9 Mile Canyon Fremont Village

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5350 - 5592 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Mile marker 45.5
Fee: none
Attractions: Pithouse, rock shelter, petroglyphs




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The Fremont Village site is located in the Nine Mile Canyon National Backcountry Byway near Wellington, Utah. Nine Mile Canyon has been inhabited by one people after another for at least the last 8,000 years. The Fremont people occupied the area around the same time the Anasazi Culture was building pueblos further to the south.


The trailhead is at about mile marker 45.5 in Nine Mile Canyon. If you use the Google Maps 'Get Directions' function to get to the trailhead it is likely to send you along a less than ideal route. The easiest and preferred way is to turn north off of Highway 191 at Walker's Chevron near Wellington, Utah. There is a big brown Nine Mile Canyon sign at the turnoff. By taking this route you will find the entire length of the road is paved.


From the trailhead, which is a pullout along the road, the trail climbs the side of the hill.


An unexcavated pithouse sits at a fairly typical location on a bench where the comings and goings of the valley can easily be observed. Just looking at the ring of rocks doesn't make life in a pithouse seem all that appealing but if you ever get the chance to see various reconstructed pithouses you will see they could be very livable. The College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum in Price has a reconstruction of an actual documented pithouse from Nine Mile Canyon.


The trail continues past the pithouse site to a large boulder where there is an extensive rock shelter and some rock art.


Several natural cavities can be found around the large boulder.


The area beneath the boulder may have been dug out to enlarge the naturally occurring spaces with rock walls constructed in places to augment them.


The faint remains of a few painted hand pictographs can be found as well as a few petroglyphs.


Most of the sites in Nine Mile Canyon require very little effort so to get a little more exercise we followed some of the spur trails in the area and investigated the various little alcoves further up the hillside. Views of the canyon are spectacular. Many other bench areas that may also have pithouse sites can be seen looking out from this point.


The most interesting aspect of the Fremont Village site might be more the location rather than the actual ruin itself. The large boulder with its rock art and shelter are worth the little extra effort it takes to hike to them. Besides that the views higher up on the hillside are an extra bonus. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.