Tempi'po'op/Anasazi Trail

Round Trip Distance: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 2941 - 3206 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Anasazi
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Tempi' po' op trail (pronounced: tumpee poo oop), aka Anasazi Trail, is located in the Santa Clara River Preserve near St. George, Utah. In the Southern Paiute language Tempi'po'op means 'rock writing' and that is something that there is a lot of on the boulders along the rim of the cliffs overlooking the Anasazi Valley. On the knob of a hill on the way up to the petroglyphs the trail passes close by a prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan farmstead or pueblo.

The trail can be accessed from either the Tukupetsi or the Anasazi Valley trailhead. Both trailheads are well known to driving apps making navigation easy. A popular route is to take Exit 6 on Interstate 15 and follow Dixie Drive for 3.6 miles. Turn left onto West Sunset Blvd. and continue as it transitions to become the Old Highway 91. The turnoff for the Tukupetsi trailhead is at the 2.8 mile point of West Sunset Blvd., or 6.4 miles from I-15, and the turnoff to the Anasazi Valley trailhead in this photo is another 2.8 miles up Old Highway 91.

A 3-sided kiosk at the trailhead provides valuable information that helps visitors get oriented before heading out on the trail.

The trail begins near the east corner of the parking area.

Route finding is easy as the trail follows a wide swath that climbs steadily at a gradual rate with a few switchbacks thrown in to ease it up the north slope of Land Hill.

About 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead a fork comes up where the right branch leads up to the farmstead.

Farmstead is the word they are using for what we more commonly refer to as a pueblo.

From the farmstead it is another half mile or so up the ridge to the petroglyph site. There are actually a few petroglyphs just below the ridge after you leave the farmstead but the official trail doesn't pass near them. We walked over that way on our return trip to check them out.

Numerous petroglyphs can be found all over the basalt rocks on top of the ridge.

If you drop down to the bench just below the ridge you can find even more.

The trail below the ridge is much more primitive and requires a little scrambling in places but its a lot of fun searching out the petroglyphs. You can work your way along the bench for as far as you like. There are several places where you can easily scramble back up to the main trail without having to double back the way you came.

Be sure to check out every nook and cranny and turn around to look behind you in places so you don't miss any. Some of the petroglyphs can be found on the top surface of the boulders and are best viewed from the trail above while others can only be seen from down on the bench. Notice the man figure in this photo looks like he has an arrow or spear going through his body.

Most of the petroglyphs are very well preserved. Be sure not to touch them as the oil from your hands can damage them. And remember, it is illegal to damage rock art even unintentionally.

Besides the rock art there are some incredible views of the surrounding area while hiking along the trail. On one side of the ridge is the Santa Clara River corridor and in the other direction are the red rock cliffs around Snow Canyon. Everything taken together makes for a very pleasing experience. Anyone that finds rock art to be interesting will not want to miss the easy to get to Tempi'po'op site. It might take more than one visit though to discover all of the petroglyphs. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.