Ferron Box

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 5.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5611 - 6029 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Dutch Flat Road
Fee: none
Attractions: pictographs/petroglyphs




Ferron Box is located in the Molen Reef area of the San Rafael Swell near the towns of Ferron and Molen, Utah. The site consists of various panels of pictographs and petroglyphs that are stretched out along the cliffs above a bend in Ferron Creek. Enroute to Ferron Box there are also a couple of petroglyph sites the most significant of which are the Sandal Tracks Petroglyphs where an area of slickrock is covered with numerous petroglyphs of sandals.


To get there find your way to the town of Ferron. Turn east off of Highway 10 onto 100 South, aka the Molen Road. Drive toward Molen for 3 miles and turn right at the sign for the Dutch Flat Road. Follow the Dutch Flat Road for about 4.4 miles to where a 4wd road begins climbing the side of the hill on the left. There is also a road on the right at this junction that heads toward Kings Crown. Interestingly enough, there is also another 4wd road about a mile earlier that makes a steep climb up a hill on the left that is near another road on the right that takes more of a 2wd route to Kings Crown.


Route finding gets a bit confusing after the 4wd road reaches the top of the hill. There is a road that runs along the rim that you could call the first left that connects at this point. A few yards further there is another road on the left and about 100 feet or so past that is yet another road on the left. For this post we are taking the 3rd road on the left on the trip there and returning via the 2nd road on the left. You can go any way you want. They all require 4wd types of vehicles and they all will get you there as long as you don't take the first road on the left that begins by traveling along the rim. It is actually a roundabout route to the first 4wd road that we said to trust us and not take.


The 4wd road heads across the top of the mesa where along the way there is a rocky ledge that requires high clearance. Stay left at the fork that comes up even though at first it doesn't look like there is a road to follow. Near the 1 mile point from the Dutch Flat Road the 4wd road makes a steep drop off the mesa to a lower bench where there is a 4-way intersection. For this post we continued straight through the intersection and dropped over the hill to visit the Sandal Tracks site first. If you look at the map we're following a figure 8 pattern.


After passing through the 4-way intersection and dropping over the side of the hill the road makes a gradual descent down a terrace of slickrock outcrops for just over a half mile until it reaches another 4-way intersection right before a little hill. This is a good spot to park and walk over to the Sandal Tracks which are only about a hundred feet away.


The sandal tracks are etched in the darkly patina of the slickrock and spread out over the ground along with a few other symbols. If you haven't seen at least a couple dozen images then keep looking around until you find them all. It is a very interesting site to contemplate. We don't know if the images are true to scale or even whether they are a mixture of youths and adults.


When leaving the Sandal Tracks follow the right fork for half a mile to a fallen down pole fence that serves as a trailhead. Looking down at Ferron Creek you should be able to spot some of the pictographs high up on the cliffs along the right hand side of the canyon. To get down there requires hiking along the top of the cliffs until you reach a cairn that marks a good spot that requires some minor scrambling to get down to the level of the creek.


There are spatterings of faded pictographs that are noticeable as you hike along the cliff but if you keep your eyes peeled the first really good images will be the Rainbow Panel which is up near the top of the cliff. You have to step back away from the cliff, pretty much to the edge of the creek, to get a full look at them.


There is another nice panel just to the right of the Rainbow Panel.


Another couple hundred feet or so down the cliff is what is known as the Segregation Panel tucked way up beneath an overhang. To us the darker colored image looks more integrated with the rest rather than segregated but that is the common name for the panel. There are 4 more similar red images off to the left that are much more faded. By scrambling along between the cliff and the creek and hunting around you should be able to find even more pictographs and petroglyphs. A pair of binoculars comes in handy here to save a lot of wasted energy.


It is right at 1.1 miles from Ferron Box back to the 4-way intersection along the return leg of the figure 8. A little past the intersection watch for a faint double track that branches off on the left and then fades away. After a few hundred feet there are quite a few petroglyphs on some of the boulders at the point of the cliff. There are some that are so eroded that they are hardly noticeable but there are others that are still looking pretty good.


From the boulder petroglyphs it is 1.3 miles back to the Dutch Flat Road. For those that don't have a suitable vehicle or other conveyance it is only 5.2 miles to hike or bike. Even though we drove there and back we still ended up hiking a couple of extra miles while doing a little exploring. We even drove an extra 5 miles just trying to make sense out of the mess of roads and ATV trails in the area before at last we had found all that we were looking for. No matter how you go about it Ferron Box and the Sandal Tracks are well worth the effort. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.