Big Man Pictographs in Grand Gulch via Government Trail

Mexican Hat, Utah

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Before you begin this hike, pause to examine the small pond near the car parking area. The pond is an oasis in the middle of a largely waterless tableland. Although it was constructed originally by local ranchers for the purpose of watering their cattle, it has since become a haven for birds, deer, and coyotes. If you arrived too late in the day to begin your hike, the pond is a delightful place to spend the night. When you see the pictograph panel it will become obvious why it was named Big Man. The central focus of the art is two life size human figures, one of which appears to be a woman and the other obviously a man. There is also a pictograph of a woman carrying a baby. But for me the most interesting part of the artwork is the signature handprints of the artists. Many pictographs of the Southwest include such handprints. The Big Man Pictographs were probably made by the Anasazi people who resided in Grand Gulch between 200 and 1300 A.D., but they could have been made much earlier than that. Archeologists have long been frustrated by the fact that no method now exists for accurately dating such art.
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

Before you begin this hike, pause to examine the small pond near the car parking area. The pond is an oasis in the middle of a largely waterless tableland. Although it was constructed originally by local ranchers for the purpose of watering their cattle, it has since become a haven for birds, deer, and coyotes. If you arrived too late in the day to begin your hike, the pond is a delightful place to spend the night.

When you see the pictograph panel it will become obvious why it was named Big Man. The central focus of the art is two life size human figures, one of which appears to be a woman and the other obviously a man. There is also a pictograph of a woman carrying a baby. But for me the most interesting part of the artwork is the signature handprints of the artists. Many pictographs of the Southwest include such handprints. The Big Man Pictographs were probably made by the Anasazi people who resided in Grand Gulch between 200 and 1300 A.D., but they could have been made much earlier than that. Archeologists have long been frustrated by the fact that no method now exists for accurately dating such art.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Mexican Hat
Distance: 10.6
Elevation Gain: 620 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Duration: 6.25 hours
Season: Spring, summer, fall
Trailhead Elevation: 5,670 feet
Top Elevation: 5,670 feet
Local Contacts: San Juan Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management, in Monticello
Local Maps: Pollys Pasture (USGS)
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Man Pictographs in Grand Gulch via Government Trail

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Apr 2018