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Little Hole to Westwater Canyon

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Late this afternoon, Diane and I drove west into Utah so that we could search for some petroglyphs that are located somewhere in Little Hole, which is a short side canyon along the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon. We took the Westwater exit off of I-70 and drove south towards the boat ramp, but turned off to follow the Kokopelli Trail after crossing under the railroad tracks. After a few miles of the Kokopelli, we reached the intersection that would take us to the rim of Little Hole. While I had seen these roads in Google Earth while quickly planning this hike, I never did check to see if they were still open to travel and just hoped for the best. Luckily, most of the roads I planned to take were still open. About a half-mile from the rim of the canyon there was a fence across the old road that marked the beginning of the Westwater Wilderness Study Area. We would be hiking from here.

My Jeep parked at the end of the road showing off the new ARB front bumper.

Trailhead by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Thankfully when the road was fenced off they had the good sense to put in a gate for hikers. It just happened to be blocked by a bunch of tumbleweeds.

Tumbleweed Gate by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there was a way to get down into the canyon from the top or if we would have to hike up from a river trip another time. The gate in the fence across the old road was a good sign to me that we would probably be able to get down, and my suspicions were validated when we reached the rim of the canyon and found an old constructed trail to the bottom.

You can see the constructed part of the trail in this photo. It was an easy hike into the canyon.

Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Before hiking down the canyon, we explored a large alcove that was at the head of the canyon near the trail we had come down. It looked like this may have been a site used by prehistoric people, but there were more recent campfire rings and graffiti that made it hard to be sure. We scanned the walls for rock art and did find a few very small and faint pictographs.

Diane exploring the alcove with me.

Alcove Exploring by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Deep Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

View down the canyon from inside the alcove.

Little Hole by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking out of the large alcove.

Little Hole Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After thoroughly exploring the alcove and not finding much, we continued to hike down the canyon to the Colorado River while keeping our eyes open for any signs of rock art.

It was a short canyon, but very scenic.

Side Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking over the Colorado River near the beginning of Westwater Canyon.

Westwater Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While searching possible areas for rock art on our way back up the canyon we came across what might have been an old cowboy or river runner’s camp. We found a few of these cases scattered around which I think may have been for tobacco or cigarettes?

Cases by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Unfortunately, we were running out of daylight and needed to start heading back home so we never did find the petroglyphs I was looking for on this trip.

Hiking back up the canyon.

Exit by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The head of Little Hole after climbing back up to the rim.

Head of the Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last look into Little Hole before hiking back to my Jeep at the trailhead.

Little Hole Evening by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Driving back to the Kokopelli Trail on our way home and showing off the new rear ARB bumper and tire carrier.

Heading Home by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Even though we didn’t find the petroglyphs this time, it was still a nice hike in a beautiful canyon on a Sunday afternoon. I’m sure I’ll return again sometime to continue the search.

>> Little Hole Photo Gallery

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