No Thoroughfare Canyon Petroglyphs

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4965 - 5064 feet
Cellphone: 3-4 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Artists Point
Fee: $5 individual - $15 vehicle - $40 annual pass
Attractions: Petroglyphs

I have been getting inquiries and search engine hits for the petroglyph's in No Thoroughfare Canyon on the Colorado National Monument so here is the post. There are two other petroglyph sites that I will probably add to this at some future time. Hopefully people will be respectful of the sites by not leaving any markings of their own.

The above photograph was taken around 1963 by T.R. Giles, U.S. Geological Survey. The figures were first colored with chalk to make them stand out for the photo. In the summer of 1963 an archaeological survey of Colorado National Monument was carried out, under the terms of an agreement between the National Park Service and the University of Colorado, by Stroh and Ewing and their field assistants. A total of 75 aboriginal sites were found of which 71 were within the Monument boundaries of that date, and 4 were closely adjacent. These comprised 41 open campsites, 24 rock shelters, 2 small caves, and 8 chipping stations. Artifacts recovered included 62 projectile points, 21 metates (grinding stones), 40 manos (handstones), 111 whole or fragments of blades or scrapers, 6 choppers, several fragments of baskets, potsherds (bits of broken pottery) at two sites, 2 wood awls, several strands of yucca fibers, 3 corncobs, 6 kernels of corn, several bone fragments, storage cists at five sites, and petroglyphs at three locations. (U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1508 by S.W. Lohman.) It is speculated that some of the figures are Shoshone (Ute) and that some may be from the Fremont culture or even older.

The petroglyph site is within a half mile of the Devils Kitchen trailhead along the Old Gordon trail. Exit the parking area of the Devils Kitchen trailhead at the south end and follow the signs for the Old Gordon trail. A short distance down the hill the Old Gordon and Echo Canyon trails branch off to the left. Continue on this trail as it descends down to the seasonal stream bed. Small logs have been buried in the trail to form steps and to slow down the erosion.

At the base of the hill leave the Old Gordon trail and follow the faint trail that crosses the wash to the cliff. The petroglyphs are on a large slab of Wingate sandstone that has fallen from the wall of the cliff.

The location is shaded from the sun by the cliff for most of the day. I found it easier to see most of the figures by looking through my camera. Note the difference from the 1963 photo in the amount of graffiti that has been added.

If you print the 1963 photo and take it with you it might be a valuable aid in spotting the various figures. At some time I hope to have collected enough rock art in the area to develop a comparison between it all. There is a surprising amount of rock art covering thousands of years of time just in our local area. All you have to do to see it is 'Take a hike'.