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Snake Gulch: Rock Art of the Kanab Plateau

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 7
Friday, October 7, 2011

After a cold night of camping near the trailhead for Snake Gulch we woke up shortly after the sun began to rise. We had some breakfast and then set off into the canyon. Our hike turned out to be a long one at about 14.5 miles round trip, but it was mostly level without much elevation gain so it was pretty easy. Despite the cold night, the sun warmed things up nicely during the day for some very pleasant hiking weather. We ended up spending all day in the canyon between hiking, searching for rock art and taking a lot of photos! It was amazing just how many pictographs were in this canyon, and I’m sure we could have found many more if we had more time. Most of the pictographs in this canyon are attributed to the Basketmaker people from about 300 BC to 800 AD.

If you don’t like to look at a lot of photos of rock art, it’s probably best that you stop reading now 😉

Seeing our campsite in the light for the first time since we setup in the dark the night before. Yes, that is hail covering the picnic table and on the ground…it was a cold night!

Trailhead Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Shortly into Snake Gulch we entered the Kanab Creek Wilderness.

Kanab Creek Wilderness by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Typical scenery in Snake Gulch. A very nice canyon to hike through.

Snake Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We had to hike down the canyon a few miles until we reached the rock art. Luckily it was a pretty flat hike with an easy trail to follow.

Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We eventually started to find some pictographs, but the first ones we found were pretty weathered and faded and being in direct sunlight didn’t help.

Faded Photos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This was the first good set of pictographs we came across…and they were in the shade, too!

Yellow Man Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A close-up of the yellow and red figure.

Yellowman by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Pretty soon the pictographs started getting larger and more elaborate. This pair of yellow-faced anthropomorphs were one of my favorites in the canyon.

Yellow Pair Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the one on the left.

V-Neck by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A few interesting pictographs hidden in a nook of the canyon wall.

In the Nook by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The two small pictographs remind me of one I found along Mill Creek near Moab in the spring.

Small Twins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A large yellow anthropomorph with a very unique red one to it’s left.

Big Yellow Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A panel up on a ledge that we could not climb up to. If you look closely to the left of the yellow figure you will see a few smaller white ones.

Inaccessible Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jared taking a photo of more pictographs. It was amazing just how much rock art we found in this stretch of the canyon.

Jared in Snake Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A few medium-sized anthropomorphs. Two of them have torso’s that were created with dabs of paint.

Corner Panel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the one in the middle.

Dotted Torso by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jared photographing these paintings.

Taking Photos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One of the few pictographs we found that was green.

Green Man by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Spiked Hair by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

White Anthropomorphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A lot of fallen rock in this large alcove. The large flat slabs appear to be peeling away from the canyon wall. Some of the broken pieces have pictographs on them as well.

Falling to Pieces by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

These look like a couple of turkeys to me. You can see the body’s easily, but if you look closely you can see the head and legs on some of them. What do you think?

Turkeys? by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

These were probably the largest and best preserved pictographs we came across all day. They were located in a large alcove that contained quite a few other pictographs as well.

Big Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at the larger anthropomorphs pictured above.

Large Anthropomorphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking back up the trail in Snake Gulch to our campsite.

Snake Gulch Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We missed this pair of very nice pictographs on our way down the canyon. Thankfully we spotted them on our way back.

Snake Gulch Twins by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

White Head by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A different view of the Yellow Twins on our way back up the canyon.

Twins in the Gulch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A square-shaped outcropping containing some red pictographs.

Wall of Pictographs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Some very cool polychrome figures that were hard to get a good photo of since they were half in the sun and half in the shade both times we stopped by. The body on the figure on the right seems to have a body that is painted blue or possibly black?

Low, Elaborate & Faded by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Two Interesting Anthropomorphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This small alcove contained the only petroglyphs we saw all day. It was also the very first site we had come across in the morning, but the light was much better on our way back. It looks like some of the petroglyphs may have been painted at some time. I’m guessing that some of the newer petroglyphs here were carved by the Paiute tribes in the area that came after the Basketmakers.

Petroglyph Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Jared gets a few photos of the petroglyphs before we had back to camp.

Petroglyph Photos by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We managed to get back to camp shortly before sunset and had our dinner as the sun finally went down. Since it was getting late and we were pretty tired we ended up spending the night here again. Before we turned in for the night we talked about our plans for the following day when we would be driving back up into Utah and starting our trek towards home.

>> Snake Gulch Photo Gallery

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