Canyon of Life Rock Art Trail

Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5860 - 5888 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Canyon of Life
Fee: $10/vehicle
Attractions: petroglyphs

The Canyon of Life is a short trail in the Fremont Indian State Park just west of Richfield, Utah. The main trail loops around an early homestead passing a former carriage house and cabin site along the way. A short spur trail leads over to 4 or 5 panels of petroglyphs that include a possible calendar petroglyph panel.

The Fremont Indian State Park sits in a beautifully scenic canyon right next to Interstate 70 24 miles west of Richfield and 18 miles east of Interstate 15. Getting there is as easy as entering the name into your favorite driving app. Head first to the Visitor Center to pay the nominal entrance fee, tour the museum, and pickup any brochures and current information.

From the Visitor Center drive west on the paved Clear Creek Canyon Road for just over a half mile to the signed trailhead.

The graveled trail begins right off of the shoulder of the road. The first kiosk has a map with other information that is useful to get orientated to the site.

Following the trail to the right there is an area of cliffs where there are 4 or more panels of petroglyphs.

The petroglyphs were pecked into the thin orangish-brown patina that covers many of the rocks. Some of the original patina has eroded away making a few of the images less distinct. It is still easy to pick out things such as hand and foot prints, bear paws, geometric designs and various sheep and anthropomorphic images.

The possible calendar panel is one of the most obvious and easy to see of the petroglyphs. The right side of the image looks like a large flower but whether that is what it was actually meant to represent, or how to interpret the rest of the panel, isn't something that we have any information on.

A careful eye will be able to pick out several of the more interesting anthropomorphic images. We made a rough outline of a few of them on the computer to help them to stand out.

The usual Fremont body style is easy to recognize.

When you first get it into your head that this looks like an old 35 mm roll of film it's harder to imagine anything else. Perhaps it's meant to be a pottery or blanket design.

The Canyon of Life Rock Art trail is just one of more than a score of other short stops in the Fremont Indian State Park that are all easy to get to as you drive along the Clear Creek Canyon Road. The current $10/vehicle fee is a real bargain especially when you consider there is a Visitor Center and museum with nice restrooms and interpretive signs at many of the sites. Please help them to continue to preserve the many petroglyphs by not touching them with your fingers or doing anything else to cause damage. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.