Spider Woman Rock

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5742 - 5883 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Skinner Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs




Spider Woman Rock is located at the Fremont Indian State Park in Sevier County, Utah. The large white rock resembled the shape of a spider whose head faced south towards Clear Creek. Along the base of the rock were several rock art panels that were thought to have told the legend of Spider Woman. You may have picked up that our description is in the past tense. Tragically much of the rock was destroyed when Interstate 70 was constructed through the canyon.


Spider Woman Rock sits in the mouth of Skinner Canyon about 2.2 miles east of the Visitor Center along the Clear Creek Canyon Road. At present there isn't a sign that says Spider Woman Rock on it but there is a sign that points up the canyon where several panels of rock art can be found. Visitors have the option of parking near the mouth of the canyon or driving further up it.


All that remains of Spider Woman Rock is part of her back and a rock that was thought to be her twins. The Hopi considered the rock to be a sacred site but failed in their attempts to save it from destruction.


If you follow the road into Skinner Canyon there are a couple of petroglyph panels.


The first site is a quarter mile into the canyon on the lefthand side and is called the Drought Panel. The park has an interesting write up on the Drought Panel on their website. The way they tell it is that this panel depicts a great drought in A.D. 1200 that was confirmed by tree ring data. The story depicted in the petroglyphs mentions that they used to climb a nearby trail to the top of the cliff and leave prayer offerings near a spring.


The Hunting Panel is a little further down the road just past a side canyon on the righthand side of the main canyon. The best route to the panel is to follow the small wash as far as you can before cutting over to the cliff as pointed out in the picture above.


We highlighted some of the images on the computer to make them standout. They appear to be of four elk with something like a bighorn sheep near ground level. The way that the elk were pecked onto the cliff emphasizes features that are distinct to elk like a white rump and belly and unique neck covering.


The road continues a little further into the canyon before coming to a dead end. We hiked a short distance past the end of the road but didn't find anything of note.


As you leave the canyon the vertically jointed cliffs on the south side of the interstate present a pretty scene. There is an interesting story about a Hopi religious leader that put a curse, through Spider Woman and her daughter Salt Woman, on the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) for destroying Spider Woman Rock. Many unfortunate happenings that befell UDOT afterwards were subsequently attributed to the curse. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.