Crooks Brand Site

Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6118 - 6151 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Crooks Brand
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs with a known history

Crooks Brand is site #15 on the Rangely Rock Art Tour near Rangely, Colorado. The site has several horses, one of which has the brand belonging to General George Crook, as well as an inscription from a well known Basque sheepherder and an inscribed lamentation attributed to a passing cowboy sometime in the 1800's. General Crook was distinguished for his service during the Civil War and subsequent Indian Wars. In an act of respect the Apache gave the general the nickname of 'Grey Wolf'.

The turnoff to the trailhead is located at milepost 10.1 on the Dragon Road. After turning west drive for about 260 yards and turn right just before the well site. At this point you will see your destination before you. Parking is available within the fenced area or anywhere outside of it.

A kiosk at the trailhead gives a little background information and points out the areas of the cliff that have petroglyphs.

There are 2 places of note on the cliffs to the left.

The first is an inscription from what was believed to be a passing cowboy that dates back to the 1800's that laments: 'We are here because we ain't in hell but we are on our way'.

The next panel is of a dancehall girl that was a Paco Chacon original with a date of January 9, 1975. Other works of Pacomio can be found in Colorado that include dendroglyphs or arborglyphs that are carvings made in the trunks of trees. Someone felt the need to obliterate the dancehall girl with a hail of bullets leaving only the picture on the kiosk to show what it looked like previously.

The Ute petroglyphs are behind the fenced area at the other end of the cliffs.

One of my personal favorites is that of an arrow.

We traced a few of the images on the computer to make them standout. The little man on the right is supposed to be a white man wearing a tophat and great coat. Kinda looks like Zorro to me.

General Crooks horse looks very well done with the bridle, saddle, blanket and Crooks brand etched in detail. One story goes that several Utes snuck into the general's camp in Wyoming and stole a few horses with one of them having Crooks brand on it. Another story says that this was created by one of General Crooks Ute scouts.

We have come across other mentions of General George Crook while hiking in Arizona where he spent time fighting the Apache and Yavapai when he was in command of the Arizona Territory. From fighting battles in the Civil War in Virginia to Indian Wars in California, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado the general certainly saw a lot of the country. A lot of it on horseback no doubt and if the Ute tradition holds true then no longer on this particular horse. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.