trees and a large shady alcove, and we stopped for lunch there. As Chris sometimes says, you’re not in the wilderness unless you find a mylar balloon, and that we did while we were stopped for lunch.

Hiking between Buck and Pasture canyons
Hiking between Buck and Pasture canyons

Clive Mecham
Clive Mecham

Low, weathered petroglyphs
Low, weathered petroglyphs

Spiky head guy
Spiky head guy

Snake petroglyph
Snake petroglyph

Petroglyphs, scratches, and a Mike Steel inscription from 1918
Petroglyphs, scratches, and a Mike Steel inscription from 1918

Mike Steel 1918
Mike Steel 1918

H.B.W. 1918
H.B.W. 1918

Good ol’ Leo Madsen, April 12, 1929
Good ol' Leo Madsen, April 12, 1929

Hiking up an unnamed canyon between Buck and Pasture
Hiking up an unnamed canyon between Buck and Pasture

Unnamed canyon between Buck and Pasture
Unnamed canyon between Buck and Pasture

Cottonwoods below a dryfall
Cottonwoods below a dryfall

Lunch spot under the dryfall
Lunch spot under the dryfall

Happy birthday!
Happy birthday!

We continued on into Pasture Canyon. We didn’t find any rock art there, but there were several inscriptions and cowboy glyphs near the mouth. Pasture Canyon proved to be as much of a bushwhack as Buck had, and we didn’t make much progress up the canyon before calling it quits. We retreated back to where we’d left our water shoes and crossed the Dirty Devil again, then struggled back up the Lower Sand Slide.

Cliffs at the mouth of Pasture Canyon
Cliffs at the mouth of Pasture Canyon

Darys Ekker, November 9, 1939, Pasture Canyon
Darys Ekker, November 9, 1939, Pasture Canyon

Bighorn sheep on the edge of a cliff
Bighorn sheep on the edge of a cliff

Hunter pointing a rifle at a bighorn sheep
Hunter pointing a rifle at a bighorn sheep

Eugean Ekker, October 20, 1940
Eugean Ekker, October 20, 1940

Ken McDougall
Ken McDougall

Pasture Canyon panorama
Pasture Canyon panorama

G.A. Miller, November 15, 1914
G.A. Miller, November 15, 1914

Crossing the Dirty Devil again
Crossing the Dirty Devil again

Crossing the Dirty Devil again
Crossing the Dirty Devil again

Hiking back up the Lower Sand Slide
Hiking back up the Lower Sand Slide

I’d checked with a friend familiar with this area who told me there was a decent pictograph panel up either Buck or Pasture (he couldn’t remember which), but with the amount of bushwhacking in both canyons Chris and I didn’t feel like continuing very far. This trip seemed very worthwhile, though knowing we missed some rock art weighs heavily enough that a return trip might be in order.


Photo Gallery: Buck and Pasture Canyons

1 thought on “Buck and Pasture Canyons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.