Salt Creek and the Birdcage Panel

Udink

Just enjoy the ride.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,491
February 28-March 1, 2020

This trip happened all because a friend of an acquaintance asked me to help him find a rock art panel in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. I always enjoy that sort of challenge, and so after sleuthing on the internet and gleaning the location of the pictographs, I decided to visit the panel myself. I'd never been to the Needles District and figured Salt Creek would be a good introduction to the area. I invited Chris and he met me at my house on Friday afternoon, and by that evening we'd found a camp spot just off UT-211 near Hart's Draw. We had a camp fire and ate dinner while listening to one of our favorite bands, the Fruit Bats, when I decided to use my phone to look at their concert schedule. They were playing in Salt Lake City in August so I bought tickets on the spot, but the concert eventually got canceled due to COVID. :( But, they'll be back in Utah this September! :) It was quite cold during the night and there were even a few spots of lingering snow on the ground, but we still slept on cots under the stars. We were awake early the next morning, made a quick stop at Newspaper Rock, and then entered the park and got to hikin' up Salt Creek.


Early morning at camp near Hart's Draw


Two-track leading back to UT-211


Newspaper Rock petroglyphs


Newspaper Rock petroglyphs



The hike started out with perfect conditions--hiking along a closed road in deep sand. Ugh. We strayed from the road a few times to inspect cliffs or ledges that looked interesting, but didn't find anything of interest. Other portions of the road were actually pleasant to walk on, with damp, almost frozen sand, and some pools of water that were easily avoidable.


Entering Salt Creek


Sand slog down the closed road


Trail through the crypto


Examining an overhang


Water with a thin layer of ice on the road



After a few miles of walking we came across our first rock art. There were white Fremont pictographs superimposed on some older Barrier Canyon Style pictos in red. Nearby were some reverse handprints in white and several large but faint circles.


White shield figures


Large BCS picto behind more recent white pictos


Interesting red/reverse handprint pictograph


Arch at Peekaboo Spring


Stylized handprint pictographs


High pictographs near Peekaboo Spring


High pictographs near Peekaboo Spring



We hiked some more, including a couple of explorations off the main canyon, and arrived at our goal, the Flying Carpet Panel. With some more exploring outside Salt Creek proper we found a couple of other panels that I wasn't expecting--just icing on the cake of an already good day.


Unusual (probably BCS) pictograph


Exploring past Peekaboo Spring


Sarlacc mouth


Flying Carpet panel in harsh sunlight


More pictographs near Flying Carpet


Three small figures near Flying Carpet


Stacked rocks in a large crack


More pictographs


White diamond pattern



The return hike wasn't bad at first, at least not until Chris and I reached the dry sand slog. It wouldn't be a true wilderness experience if we didn't find a mylar balloon, which we did! We spotted some bicycle tracks in the sand that hadn't been there in the morning, and it looked like (presumably) he had a difficult time riding in the sand. Back at the trailhead there was a Tundra with a bike rack on the back, and Colorado license plates. I'm not sure bikes are legal on that road but, oh well, good for him I guess. It looked like he went up Horse Canyon, so he probably saw some pretty cool stuff there.


I don't know what this plant is, but I thought it looked cool


Happy birthday!


Salt Creek and Horse Canyon junction sign


Fatbike tracks on the road


Sandy slog back to the trailhead


The fatbike dude struggled a lot



We clocked 10.7 miles for the day and still had enough energy to hike most of the Cave Spring loop. And even after leaving Canyonlands, we visited some rock art and ruins near Indian Creek that about took it all outta me, but was well worth the effort.


10.7 miles on the trip odometer


Cave Spring cowboy camp


Cave Spring reverse handprint pictographs


Cave Spring pictograph


Cave Spring handprint pictographs


Ladder on the Cave Spring trail


Petroglyph near Indian Creek


Petroglyph near Indian Creek


Pretty potsherd


Badly weathered rock art


Two-story ruin


Ruins from below


Potsherd with fingerprints



We found a place to camp not far from where we'd slept the previous evening. On Sunday morning we visited the Birdcage Panel, which a friend had told me about. We also explored a couple of other alcoves in the area and found some signs of habitation but no more rock art.


At camp on Saturday evening


Sunday morning at camp


La Sal Mountains


Large alcove with pictographs


Birdcage panel


Many turkey track petroglyphs


Great BCS pictos


Thin man


Red and white pictograph


Faded red and purple picto


Exploring another nearby alcove


Broken metate


Grooves in the sandstone


Large worked tool



We still had plenty of time to get home so we took a detour to Hatch Point to see the view from the Needles Overlook. From there we could see some of the country we'd hiked a day earlier. We also stopped at Eightmile Rock which, despite being on BLM land, appears to have been inhabited by some livestock herders. I wasn't really expecting to see much there, but there were "houses" built into the sandstone, saddles and gear ready for a ride, and even a cat inside one of the residences. It slowly dawned on us (idiots) that we were encroaching on somebody's home (however legal it may be) and felt uncomfortable enough to get outta there.


There's a camera somewhere behind this sign


The Henry Mountains almost 70 miles distant


South and North Six-shooter Peaks viewed from the Needles Overlook


Spire below the Needles Overlook


View past Junction Butte to Cleopatra's Chair far in the distance


Cave houses at Eightmile Rock


Saddles and gear


Cat in one of the cave houses



With still yet more time before we needed to be home, we made one final stop near Crescent Junction to search for an 1837 inscription. I read about it in a book and had looked for it two other times, but we came up empty this time as well.


