Exploring: Nine Mile Canyon
A drive though Nine Mile Canyon is like stepping back in history. If you stand still you can almost hear the hooves of the Indian ponies clattering on the rock. This canyon is not unlike the canyons of Southern Utah, red rock is the dominant color. The treasure of Nine Mile Canyon is not the geological scenery, although that isn’t bad. No, the treasure here are the petroglyphs and remnants of the Fremont Indians. This area contains the highest concentration of petroglyphs I’ve ever seen. If you have a good eye you can view practically thousands of petroglyphs. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a pair of binoculars to view some of the distant petroglyphs on private property.
these drawings mean I can hardly imagine.
Some people think they know, they post papers and books
attempting to explain what someone in the past was thinking.
I’m not sure what any of them mean, I suppose we’ll
never truly know. I
do know that life back in the day wasn’t all work.
These people obviously had free time, and felt the human
urge to express themselves.
Mile Canyon is accessed from Wellington, Utah.
From Salt Lake City drive down I-15 to Spanish Fork, at
Spanish Fork head East on Highway 6.
Be careful on this drive, this is the most dangerous
highway in Utah. Continue
up and over Soldier Summit downwards to Price.
Continue through Price and stay on 6 through Wellington.
At the far end of town you will see a gas station/subway
on the left, turn into this station and fuel up.
It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick up some
water as well.
pull into the gas station reset your odometer.
Once you are fueled and watered up start driving down the
road adjacent to the station.
For about 12.5 miles you’ll traverse over desert
plateau, brown and gray are the dominant colors.
The occasional wildflower breaks up the scheme, adding
its splash of color. After
12.5 miles the paved road disappears, from now on travel is over
dirt and rock.
20.9 miles you will cross a bridge over the Minnie Maude Creek.
Soon after this will be a BLM sign proclaiming you are
entering Nine Mile Canyon, this also explains some of the
history of the area.
miles you will come across the first sign of old time life in
the Canyon, the fallen down remains of an old homestead are
evident. This area
is all private property and one must merely drive on.
miles into the journey you'll come across Nine Mile Ranch.
This attraction features a store and campground. I noticed
the campsites were 10 bucks a night. If I was camping in
the area I'd probably hit the BLM land at the beginning or end.
your odometer reaches 25.8 miles look for a pull-out on the
right side of the road, on the opposite side is a rock wall.
Get out of the car and walk up to the formation, notice
the petroglyphs adorning the lower wall.
These drawings are evident everywhere along the wall,
then notice the ones up about 20 feet.
Access to the upper panel can be had by walking to the
left along the cliff and scrambling up.
Please don’t touch any of these drawings, the
environment is removing these treasures fast enough without our
approximately 26.7 miles you will come across the Cottonwood
Glen Picnic Area. This is a nice place to stop and dawdle
a bit. Featuring canopied picnic areas and clean bathrooms
this is a nice spot for lunch.
next site is located at 29.0 miles an old Fremont granary is
visible on the hillside with binoculars.
Park along side the road and look off to your left, look
up the hill to the only cliff.
Look at the base of the largest crack on this cliff, a
stacked stone structure is clearly visible.
miles you will come across the remains of a small town.
This is the remants of Harper, a once sheep ranch and stage
coach stop. Most of this land is now private property,
fences keep anyone from exploring.
panel is visible at 30.1 miles, the usual weird drawings.
your eye's open, you'll see many petroglyphs thoughout this
stretch. Around 31.3 miles you'll notice a rock balanced
on the cliff above the road. Just after you drive around
this rock stop the vehicle. Get out and look around, many
interesting drawings are nearby. Try to figure out what
these early artists were trying to convey?
miles you will find another ancient billboard. The designs
on this wall are quite strange, what influenced these drawings?
The next must see panel is located at 34.2 miles. This
panel is easily found, three
trees directly next to the road are the stopping point.
Stop and look to your left, the panels are evident on the
hillside. A petroglyph of a snake is most evident, this
design is viewable with the naked eye. Most of the other
carvings will need binoculars to see, the land around is
strictly private property.
miles you will encounter a fork in the road, take the right fork
into Cottonwood Canyon. This canyon once again is a
challenge to find the pictures. Drive slowly, many can be
found once you get used to seeing them. After 43.0 miles
on the odometer one will find an open area featuring a bathroom.
Once you get out of the car take a look around. On your
left will be a corral, look around the fence. The cliffs
have afforded the local artisans to show their wares.
is much to see in Nine Mile Canyon, keep your eyes open and see
for yourself. Please refrain from the urge to carve your
own name into the sandstone. Although I
need to add to the historical significance for future
generations to do so in view of the road is in bad taste.
truly see this canyon you need to get out of your car.
Don't just drive down the road and point at the sites. Get out
of the damned auto, walk around. Take in the simple beauty
of the canyon, flowers are hard to see from the interior of a
Roosevelt I'd recommend staying in the vehicle, speed through
this area as fast as you can. Use tunnel vision to see
only the road. Pay no mind to the dotting of the land by
oil wells, forget you saw the black plastic hosing wandering
seemingly aimless through the area. Instead try and
remember what it looked like in the way back.
Atlas and Gazetteer
by DeLorme (Editor)
Rely on the Utah Atlas & Gazetteer for the utmost in
trip planning and
backcountry access. Contains
topographic maps with unbeatable
detail, plus gazetteer
information on great places to go and things to do.
Scale equals 1:250,000 or 1"=4 miles. Contour Interval is
covers 37 miles... Read
Utah's National Parks: Hiking, Camping, and Vacationing in Utah's Canyon Country: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands
Camping: The Complete Guide to more than 400 Campgrounds
Camping Utah (Camping)
Utah Camping Guide : The essential handbook for
Adventures: Utah: The Ultimate Guide to the Utah Backcountry for
Anyone With a Sport Utility Vehicle
Moab - Where The Tours Don't Go
Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
and Exploring Utah's San Rafael Swell
Underground: Guide to Real Fun
Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta
Get the 2005 Trailer Life Directory for 50% off the cover!
to Exploring Index