Mussentuchit Wash Petroglyphs

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5648 - 5668 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Emery CR 924
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs




The Mussentuchit Wash Petroglyphs are located in the southern area of the San Rafael Swell west of Green River, Utah where on a bench high above the wash a number of somewhat unique and interesting Fremont style images make up a very busy panel of petroglyphs. Mussentuchit looks like a very strange name but it is pronounced as though saying 'Mustn't touch it' or maybe more correctly as 'mussen-touch-it' with the meaning being the former. It's kind of like petroglyphs in that you mustn't touch them but in this case they are probably referring to the surrounding area of the San Rafael Swell which one has to wonder in amazement how it has escaped becoming designated at least  as a National Monument.


The biggest part of this post is simply describing how to get to Mussentuchit Wash. Begin by taking Exit 99 off of Interstate 70, which is about 61 miles west of Green River, and travel south over the Interstate.


Measuring from the BLM Information Kiosk on the south side of the Interstate follow Emery County Road 912 for about 8.4 miles to a 'T' intersection and turn right.


Another 'T' intersection comes up quickly at the 8.6 mile point where you need to turn left. Going to the right at that point is actually another route to Interstate 70 that is a few miles longer. After turning left continue to around the 9.8 mile point and turn right. If you are driving very fast this is an easy turn to miss so if you come to a sign at the next fork for Moroni Slopes and Last Chance Wash you will need to backtrack to this spot.


The road travels around a butte passing a number of primitive campsites for about a half mile and comes to another fork at the 10.3 mile point. The left fork leads to a dead end at the scenic Sand Cove Spring less that a half mile away while the right fork climbs a short hill.


From that fork it is another 1.5 miles to the next fork where a 4wd road branches off on the left right before a cattle guard. During good conditions when the road is dry passenger cars should have little trouble making it to this point. Much of the road getting here is adobe clay and should be avoided by all vehicles when it is soaked.


From the cattle guard it is only a few hundred yards down the 4wd road to where a wash begins developing on the left side of the road. Look for a faint trail that stays on the left side of this shallow wash that heads around the point of the cliffs above Mussentuchit Wash. The 4wd road dead ends just around the corner above the wash. The dead end is also a good spot to begin at to hike back to the petroglyphs.


There are a handful of petroglyphs on various surfaces as you head toward the main panel. The ground is covered with many colorful specimens of chert some of which show signs of knapping to make arrowheads and tools.


The main panel is large enough that it can be spotted all the way back at the road.


For the most part the images are very well preserved.


There appear to be multiple stories being depicted here. This group of images looks like a fight scene where one big person is grappling with someone that is holding a knife. It looks like he may have already thrown one person over the cliff. Below that might be someone that is pleading to be spared. It makes you wonder if that was an event that happened at this site.


This is another very interesting image because it looks like siamese twins.


And this image with big hands and big feet has similarities with the iconic figure at the Wolfman Panel site in Lower Butler Wash near Bluff, Utah.


Mussentuchit Wash is a nice site that doesn't require hardly any hiking. It is well off the beaten path but it only takes about an hour to get there from the interstate. The wash is more like a gorge at this spot and looks like it might be fun to hike around in for those that have the time to do a little more exploring. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.