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Tenmile! Canyon of Mystery

Moab Area Rock Art XXXI | Sunday, December 17, 2017

After spending Saturday in the Book Cliffs with Diane, I headed over to Tenmile Canyon on Sunday morning, which is a little ways southwest of Crescent Junction near the Green River, to do a little exploring on my own. There might be some of you out there that recognize the title of this trip report is very similar in name to a guidebook written by the late Jack Bickers (Tenmile! Nearby Canyon of Mystery) in 1991. Well, that book has been collecting dust on my shelf for almost ten years now, and ever since I got it I’ve wanted to visit and explore Tenmile Canyon. Of course, when I originally bought the book my main intention was to drive the trail in the canyon to the Green River with my Jeep, but these days I’d rather be hiking. I’ve tried planning trips to Tenmile Canyon before, but something has always prevented me from making it out there, whether it was weather or a last minute change of plans to go somewhere else. I finally decided to make this trip a priority and headed out there to do a little hiking. Better late than never, I guess!

A nice petroglyphs panel I quickly spotted at the beginning of my hike.

High Petroglyph Panel

A diagonally-striped Fremont Anthropomorph.

Fremont Anthropomorph

Hiking along the canyon walls was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be because of the arroyo cutting like this. I continually had to find ways down and then back up onto the sandy benches.

Arroyo Cutting

The first pictographs I found at the back of a shallow alcove.

Winged Pictograph

I really liked the stripes on the sandstone in this part of the canyon.

Canyon Stripes


Following the canyon walls on the sandy bench in Tenmile Canyon in search of rock art.

Tenmile Canyon

A red and yellow Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel near the entrance of a pretty large alcove.

Red & Yellow Barrier Canyon Style Panel

More lines and stripes on the canyon walls that caught my attention.


This large alcove appeared to have been used as a cowboy camp at one time, but the only thing remaining is this clothesline that is rigged up in the back and a few scattered cans. There was a little seep and a pool of water in that little alcove to the left.

Drying Line & Spring

There were a number of corncobs and metate grooves found in the alcove, too.

Corn Cobs

An inscription found on a boulder left by a Green River High School student in 1930. I didn’t even notice the petroglyph of the snake until I got back home and looked at this photo on my PC!

Hallie Tomlinson, 1930

I found this large grinding stone in another nearby alcove.

Grinding Stone

Looking up at the desert stripes decorating the top of the alcove.

Alcove Lines

White Rocks

Tafoni in the roof of a small colorful sandstone alcove I found while exploring Tenmile Wash.

Alcove Tafoni

I revisited the Facedown Panel, which was one of my favorite finds from a number of years ago.

Facedown Panel

Purple Bands

One lone petroglyph of a bighorn sheep.

Single Sheep

Exploring boulders in the late afternoon.

Exploring Boulders

Ute pictographs in the Secret Grotto.

Ute Pictographs


I found this small red handprint in a stripe of lighter colored sandstone.

Red Handprint

Starting the drive back home during the Golden Hour.

Heading Home

>> Tenmile! Canyon of Mystery Photo Gallery


  1. Dianne
    Dianne December 21, 2017

    Interesting at how seemingly different the glyphs are compared to C M. Also, the terrain seems harsher. Thanks!

  2. Debra
    Debra December 27, 2017

    I just wanted you to know that I thoroughly enjoy your adventures and look forward to your photos. Most of your adventures are now on my ‘to do’ list. Wishing you another year of fun times in 2018. Cheers!

  3. charitymeinhart
    charitymeinhart February 22, 2019

    Any chance you could share the driving directions to the trailhead? It looks like you take the yellowcat road but I also wonder if you can get there from the ruby canyon road by the white wash sand dunes?

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat February 22, 2019

      There are a number of ways to get there, but the quickest is probably by taking the Blue Hills Road (near the airport) to the Tenmile Point Road and then get to Dripping Spring.

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