McConkie Ranch -- Dry Fork Canyon Archaeological Site

The rock art around Vernal is unbelievable.  I've seen a lot of rock art in Utah, but the classic Vernal style is really distinct.  These images were created by the Fremont people around 800-1,200 years ago.  The figures tend to be trapezoid-shaped anthropomorphs with elaborate headdresses, necklaces, and earrings.  These figures seem a lot more war-like and foreboding than the southern Utah Anasazi rock art I'm used to.  Many of them are carrying shields and decapitated human heads.  Spooky, but really cool.

check out those feet!

After work at the Field House, two coworkers and I went to explore the rock art at the McConkie Ranch.  There are dozens of intricate, well-preserved panels carved and painted onto the cliff walls.  The images are located on private property, but thankfully everything is open to the public.  A rough trail runs along the edge of the cliffs below the rock art, and the three of us spent an hour or so gawking and speculating.  It's definitely some of the most impressive, distinct rock art I've seen in Utah.

Three Kings panel

To reach the ranch, drive to downtown Vernal and then get onto 500 North Street. Follow that street west to 3500 West Street. Turn north and follow 3500 West to the McConkie Ranch Road. It is about 6.4 miles from the 500 N/3500 W intersection to the ranch road turnoff. As you follow 3500 West it becomes the Dry Fork Canyon Road.  A sign clearly marks the turnoff to McConkie Ranch. Follow the McConkie Ranch Road for about 1/2 mile to the signed parking area. All these roads are paved.

From the parking area, the Main Trail is clearly marked and leads immediately up the cliff to the rock art. The 3 Kings Trail also begins at the parking area. You have to hike through ranch fields to get to the rock art along the 3 Kings Trail, but it is well worth the effort. Follow the trail markers over a fence and through fields, and then up the cliff to the rock art. Keep going until a sign indicates you have reached the trail's end. From that point you will have a clear view of the 3 Kings Panel.