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Lower Sevenmile Canyon

Moab Area Rock Art XXIV | Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lower Sevenmile Canyon
Morning view from the rim of Lower Sevenmile Canyon just outside of Arches National Park.

This year for Easter I decided to head towards Moab for a day hike. I usually try to avoid the Moab area during Easter Jeep Safari week, but I figured that most people would be on their way out of town today and I was planning on hiking somewhere that doesn’t see a lot of traffic anyway. My suspicions were confirmed as I was driving south from Crescent Junction shortly after sunrise and saw a line of vehicles leaving town. This morning I would be hiking down Lower Sevenmile Canyon and into Arches National Park where I could also explore part of Upper Courthouse Wash. I’ve wanted to explore this area for a while and was hoping I’d be able to find some rock art, too.

After getting off the pavement and following part of the Copper Ridge Jeep Trail for a short distance I was able to park near the rim of Lower Sevenmile Canyon and start hiking. It was easy enough to drop down into canyon on an old constructed cattle trail. What I found at the bottom was a sandy hike in the wash bottom with sections of thick vegetation that lasted for the majority of the canyon all the way to the confluence with Courthouse Wash. Aside from the sandy slog, it was pretty easy hiking with minimal bushwhacking. There was also a little water flowing closer to the confluence from seeps in a short side canyon and Courthouse Wash was flowing pretty good, too. It was a beautiful spring hike in Canyon Country! I must say, even though Arches National Park gets a bad rap for being busy and congested during the busy season (which it deserves), I really enjoy hiking into the park from the backcountry and rarely ever run into anyone else. If you are really looking for solitude in Arches, you can definitely find it!

A view of Sevenmile Rim and my Jeep parked near the pour-over as I walked along the rim to the beginning of the old cattle trail.

Sevenmile Rim

Following the old cattle trail into the canyon.

Old Cattle Trail

Vibrant green cottonwoods on a lovely spring hike.

Springtime Hiking

Springtime Colors

The view from inside a large alcove where I found a good seep flowing and an old cowboy camp.

Big Seep Alcove

Green Canopy

I was happy to find some nice petroglyphs along the way. This boulder contained a number of bear paw prints.

Bear Paw Print Boulder

Unusual designs…

Bear Paw Prints

This is the lower portion of the same boulder.

Lower Boulder Petroglyphs

This lone petroglyph has a pretty nice view of the canyon.

Canyon Spirit

Water flowing through Courthouse Wash.

Upper Courthouse Wash

Motion-blurred streaks found on a canyon wall.

Canyon Streaks

A nice view towards Elephant Butte and The Windows Section of Arches National Park as I returned to the trailhead.

Afternoon View

My Jeep parked at the edge of the canyon waiting for my return.

Parked at the Edge

After completing the hike and returning to my Jeep I decided to try and visit one more rock art site before heading back home. This turned out to be a nice set of Barrier Canyon Style pictographs with a few petroglyphs mixed in.

This was one of the first pictographs I noticed when I entered the large alcove.

Little Guy

This panel was very faded, but also interesting so I did my best to enhance it here.

Faded BCS Panel

Then I came across my favorite panel at this site…

Barrier Canyon Style Pictographs

In this closer view you can see the Barrier Canyon Style pictographs are superimposed with a petroglyph of an elk. Very cool!

Elk Over BCS

Here is a wider view so you can see more of the strange petroglyphs found here.

Elk Over BCS Panel

>> Lower Sevenmile Canyon Photo Gallery


  1. John Spurr
    John Spurr April 21, 2017

    Gorgeous photos and awesome rock art!

  2. Mary Amory
    Mary Amory January 18, 2019

    I love the idea of the edges of the National Parks. Would you please offer a hint as to the canyon or wash for the final stop with Barrier Canyon images and the super imposed petroglyph? I know you are vary cautious to keep us all hiking and being curious. I do appreciate
    that, but as I live in Maine and have only a month a year out here, it would be nice to have a hint. Thanks for sharing all that you do share, I love the vicarious pleasure,

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