Category Archives: Hiking

Lower Price River II

June 22, 2019

Braving the heat of early summer, I hiked along the lower Price River hoping to find some Vernal-style petroglyphs that I’d heard about along the lower Price River. I had hiked in this area about five years earlier but I stuck to the opposite side of the river then. This time I had no plans to cross the river on foot–it was running at over 200 cfs, much higher than the sketchy 60 cfs I once crossed it at on an ATV. I expected the road to be rough much like the last several times I’ve traveled it. I brought a mountain bike along planning to ride it the remaining distance to where the road fords the river, but I was able to drive my Jeep all the way to the ford with little effort. I parked shortly after 7AM, looked at some rock art near my parking spot, then began to hike downstream.

Lower Price River ford
Lower Price River ford

Red and yellow pictographs near my parking spot
Red and yellow pictographs near my parking spot

Parked near the river ford
Parked near the river ford

Faint trail along the river
Faint trail along the river

Almost immediately I hiked through some dry cheatgrass which filled my shoes and socks with stickers. By the end of the hike I was about ready to throw my socks in the trash but instead I spent 20 minutes picking the stickers out! After 15 minutes of hiking I came across a large boulder with many repatinated petroglyphs on it. There were a lot of squiggles and some bighorn sheep, human, and bear track petroglyphs. I had totally missed this boulder on my earlier hike!

Cheatgrass everywhere!
Cheatgrass everywhere!

Spiral and possibly other faint petroglyphs
Spiral and possibly other faint petroglyphs

Repatinated petroglyphs
Repatinated petroglyphs

Strange sheep and human figure
Strange sheep and human figure

Bear track
Bear track

Next I visited a couple of panels that I’d seen before, but beyond them everything was new to me. I saw a few scattered petroglyphs and inscriptions. The sun rose enough that the entire canyon was in full sunlight and it began to warm considerably.

Sheep and canine
Sheep and canine

Cloven hooves on a sheep petroglyph
Cloven hooves on a sheep petroglyph

Several sheep petroglyphs
Several sheep petroglyphs

Tubby, bouncing sheep glyph
Tubby, bouncing sheep glyph

Archer (barely visible in upper-left) shooting a bighorn, and other human figures
Archer (barely visible in upper-left) shooting a bighorn, and other human figures

Morning shade along the Price River
Morning shade along the Price River

Emerging into the sunlight
Emerging into the sunlight

Abraded and pecked petroglyph
Abraded and pecked petroglyph

Modern-looking petroglyphs
Modern-looking petroglyphs

Chuck Zehnder, 1971
Chuck Zehnder, 1971

J.B. Salazar, January 12, 1936
J.B. Salazar, January 12, 1936

Price River canyon panorama
Price River canyon panorama

Dry river bottom
Dry river bottom

Confluence with an unnamed side canyon
Confluence with an unnamed side canyon

I passed a short side canyon and then started finding some pretty good petroglyphs. First was a small panel with a few different styles of bighorn sheep petroglyphs, then I encountered some pretty unusual glyphs. Shortly after that I finally found some of the Vernal-style Fremont petroglyphs that I was after. I felt that I’d searched the area pretty well, but after returning home I realized that I’d missed one more really good petroglyph panel.

A variety of sheep petroglyphs
A variety of sheep petroglyphs

Some unusual petroglyphs
Some unusual petroglyphs

Large Vernal-style and other glyphs
Large Vernal-style and other glyphs

Faded petroglyphs
Faded petroglyphs

More large Vernal-style petroglyphs
More large Vernal-style petroglyphs

Large cairn on a distant hill
Large cairn on a distant hill

The area surrounding the petroglyphs had burned somewhat recently, evidenced by burned cottonwood trees (some obviously cut down by wildland firefighters). As the heat of the day began to wear down on me, I turned around and hurriedly hiked back to my vehicle. I didn’t see any rock art that I’d missed on the return trip and I made good time. I reached the Jeep at about 1PM after having hiked 6.5 miles. I know there’s some more good stuff farther downstream, and perhaps a fall/winter trip is in order to make it that far, but it wasn’t gonna happen on this second day of summer.

Burned trees and new, green growth
Burned trees and new, green growth

Grr…cheatgrass seeds in my shoes
Grr...cheatgrass seeds in my shoes

5 gallons of water that apparently washed downstream
5 gallons of water that apparently washed downstream

Price River
Price River

GPS stats at the end of the hike
GPS stats at the end of the hike


Photo Gallery: Lower Price River II