Mouth of Crescent Canyon



Full Photo Gallery: Salt Creek and the Birdcage Panel
 

Titans

Member
.
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
1,137
Very nice, you saw lots of rock art that weekend! Cool. Did you see any feline tracks?
When the road is closed to 4WD vehicles (as it has been for a quiet a while), then the road is also closed to bikes. That’s what we were told, we asked. We also saw bike tire marks deep into Horse Canyon last fall. A guy asked at the visitor center, was told no and apparently did it anyway. The rangers do check the parking lot throughout the day.
 

Udink

Just enjoy the ride.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,491
Very nice, you saw lots of rock art that weekend! Cool. Did you see any feline tracks?
When the road is closed to 4WD vehicles (as it has been for a quiet a while), then the road is also closed to bikes. That’s what we were told, we asked. We also saw bike tire marks deep into Horse Canyon last fall. A guy asked at the visitor center, was told no and apparently did it anyway. The rangers do check the parking lot throughout the day.
No, didn't see any feline tracks. I only saw four other people in Salt Creek the entire day--one guy at Peekaboo Spring, then a family of three just doing a short hike from the parking area when we arrived back there in the afternoon.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,413
I really like the sarlacc interpretation of that petroglyph. Lots of really cool stuff you saw!
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
629
I have a pretty good idea of owns the Tundra. It’s possibly who runs a particular website.
Love the TR and hope to get out there soon. I want to find that ruin!
 

Udink

Just enjoy the ride.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,491
I have a pretty good idea of owns the Tundra. It’s possibly who runs a particular website.
Love the TR and hope to get out there soon. I want to find that ruin!
Hah--I know who you're talking about, but this Tundra wasn't blue. :) I would probably leave a not-so-nice note if I saw that blue truck at a trailhead.
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
629
Hah--I know who you're talking about, but this Tundra wasn't blue. :) I would probably leave a not-so-nice note if I saw that blue truck at a trailhead.
Hmmmmmm..... I guess I don’t know then.
In fairness I have used their website for trailhead finding but after that if I use their reports it’s only the pictures and not the other stuff that’s posted.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Laura V. Four Days in Salt Creek Canyon, April 2021 Backpacking 31
Laura V. Bears in Salt Creek Canyon, Canyonlands Trip Planning 76
P Salt Creek water Backpacking 2
P West fork of Salt Creek? Trip Planning 4
TrektheWorld Salt Creek or other Utah Backpack Meet Up (Members Only) 2
TrektheWorld Salt Creek - Needles or other options in the Utah desert Trip Planning 4
P Salt creek in Canyonlands Trip Planning 13
T Salt Creek Trip Planning 10
dhertbag Salt Creek Canyon Info Trip Planning 2
M Water in Canyonlands Salt Creek early April? Trip Planning 11
Smaugxxx Salt Creek & Bear Box Gear 0
C salt creek canyon feedback Trip Planning 10
Curt Another Salt Creek Canyon Report Backpacking 12
steve Video: Salt Creek Canyon - Memorial Day 2015 Backpacking 2
steve Invite Salt Creek Backpacking Trip May 22-26 Meet Up (Members Only) 4
ogdendude Upper Salt Creek Canyon, again Backpacking 5
Mullet Help with salt creek planning Trip Planning 13
Nick Salt Creek, Canyonlands Backpacking 54
LoriB Salt Creek...AGAIN!!! Trip Planning 1
IntrepidXJ Salt Creek Canyon Backpacking 25
Daryl Yarbrough Salt Creek, Lost Canyon and Chesler Loop Trip Planning 3
JackBurns Salt Creek Aug 2013 Hiking & Camping 8
NateGeesaman Salt Creek May 2013 Backpacking 26
LoriB Salt Creek, Utah Backpacking 5
LoriB Salt Creek Trip Planning 9
Yvonne Salt Creek canyon June 2012 Backpacking 2
pstm13 Upper Salt Creek Backpacking 16
slc_dan Lower Salt Creek/Paul Bunyan's Potty Backpacking 11
slc_dan Salt Creek/Angel Arch March 15-17 Trip Planning 5
pstm13 Upper Salt Creek Canyonlands Trip Planning 3
Dave Salt Creek road appeal General Discussion 11
IntrepidXJ Salt Creek Exploring & The Drive Home Hiking & Camping 3
Nick Salt Creek Bears General Discussion 3
Yvonne Salt Creek Canyon June 2012 Trip Planning 4
R Salt Creek - All American Man Trip Planning 28
regehr funky salt formations near GSL State Park Trip Planning 1
Perry 5.7 mag Earthquake in Salt Lake City Area - Check in Here to Let Us Know You're Okay General Discussion 44
LarryBoy Salt Lake County Lowest to Highest - Or Not Backpacking 15
flynne New From the Salt Lake Valley Noobs: Introduce yourself! 6
Coomba Ogden/Salt Lake area General Discussion 3
gnwatts NPR 1A show in Salt Lake General Discussion 0
Nick Invite BCP BBQ in Salt Lake area this weekend! Meet Up (Members Only) 61
Nick Monument Rally in Salt Lake this Saturday General Discussion 2
George_Washington_Hayduke Hello from Salt Lake City Noobs: Introduce yourself! 1
someguy Rob Bishop to speak with Salt Lake Tribune about Public Lands General Discussion 0
Joey Invite Beer Night in Salt Lake City, Friday December 11th. Meet Up (Members Only) 44
hatchcanyon Salt Wash Road Off Road 0
Bridgette Hi from a Salt Laker Noobs: Introduce yourself! 5
Illuminations2k Hello from Salt Lake City! Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
B Backpack from Salt Lake City to Midway Trip Planning 5

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top