Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arch Canyon Walnut Knob

The trailhead area for the Arch Canyon Trail is 2.5 miles north along the BLM road that is just west of Comb Ridge along Utah Scenic Route 95. This area is west of Blanding in southeast Utah. Walnut Knob is visible from the parking area high to the south. There isn’t a marked trail but the sandstone slope is walkable all the way up.

The Arch Canyon Trail leads 8 miles to two large arches, Cathedral and Angel. There are also several Ancestral Pueblo ruins sites to find, including the large Arch Canyons ruins that are only a short walk down the trail. This trailhead is also a starting point for a hike to Hotel Rock along the north rim of Arch Canyon.
Walnut Knob is known as a petroglyph site, but there is some rubble on the top of the large boulder and around the sides, making it look like a ruins site also. Boulder based ruin sites like this are common in the Canyons of the Ancients area in southwest Colorado.
There are three panels to view. The most eye catching shows what appears to be a large shield with an array of mountain sheep, horses with riders, and some feet prints. I arrived in mid afternoon as the sun was sweeping across the figures.
From this elevated position there are good views, particularly toward the north end of Comb Ridge. To the lower left of the shield figure, there is an interesting horned humanoid figure. There is a spiral in the lower left The Walnut Knob climb is about 200 feet above the canyon floor area. From above, it looks like a road goes past, but the access is confusing due to the Ute Land, No Trespassing signs along the BLM road.
The panel to the right of the main panel also appears to show a shield with several animal figures. The third panel to the left has a few good figures but also has some modern graffiti.
On the return hike I noticed a fairly large rubble pile ruins site that overlooks the creek at the beginning of the Arch Canyon Trail. Every hiker and driver heading up Arch Canyon walks directly below this site. The location is interesting as it has a direct line of site with the Walnut Knob site and is only a few minutes walk from the large Arch Canyon ruins site.

There is one spot where some of the wall structure is still visible. The overall shape appears to be circular, possibly a large diameter tower.
It is possible to find a view point where the rubble pile ruins, the Walnut Knob, and the Arch Canyon creek are in the same view. My hike to the Walnut Knob took 1:10 hours on a 68 F degree early May afternoon.

528614_Cool Camo Russell Outdoors

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