3 Kings Petroglyphs

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6068 - 6150 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: McConkie Ranch
Fee: $5/vehicle donation
Attractions: petroglyphs, pictographs




The 3 Kings Petroglyphs are located on the McConkie Ranch near Vernal, Utah. The site boasts many fine petroglyphs and pictographs of the Classic Vernal Style that are highlighted by the well known 3 Kings Panel. The site is open year round from dawn to dusk.


To get to the trailhead drive north on Highway 121, N500W St., for 3.5 miles and turn right onto 3500W at the Dry Fork Canyon sign. Continue for about 6.3 miles and turn right at the signs for the McConkie Ranch.


Before heading out on the trail stop in at the visitor shack and sign the log book. At present a $5 donation/vehicle donation is requested. There is also a refrigerator that has cold pop and water that can be purchased for $1 each. Those that would like to borrow a walking stick can pick one out of the barrel.


From the parking area there are signs that direct visitors to the 3 Kings Panel. The very well marked trail follows the fence through several pastures. This is all private property so be respectful of their gracious hospitality and stay on the trail.


After leaving the pastures the trail passes through another gate and comes to a fork. The most direct route to the 3 Kings panel is to the right. The other trail leads to a number of other panels along the base of the cliff that can be explored on the return trip.


The trail ends several hundred feet from the 3 Kings panel which is very high up on the point of a cliff. A pair of binoculars is necessary for close examination and a zoom lens is a must for taking photos.


For the type of lighting that was available at the time the photos were taken for this post our zoom lens was showing its weaknesses. It is apparent that at least parts of the images had traces of paint and probably showed up quite well when they were originally created. There was information about this and other panels in the visitor shack that we didn't take the time to study so we won't speculate about the panel other than to point out the 'head hunter' aspect of it that is also depicted on a few of the other panels at McConkie Ranch.


The trail along the base of the cliffs that leads to the other petroglyphs on the 3 Kings trail is quite a bit more primitive in nature.


There are many fine images scattered high and low along the cliffs.


Some of the images are similar to those on the 3 Kings panel.


There is also at least one panel that is made up of all pictographs.


Sometimes you can almost pick up on the message the images may have intended to convey.


This shield symbol might be one of the most perfect circles we've seen in all our wonderings.


Of the 2 trails at the McConkie Ranch the 3 Kings trail is the easiest to hike and is a good one to do first. It would be nice to have a copy of the studies that have been done to take along on the hike. That would add quite a bit to the time required but should also make the visit much more enriching. We'll just have to get that zoom lens we've had our eye on and go back once again. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.