Upper Salt Creek Canyonlands NP

Blanding, Utah

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Canyonlands National Park combines opportunities for spectacular backcountry hiking with a chance to see numerous archaeological sites. One of the best places in the park to find both wilderness and prehistoric relics is upper Salt Creek. The Salt Creek area was occupied by the Mesa Verde branch of the Ancestral Pueblo people primarily between A.D. 1075 and 1150. The large drainage is the only place in the park with both arable land and a perennial water supply. These benefits, combined with the fact that the canyon walls offer protection from the elements and have numerous alcoves suitable for holding cliff dwellings, resulted in a heavier prehistoric occupation of Salt Creek than surrounding areas. Today, all you have to do to find cliff dwellings and rock art along Salt Creek is keep your eyes open. The more you look around, the more sites you’ll find. If you go, make sure you see two particularly interesting sites, the Big Ruin cliff dwelling and the All American Man pictograph.
Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen

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Hiking Ruins Seldom Seen

by Dave Wilson (Falcon Guides)

Canyonlands National Park combines opportunities for spectacular backcountry hiking with a chance to see numerous archaeological sites. One of the best places in the park to find both wilderness and prehistoric relics is upper Salt Creek. The Salt Creek area was occupied by the Mesa Verde branch of the Ancestral Pueblo people primarily between A.D. 1075 and 1150.

The large drainage is the only place in the park with both arable land and a perennial water supply. These benefits, combined with the fact that the canyon walls offer protection from the elements and have numerous alcoves suitable for holding cliff dwellings, resulted in a heavier prehistoric occupation of Salt Creek than surrounding areas. Today, all you have to do to find cliff dwellings and rock art along Salt Creek is keep your eyes open. The more you look around, the more sites you’ll find. If you go, make sure you see two particularly interesting sites, the Big Ruin cliff dwelling and the All American Man pictograph.

©  Dave Wilson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Blanding
Distance: 15.5
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: Backpack
Local Contacts: Canyonlands National Park
Local Maps: USGS Cathedral Butte, South Six-Shooter Peak, Druid Arch, House Park Butte
Driving Directions: Directions to Upper Salt Creek (Canyonlands NP)

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Apr 2018