Cave Spring and Roadside Ruin hikes

With the fall weather hiking is much more enjoyable. Today the temperature in the canyon was about 67 degrees and it was sunny, what more could you ask for? There were two short hikes we had wanted to do before leaving Utah so did them both.

The Cave Spring hike was a short half-mile circle but was one of the most interesting we have done. In the late 1800s pioneering cattlemen settled in this area. In 1926 as many as 10,000 head of cattle ranged throughout the needles district of Canyonlands. Cowboys stayed out on the open range with their cattle and lived in remote camps hidden under overhangs in the rock. These camps were used up until 1975 when cattle ranching was no longer allowed in the park.

Springs are rare in the desert so it was cool to see the natural spring coming out of the rock in the next alcove. This spring is year round and does not depend on run off from the winter snows. Way before the cowboys came along, approximately 950 CE, the ancestral Puebloan peoples settled in this area. There are pictographs on the walls near the cave spring. There are still descendants of these ancient people living in the area and this spring is considered a sacred place.

I love seeing these ancient drawings. The ones in this cave are pictographs, which are drawn on with stain instead of carved into the rock.
In the same cave are hand prints in the rock. It looks like there is powder here and that they aren’t old but looking closely when you are there you can see that the prints are ingrained in the rock. Pretty cool to see.

The topography on this trail is so varied in such a short hike. There is slickrock sandstone, stacked rock formations, sage brush and even prickly pear cactus gardens, a little of everything.

On the hike we encountered my nemesis……ladders!!!

Jump Bruce, Jump!!!!

Caves to explore…..

Wide open slickrock…..

Roadside Ruin Hike

This hike is even shorter than the Cave Spring hike. Here you hike to an ancient grain storage structure used by ancestral Puebloan-era peoples. Even though we call these structures “ruins”, today’s tribes don’t use that word as they say their ancestors in the spiritual world continue to use this place. Originally there would have been many of these structures in the area to store foraged seeds, roots and fruits. They also would have raised corn, beans, squash and cotton until the climate changed in the late 1200s which brought drought. With the drought some of the animals they hunted would have moved on so the people in this area then moved south to New Mexico and Arizona.

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