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Dry Fork – McConkie Ranch

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finally! I have wanted to get up to Dry Fork to check out the petroglyphs and pictographs on the McConkie Ranch for quite a while. So on Saturday, Amanda and I drove up there for a nice day trip. These amazing rock art panels are located on private property north of Vernal, but the McConkie Ranch has created two trails that allow the public to visit them. I’d like to thank the McConkie Ranch for allowing the public to access the rock art located on their property!

We started out the day by hiking up the Main trail and finding as much rock art as we could. It started out a little slow but the further we hiked, the more petroglyphs and pictographs we found. There are many impressive panels found along this trail. During our first hike here, the sky was overcast which made for some nice soft light without shadows. However, after hiking the Three Kings Trail the sun finally made an appearance and some blue sky showed up, too. I ended up hiking the Main trail a second time to take some photos under the different lighting condition. Here’s some of the many photos I took on both hikes along the Main Trail.

A simple red spiral pictoglyph (petroglyph & pictograph).

Red Spiral by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A very stylized and lifesized petroglyph of an anthropomorph holding a trophy head with weeping eyes.

Trophy Head by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Certainly, this is one of the larger and most unique pictoglyphs along the Main Trail. The very large feet really stick out the most, but so do the red and white horns protruding from his head. Not to mention the trophy head on his right side. A very interesting figure.

Big-Foot by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another life-sized anthropomorph holding what appears to be a trophy head with weeping eyes. Based on the cracks through this panel, it may be lost when the stone finally gives way. The head could be lost a second time…

Broken Head Hunter by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This petroglyph & pictograph kind of reminds me of a clock. Actually, the long hand pointing towards the three o’clock position looks like an atlatl hitting the bullseye.

The Clock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Two elaborately decorated petroglyphs.

Elaborate by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I had visited this petroglyph panel earlier in the day when it was overcast and had taken a few photos, however once the clouds started to clear and the sun was shining again I revisited it to take a few more photos. I’m glad I did since I got a nice orange glow off of the rock, plus a nice blue sky with some white clouds in the background.

Hula Hoop Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A wall filled with large petroglyphs and pictoglyphs.

Family Portrait by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This life-sized anthropomorph has ‘weeping eyes’ and seems to be holding an object, perhaps a knife or other kind of weapon?

Weeping Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A close-up of another figure holding a trophy head. This one looks a bit meaner than the others.

Trophy Head 2 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An overview of the massive Big Feet Panel.

The Line-Up by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another of my favorite panels that I took a few different photos of. Look closely and you can even find the Red Spiral pictoglyph I posted earlier.

Head Hunter Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The Twins are the last set of petroglyphs along the Main Trail.

The Twins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After finishing our first hike on the Main Trail it was time to explore the Three Kings Trail. When I first started this hike, I assumed that the trail would just take us to the famous Three Kings Panel and back again. Little did I know that there would be plenty of other rock art along the way. It was a nice surprise! On our way to the Three Kings Panel the sky was still overcast and gray, but on our way back is when the sun came out. So again, I was able to visit the rock art with both lighting conditions. Here are some of the photos I took along the Three Kings Trail.

Looking up at a large shield petroglyph on a beautiful day in Dry Fork.

Fremont Shield by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This life-sized anthropomorph appears to have feathers on it’s arms like a bird.

Bird Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This faint anthropomorph seems to be emerging from the colorful lichen growing on the rock below it.

From the Lichen by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A couple concentric circles.

Gears by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A petroglyph panel with some smaller figures. The largest figure in the middle appears to be waving both of his hands.

Waving Hands Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An overview of the ‘Fading Partners’ on what turned out to be a pretty nice day.

Fading Partners Overview by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another view of this medium-sized figure that is next to a colorful display of lichen.

Lichen Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One of the many large anthropomorphic figures alone the Three Kings Trail. I named this photo after the figure to the right that looks like the letter Y.

Y-Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A close up of some shield-like petroglyphs. If you look on the sandstone below, you can find many more petroglyphs pecked into the darker stone.

Above & Below by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A couple of petroglyphs I’ve called ‘The Couple’ coming into view through some large boulders.

Couple Through the Boulders by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the figures I have referred to as ‘The Couple’

The Couple by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking up at a couple of the many petroglyph panels along the Three Kings Trail. Most of the morning was completely overcast, but luckily as we were headed back to the trailhead the clouds started to clear and blue skies were visible.

Circles & Shields by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The famous Three Kings Panel, also known as the Sun Carrier, is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, it’s located pretty high and the trail does not get too close to it. Luckily, I had brought my 100-400mm lens with me! Click on the image and view it in a larger size to see more of the detail found here.

Sun Carrier by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This sign is found at the very end of the Main Trail and I thought this photo would make a fitting ending to this trip report.

Trail End by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Dry Fork – McConkie Ranch Photo Gallery

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