Birthing Cave

Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4170 - 4187 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. (mostly driving)
Trailhead: Birthing Cave
Fee: none
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Birthing Cave is located about 10 miles west of Gunlock, Utah in what feels like the middle of no where. The cave appears to get its name from a couple of birthing petroglyphs but maybe also from Paiute history. After visiting the Birthing Cave we discovered there is another alcove or cave close by called the Naming Cave. That cave is harder to get to but from pictures we saw it has quite a few more petroglyphs.

To get there from Gunlock drive south out of town and just before reaching Gunlock State Park turn west onto the Manganese Wash Road. You can actually enter Birthing Cave into Google Maps for turn by turn directions. That works out fine as long as you ignore the left turn that comes up just past the 4 mile point unless you have something like a jeep and are accustomed to extreme off roading. If you drive past that turn it should reroute you onto the longer but faster route.

Our GPS track follows what we would call the middle route by staying on the Manganese Wash Road until the 6.8 mile point before turning left. That route climbs up on top of a long ridge that it follows south. Off in the distance in this photo you can see some powerlines and a couple fins of red sandstone that you will want to heads toward ignoring the road that branches off on the left.

Near the 8.8 mile point the road drops down to a 4-way intersection. Continue through the intersection and head toward the small cave that is visible on the right. The Naming Cave is apparently on the backside of the fin of sandstone in this photo that is just to the left of the Birthing Cave. (We were so close but didn't know it at the time.)

The last hundred yards or so of the road is rough and sandy so go only as far as you feel comfortable before parking.

This is one of the petroglyphs that we referred to for which the cave is named.

And this is another.

There is actually quite a bit of rock art in the Birthing Cave but most of it is barely legible. A person has to spend some time looking at the walls of the cave before most of it becomes apparent.

We're not sure whether this is a 4 fingered hand or something else. There is a semi circle that connects the tips of the fingers.

There are also a handful of pictographs. This black charcoal drawing made good use of a couple of holes.

This is a photo of some petroglyphs that were high up on another nearby sandstone fin. You will need to click on the photo to zoom in and see them better.

It's too bad that we missed the Naming Cave but that will be something else to look forward to the next time we are in the area. Those that would like to stay overnight will find a few primitive campsites scattered about. On our trip we parked our trailer about a mile or so up the Manganese Wash Road from the Gunlock Road. As far as the Birthing Cave goes, if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.