Category Archives: Rock Art

Robber’s Roost and Lost Park

This is part one of a report from a trip to the Robber’s Roost/Horseshoe Canyon area of Utah. I had an ambitious plan to find a rock art panel in Horseshoe Canyon, though I had Friday off work so I decided to head down early to explore the upper end of the South Fork of Robber’s Roost Canyon and Lost Park before my big hike the next day. I packed my gear into the Jeep Friday morning and headed out relatively late, topping off my fuel in Green River before heading into the San Rafael Desert. Shortly after hitting the dirt road I saw a New Beetle surrounded by cattle panels that I’d seen in the same spot a year or two earlier. It was on BLM land, and I wonder if the BLM approves of somebody permanently parking their car there. Shortly thereafter I saw an F-150 abandoned in the middle of the road with the right-rear wheel missing and six broken lug bolts. Ouch. It had rained a day or two earlier and the road was a muddy mess in many spots. I steered the Jeep toward Robber’s Roost Spring where I planned to poke around for a couple of hours. I had read about a single inscription near there by Joe Biddlecome, and although I didn’t find it, I did see many other historic inscriptions. There were many recent carvings, however, so it was difficult to distinguish the historic inscriptions from the many modern ones.

Goin’ in!
Goin' in!

V-Dub being stored on BLM land
V-Dub being stored on BLM land

F-150 abandoned on the road with busted lug bolts
F-150 abandoned on the road with busted lug bolts

Sand dunes
Sand dunes

Mount Ellen
Mount Ellen

Large, solitary Entrada Sandstone boulder
Large, solitary Entrada Sandstone boulder

Robber’s Roost Spring
Robber's Roost Spring

Pearl Biddlecome inscription
Pearl Biddlecome inscription

Oct. 26, 1905, Chrsten Nielsen
Oct. 26, 1905, Chrsten Nielsen

Henry Mtn Camp(?) 1888
Henry Mtn Camp(?) 1888

Norville Wolverton 8/19/12
Norville Wolverton 8/19/12

W. Stark 6/23/05
W. Stark 6/23/05

South Fork of Robber’s Roost Canyon
South Fork of Robber's Roost Canyon

Rappel anchor in the South Fork of Robber’s Roost Canyon
Rappel anchor in the South Fork of Robber's Roost Canyon

The last group pulled their rope directly through the webbing
The last group pulled their rope directly through the webbing

I drove farther up the head of the canyon and found an old chimney that must have once been part of a cabin. I visited an old corral, Rabbit Brush Spring, and Silvertip Spring, and found a couple of inscriptions and some very weathered handprint petroglyphs. While driving out of the area I spotted a large group of pronghorn near Burr Pass.

Chimney in SFRR
Chimney in SFRR

Frenchy inscription
Frenchy inscription

Rabbit Brush Spring (surrounded by rabbit brush and a couple of cottonwoods)
Rabbit Brush Spring (surrounded by rabbit brush and a couple of cottonwoods)

Fremont’s Mahonia
Fremont's Mahonia

Corral in SFRR
Corral in SFRR

Faint handprint petroglyphs
Faint handprint petroglyphs

C. Nelson 1907
C. Nelson 1907

Unique 1908 inscription made with a can
Unique 1908 inscription made with a can

Near Silvertip Spring
Near Silvertip Spring

Silvertip Spring alcove
Silvertip Spring alcove

Pronghorn at Burr Pass
Pronghorn at Burr Pass

Pronghorn at Burr Pass
Pronghorn at Burr Pass

Pronghorn at Burr Pass
Pronghorn at Burr Pass

My next short hike was in Lost Park, where there was an old electric fence that a friend had told me about. I parked south of Runt’s Knob and began hiking along an old dozer road. I found the fence easily, which had ceramic insulators nailed to it and a fallen strand of barbed wire that had once been strung up along the perimeter. I only followed the fence for a quarter of a mile and never found the “end,” but I was saving my energy for the next day’s hike. I’m surprised by two things: that cowboys ever had a generator or battery setup for an electric fence in that area, and that having a single-strand electric fence was easier/cheaper than a standard barbed wire fence. I returned to the Jeep and had planned on camping a few miles to the south, but I had decent 4G cell service where I was parked so I decided to camp there to help pass the long evening. I sat in the Jeep and read an Archaeology Magazine while occasionally getting on the internet using my phone. I watched the sun go down and had a nice view of the pink light on the La Sal Mountains. Some time after the sun went down, I was outside relieving myself when I saw a dog a short distance away. From the brief view I had of it, the dog looked like a cattle dog. I called to it and it immediately ran away, and I felt somewhat guilty for not being able to help it, though there wasn’t anything I could really do if it wasn’t cooperative. I went to bed early at around 9:30 after running the heat in the Jeep for a bit–it wasn’t especially cold, but I still wasn’t used to the colder fall weather. I slept fitfully in the back of the Jeep with a bright moon shining through the windows much of the night, but by 6:30 the next morning I was wide awake and ready for a full day of hiking.

Lost Park
Lost Park

Breached earthen dam
Breached earthen dam

Lost Park
Lost Park

Ceramic insulators on an old electric fence at Lost Park
Ceramic insulators on an old electric fence at Lost Park

Fence posts with insulators
Fence posts with insulators

Jeep parked above Lost Park
Jeep parked above Lost Park

Runt’s Knob
Runt's Knob

The La Sal Mountains before sunset
The La Sal Mountains before sunset

Last light on the La Sals
Last light on the La Sals


Photo Gallery: Robber’s Roost and Lost Park