Friday – Sunday, February 11-13, 2022
Just above where I left the [Sevier] river a range of high hills cross the valley. I ascended a small creek [Clear Creek] coming in on the west side and at its head crossed a range of Mts and 3d short days travel Brought me into a low country on the west side of the Mt.
– Jedediah Smith’s Journal, First Expedition to California, 7 Aug 1826 – 3 Jul 1827
It’s been over ten years since I last visited Fremont Indian State Park (not counting speeding through on I-70 a couple times each year) and Diane had never stopped there before, so I thought we were overdue for a visit and decided to spend my birthday weekend there this year. It’s funny since the last time I spent a weekend at the park was also over my birthday weekend! Established in 1987, Fremont Indian State Park encompasses 1,200 acres of land within Clear Creek Canyon at the juncture of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin and is nestled between the Tushar Mountains to the south and the Pahvant Range to the north. While planning the trip late last year I noticed that the park now has two cabins that are available to reserve in the Sam Stowe Campground, so I booked one of them so we could spend the weekend in a little more comfort than usual. We were looking forward to checking it out as we explored the rock art in the park for the weekend!
I only worked half a day on Friday while Diane took her first exam of the semester in the morning. When she was done with her exam we hopped into her car and headed west on I-70 until we reached Fremont Indian State Park a couple of hours later. We stopped at the Museum and Visitor Center first to get the code for our cabin and then we headed over to the campground to check it out and unload our gear. The cabin was nice, clean and cozy and there was a good heater, a fridge and a microwave- amenities we are not used to having when ‘camping.’ We spent the rest of the evening hiking the trails close to the Museum and then checking out the petroglyphs near Newspaper Rock from the Rim Viewpoints and near the Canyon of Life. While I had seen most of these petroglyphs before, they were all new for Diane. With the warmer temperatures in the afternoon, the trails were very muddy in places, with occasional snow and ice mixed in , too.
Welcome to Fremont Indian State Park.
Our home for the weekend.
If you are interested, there is also a ‘modern pithouse’ in the campground that you can stay in.
A Hunting Story
Hunting Map Panel
A section of nice light in Little Dog Canyon.
The Canyon Overlook Trail
Turkey Tracks Rock
Are they wearing bunny-ear headdresses and directing traffic?
Newspaper Rock Panel
Diane found a short little slot canyon in the Canyon of Life.
An evening view of the mountains across the canyon.
Big Wheel Panel
Since it was my birthday we headed into Richfield for dinner after sunset and then returned to our cabin at the Sam Stowe Campground after dark.
At the front of the cabin there was a table and a futon.
At the back of the cabin was a large bunk bed and the fridge and microwave. It was very roomy inside and the heater worked so well that I had to get up in the middle of the night to turn it down!
After a good night of sleep we were up early on Saturday morning so we could hike the Centennial Trail while it was still frozen and not muddy. Then we spent the rest of the day searching for and photographing as many petroglyphs as we could find. We found plenty of new ones that I had missed on my previous visit, so that was a plus!
Dawn at The Cabin
Mirror Selfie & Petroglyphs in the Sheep Shelter
We stopped by the Jedediah Smith Interpretative Site where they had these steel sculptures.
Elk Panel in Skinner Canyon
The Indian Blanket Pictograph
I still feel this is a bit excessive…
There are only 31 handprints in the 100 Hands Cave.
Big Guy Panel
Sheep & Dots
I like the ‘fringed’ circle in the middle of this small panel.
This is a historic carving found near the alma Christensen Nature Trail that may have been carved by Alma Christensen.
Back of the Rock Panel
The Dancing Family
High Sheep Panel
The Water Panel was one of my favorite new finds this weekend.
Big Sheep with Four Horns
We had a full day exploring Fremont Indian State Park!
This evening we ate dinner in the cabin shortly after sunset and then went to bed early. On Sunday morning we were up at dawn again and had the cabin cleaned and vehicle loaded before the sun came up. We drove over to the Museum one last time so we could hike a short loop up the Coyote Canyon Trail and then down the Upper Secrets Trail as the sun came up over the mountains.
Our second and last morning at the cabin.
At the top of the Coyote Canyon Trail we revisited the Meditation Spiral.
Hidden Secrets Panel
Diane hiking down the Hidden Secrets Ridge back to our vehicle at the trailhead.
Once back down to the Museum we hopped back on I-70, topped off the gas tank in Richfield and then headed back home. We had a great weekend exploring Fremont Indian State Park together!