Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Little Gem in A State Full of Treasures

September 23-25, 2017
Wellington, Utah

Utah is full of big-name national parks, places that top most travelers' bucket lists. Spending time in Dinosaur National Monument we learned early that even the less-known places are amazing. Wellington, Utah, is so far down the "known places" list I'm sure most people can't find it on the map. I'd certainly never heard of it. But a brochure at our last RV park for Nine Mile Canyon caught my eye. It was also a nice half-way stop between Vernal and Moab.

Although 45 miles long, the canyon is named for the initial nine mile survey done of the creek that runs here. 

Our first stop Saturday morning is the Christensen Ranch just inside the canyon. Built in 1896 by Don Junsten, the site served as a working cattle ranch as well as a freight stop along this main trade route. Tom Christensen purchased the property in 1945. Although the ranch maintains his name there is no information on his time here or the transfer to BLM.

Storage shed and two-room house.

Interior includes a faded paint wall and brick floors.

I love the rough planks of the corral.

I'm coming - don't leave without me!!
We find canyons always have something beautiful to look at, but this canyon is known as "the longest art gallery" due to its number of petroglyphs along the road. I fail to get a good interpretive map and the brochure we have is less than helpful with inaccurate mileage and no descriptions. In addition there are zero information plaques on the routes. When you come here be sure to stop at the VC and pick up a good map.

With few other vehicles, I'm able to stop on the road when we see a panel.

Some stories seem more clear than others.
Mother Nature competing for our attention.
Where Dr Seuss got his inspiration.

Snake or water chasing an interesting character.
Canyon cathedrals tower overhead.

The tufts along the top ridge are so thin they look more like the ruins of ancient walls.
Some are harder to catch.

We take a walk up a beautiful side canyon where the small clouds drop rain on us.
Our little detour rewards us with a few characters high on the wall.

The highlight of the drive is this well preserved panel known as The Great Hunt. Believed to be nearly 1000 years old, the story is protected by a large overhang.
If this were 3D you'd see the brown in front is a large overhang above the trail.

Each of the four panels look like they were drawn decades apart.

One of only a couple buffalo I've ever seen in rock art.

Another rare find for us are these fading drawings along the ground.

A lovely sunny meadow on our way home.

Fall colors in the high canyons remind us we were in New England last year, and the Eastern Sierras the year before. Life is good.
Sunday we hang out at home for our weekly football binge. A short trip for some groceries (a very nice Smith's) in the larger town of Price a few miles north is our only outing. 

Our Monday drive to Moab is an easy 110 miles south on Hwy 191. The red rock jumps out of the desert bottom and provides an almost formal entrance way into the little town of Moab, Utah. We've seen lots of pics, and like always, the real thing is so much better!

Our end site at OK RV Park has sweet views of the surrounding red hills as well as the towering Moab Ridge. Several permanents in very well maintained sites. Friendly staff. Level with 50 amp FHUs, a bit of green (mostly weeds) and a small tree, but we're only able to get three nights. At the Passport America rate of $19.50/night we are more than happy here.

Taken from the other side of the highway, our park is in those trees on the right.
The next morning we catch up with a couple of wonderful almost-Moabians for a special day in the red dirt.


  1. Utah has so many exciting and interesting places to stop and visit. You seem to have discovered many great places to check out.

    1. We have been looking forward to seeing Utah and all of it has lived up to the hype!

  2. I had not heard of 9-mile canyon! What a fantastic place, it's now on the ToDo list - Thanks so much! If you are catching up with Gay and Joe say "HI" for us.

    1. You'll love it - and get the good map!

      Said good-bye to Gay and Joe a couple days ago. Hopefully she'll see your "Hi" here!

  3. Nine Mile Canyon has been on my list for awhile. I think we need to make this trip in March. The Great Hunt panel is fantastic! It's tough for a white fluffy dog to stay white in red rock country. I think you may have a rose colored fluffy dog:)

    Moab is one of my all time favorite places!! So much to see and do while surrounded in beauty:) Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

    1. I thought after Moab that she's be a strawberry blonde but still just a little pink :-)) We would have loved more time in Moab but didn't plan well for the crowds this time of year. Enjoyed every second we got to be there! Joe and Gay took us into some beautiful country that was loads of fun.

  4. I've heard of Nine Mile Canyon but we've never been there -- seeing your photos, it's going on our must-visit-list. We love petroglyphs and those look amazing. The Great Hunt is fabulous! The sheep with their little feet all pointing the same direction always make me laugh. They look like they're wearing bedroom slippers. :-)) We've seen lots of petroglyphs, but I don't think I've ever seen a bison. Very cool discovery!

    1. It makes the perfect stop between Vernal and Moab, or even SLC and Moab. Love the slippers - you're so right!!

  5. LOVE your photos of the Nine Mile Canyon! Those are very interesting petroglyphs, and so many of them! Isn't UT awesome? :-)

    1. More awesome everyday.

      This is the first area of petroglyphs where we've seen such a variety. I need to read up on it more to see if they think it was different tribes or different eras.

  6. Love that picture of “the fluffy dog” hurrying to catch up. Seems odd that a BLM site would be named for someone and there’s no information on him or why. Thanks for the warning about picking up a map. This looks like a fabulous place for someone like me who really loves Petroglyphs and pictographs. Gorgeous scenery around them. The Great Hunt is spectacular. So glad to hear it has not been vandalized. So great to see Moab again and OK RV Park. I think everyone stays there. You are sure there at the right time. Fine planning!

    1. You would definitely love this canyon! There was some vandalism unfortunately, but minimal thank goodness. Signs are everywhere about turning in vandals. So sad.

      I really should have made reservations in Moab, but I'm very glad we came to Utah this time of year!!

  7. Nine mile has been on my list for a while. Great shots of the rock stories. So much to see around Moab. Pink fluffy dog looks happy to run.

  8. Looks like you found another great adventure!