Great Hunt Panel

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5406 - 5457 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 15 mins.
Trailhead: Mile marker 45.9
Fee: none
Attractions: Petroglyphs

The Great Hunt Panel is located in the Nine Mile Canyon Backcountry Byway near Wellington, Utah. The Great Hunt Panel, sometimes also referred to as the Cottonwood Panel because of its location in the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon, has been written about in National Geographic magazine. Part of the panels popularity might be due to its easy access, good condition and that this is an example of ancient rock art that many people think they actually know what the message is the originator of the panel was conveying in this instance whereas when they look at other panels they are left scratching their heads in bewilderment.

The Great Hunt Panel is located at about mile marker 45.9 of the Nine Mile Canyon Road. To enjoy the benefits of the newly paved road the best route to take is to turn north at Walker's Chevron on the east side of Wellington, Utah. There is a large brown Nine Mile Canyon sign at the turnoff. Stop in at Walker's and pick up a Nine Mile Canyon brochure to take along or download one from castlecountry.com to print out in advance.

The wide packed graveled trail should prove to be wheelchair accessible. The petroglyphs are about 500 feet from the parking area. Our GPS was showing an elevation change of around 50 feet but it was probably getting thrown off by the high canyon walls. The trail is basically level from one end to another.

The sign at the Great Hunt panel is asking the question: "Does rock art tell a story?" It then mentions that scholars believe this panel represents an actual hunting event. Another question to ask might be "What do you think?"

Our take on the panel is that the large trapezoidal figure with horns of power in the center can be thought of as a hunting god or kachina that controls or influences the movement or migration of the animals. All of the animal figures are connected to one another and eventually a path can be traced to the central figure where they contact it at its feet and shoulder. Now notice the three shield figures none of which have bow and arrows. One of them is wielding either a club or an atlatl. In this situation the warriors with shields may be trying to protect their hunting grounds from these newcomers that have a new type of weapon the bow and arrow. That is a simplified version of how we see the panel.

This small panel to the lower right of the Great Hunt panel may represent two battles that were fought to protect their resources in which they proved more powerful and had the upper hand and the two sides ended up talking and making peace but they still had to watch out for the invaders who sometimes broke their word.

More panels to the right of the main panel.

Here are some shield pictographs located nicely under an overhang.

The cliffs look like a scene from a Hollywood western.

There are a few other petroglyphs on the cliffs around the parking area. It might be fun to go from one end of the canyon to the other to see what the greatest distance is that you can travel without seeing any rock art or anything else of archaeological significance. The pavement ends a short distance past the parking area but the dirt road continues into the narrowing confines of Cottonwood Canyon. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.