|Petroglyph Canyon and Spirit Arch
Length: 2 miles round trip
Description: There is a small but impressive panel of ancient Native American rock art in Petroglyph Canyon, plus other faded rock art images. In nearby Arch Canyon there are 3 arches in close proximity, creating quite a spectacular site. The trail is not strenuous, but it is not signed or maintained and so hikers need moderate route finding skills.
These two canyons are located just north of I-70, on the east edge of the San Rafael Swell. From the town of Green River, drive west on I-70 for 12 1/2 miles. Just west of mile marker 147 you'll see a graded road that heads north from the Interstate. Drive that road for .7 miles (closing the gate behind you). At the .7 mile point you'll see a track forking west (left) which leads to the start of the Pictograph Canyon hike. Travel down the track 1/4 mile and park under the cottonwood trees. The parking area is near the mouth of Box Spring Canyon. That canyon offers a short but scenic hike, with plenty of rocks to climb on. To get to Petroglyph and Arch canyons, from the parking area cross the wash and follow the obvious trail south into the next drainage.
About .6 miles from the parking area the trail drops down to the bottom of the wash, near the junction of Petroglyph and Arch. At the junction, Petroglyph is on the left and Arch Canyon is on the right. Both canyons are short and easy to hike. It doesn't matter which you do first.
At the top of Arch Canyon you'll find a massive dryfall, with a plunge pool below. Spirit arch is near the top of the canyon rim to the left of the dryfall. You can easily see it from several points along the trail. As you approach, you'll discover 2 more arches in the canyon wall just below Spirit. They are impressive. Sadly, from the canyon floor it is pretty much impossible to take a photo that shows all three together.
The impressive rock art panel is located about halfway up Petroglyph Canyon. It is on the right (west wall), as you face up canyon. A minor panel is located just down-canyon from that point, also on that west wall. The major panel is easy to find, just keep your eyes open as you hike the established trail. The minor panel is harder to find and the figures are faded. Just look along the wall as you hike back down the canyon.