Outside Vernal, Utah
Hundreds of ancient Petroglyphs, and great high desert scenery
Anywhere from a half mile to almost 2 miles.
Less than 200 feet
30 Minutes to 2 Hours
There are no fees but a $2 donation is highly recommended
It can get very hot so bring plenty of water. There is no shade
The trail is mostly sandy with some small rock scrambling required.
Parking Lot:40.54575 N, 109.63713 W
The McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs are really a remarkable place for several reasons. This area is located on private property and they are literally in the families front yards. They have gone out of their way to make the area accessible so please do everything you can to treat the area with respect and make sure you leave the voluntary $2 donation because its really a cool thing these guys have done. There are literally hundreds of petroglyphs here on two different short trails. Maybe there are areas with more but I have never seen one with so much art in such a small area. I loved it. I was disappointed that I did not have my good camera with me. I would recommend you bring your camera and a telephoto lens if you have it because some of the best art is up high. You can hike anywhere from a half mile to close to 2 miles seeing the different art. The parking area has plenty of room and there are drinks available in a small shack inside a fridge. They use the honesty system so please pay for whatever sodas or water you take.
As I mentioned above the area is located right in this family’s yard.
The first trail climbs up into the rocks at the base of the cliffs. The hiking is not difficult but some minor rock scrambling is required.
You will quickly come to the first petroglyphs. This is by no means all of them. This is just some of the ones I thought were interesting.
Some areas were a mix of Petroglyphs and Pictographs. For those that don’t know a Petroglyph is carved into the rock and a Pictograph is painted on the rock.
As you climb you will get views down into the gorgeous valley below. This really is a pretty spot.
Many seemed to pretty clearly be war figures. Many of the heads appeared to be crying and look in several of the warrior ones and they are carrying severed heads with tears. It would be really interesting to see everything they were depicting when they made them.
Here is one of the severed heads being carried by a warrior I suppose.
One of the more famous ones is called bigfoot for obvious reasons. Of course he also has a head in hand.
My second favorite on the ranch is the bear. It was pretty high on a wall and with my small camera was had to get a quality shot but if you look very closely you can see the bear with a warrior stabbing it. You can clearly see the mans bent knees and spear.
Not far past the bear you will hit the end of the trail. Return the way you came. You will cross the road from the parking lot and see the Three Kings trail. This is a further but easier walk and is definitely the one to choose if you only have time for one.
The sandstone cliffs seen from the trail are very nice.
As with the other trail the cliffs are covered with many more petroglyphs.
My brother pointed out that this appeared to depict a marriage with what is clearly a man, a woman, an altar, and a star. Maybe its an old religious rite?
At the end of the trail you will see the Three Kings very high up on the cliff. I would guess they are at least 100 feet up if not more. The figures are over 7 feet tall. They are truly remarkable. Again I was kicking myself not having a long lens. I do not know how it got its name because there are actually 7 elaborate figures on the panel. This has been called by several scholars the greatest petroglyph panel in the world. I’d really love to know what it means. Due to the size and location it had to have been of great significance to the people and meant to be viewed even from far away.
You will have to walk back the way you came.
This is a really awesome place to spend a couple hours pondering what the art means and imagining the life lived here anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years ago. If you are a fan of ancient rock art this place needs to be at the top of your list.