Ute Petroglyph/Palisade Rim Trail

Round Trip Distance: 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4685 - 5356 feet
Cellphone: 4-5 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Palisade Rim
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs

The Ute Petroglyph trail is located due east of the town of Palisade, Colorado just off US Highway 6. The trail climbs the hill on the other side of the canal to a plateau where Ute Indians may possibly have mad a camp at times.

This sign is the first thing you notice when you arrive at the trailhead. The sign is referring to the old trail that crossed over the Orchard Mesa canal at this point. The trail has been diverted and now departs from the south end of the parking lot.

This trail gets a lot of daily use from hikers. A surprising number of people have no idea that there are petroglyphs carved into the patina of some of the rock faces as they walk obliviously 20-30 feet away. Parking is available just across Highway 6 next to the Colorado River. This is a short hike if you follow the normal trail that climbs steeply up the mountain behind the canal and then loops around the rock formation containing the petroglyphs. Once you reach the upper area of the trail there is no limit to where you can go from there. I have hiked to the top of the higher cliffs below the Grand Mesa on several occasions.

Once you hike up the switchbacks to the semi level area on top of the mountain you will be able to see the cliffs where the petroglyphs are. Follow the trail to the left that leads around the cliffs. As you approach the east end of the rocks you will see a smaller trail that will take you closer to the rocks. Take that trail and you should begin seeing the rock art which appears to be mostly of deer.

This particular glyph appears to partially show a hunter with a bow and arrow taking aim at a deer.

We don't know for sure but we imagined that perhaps a group of Ute Indians had made a camp in the area around the rocks and that is why so many glyphs were in this one spot. The trail continues around to the north side of the rocks and rejoins the main trail from which the ascent was made. If you would like to see the petroglyph's for yourself and hike were the Ute Indians were then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.