Southwest Backcountry


This Page is no longer updated although additional information on new locations can be located here

Welcome to Southwest Backcountry designed to be an informative source for those who enjoy camping, hiking, exploration and appreciate the beauty and history of the west.   This site was established to be an informational source depicting images, maps and information about this country’s National Parks & Monuments, National Forests & Wilderness Areas,  Ghost Towns & Anasazi Ruins as well as the State Parks and other protected landmarks in Southwestern Utah , Northern Arizona, South Eastern Nevada and the western states for further information on these destinations go HERE.  Please return often as it is our intent to update this on a regular basis as we travel to new locations.  Please note before heading out be prepared, please review the information provided HERE for tips on prepardness and historical information that will assist you in making your trip a safe and enjoyable one.

Thank You For Visiting,

Copyright: Most of the images depicted upon this site are copyrighted and not licensed for use without written permission from myself, historical images are copyrighted to their respective owners.

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Updated Links

This Blog is no longer updated on a regular basis to provide for my time writing and the exploration of our great west. Please if you are new make sure to go through the individual content posted here. This blog contains areas highlighted and guaranteed to provide you and your family with endless adventure. If you need additional resources I am sure that you will find these links below more than helpful.


Please check out my book during it’s upcoming release!book/c65q

Or check out my online social pages

Past Posts related to this page





Published in: on December 10, 2015 at 7:32 PM  Comments Off on Updated Links  

Moab & The Four Corners

Moab & The Four Corners

Some of the areas highlighted in this book are:

House On fire Ruins

Sego Canyon Petroglyphs

Canyonlands-Needles District

Salmon Ruins

Newspaper Rock

Hovenweep National Monument

Mule Canyon Cave Tower Ruins

Sand Island Petroglyphs

Monument Valley


Cisco Ghost Town

Halfway Stage Station Ruins

Mill Creek Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Edge of Cedars State Park

Mule Canyon Roadside Ruins

Trail of The Ancients National Scenic Byway

Butler Wash & Mule Canyon Indian Ruins

Bridges National Monument

Grand Gulch Primitive Area

Four Corners Monument

Three Kiva Pueblo

Gooseneck State Park

Valley of The Gods

Coronado State Monument Kuana Ruins

Canyon of The Ancients

Horseshoe canyon

Anasazi Indian Village State Historical Monument

Ute Mountain Tribal Park

Mesa Verde

Published in: on September 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM  Comments Off on Moab & The Four Corners  
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New Book – Backroad Excursions – Exploring the 4 corners region

Backroad Excursions   Blurb Books

Purchase here

Thinking of a visit to Moab or the Four Corners Region?  Interested in exploring ruins and petroglyph’s which were created by prehistoric Indians as early as 1200 AD? Maybe explore the remains of an abandoned ghost town  or walk the path of no extinct dinosaurs viewing their petrified remains embedded within a rock wall?  Then this guide is for you, it features directions and images that will provide you and your family with hours of enjoyment through out your stay.

  • The Beautiful House on Fire Ruins
  • Three Castle Kiva
  • Mill Creek Dinosaur Grave Yard
  • Cisco Ghost Town
  • Sego Canyon Petroglyph’s
  • Monument Valley
  • The Canyonlands
  • Newspaper Rock

Just to name a few each description  provided comes with easy to read directions and images to assist you and your family in getting the most out of your visit to the Four Corners region.  Each one child friendly and most handicap accessible, purchase and download the ebook the information is as easily accessible as your cellular phone


Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM  Comments Off on New Book – Backroad Excursions – Exploring the 4 corners region  

Four Corners Excursions

Four Corners Excursions

Personalized and Custom Tours :

Interested in exploring an abandoned ghost town standing silent after decades of desertion, How about visiting Anasazi archeological ruins of these Native American cultures that existed from about 1200 BC ?. Experience the artistic expression of the Native American displayed in the forms of petroglyphs and pictographs describing a ancient world no longer present ,Touching and experiencing a life past by prehistoric dinosaur from million’s of years past. More information can be obtained here…

Hiking Tours of featuring the four corners region available April-October. Cost is based on amenities desired, hotel packages available as well as catering if requested.



Day trips, weekend trips and a 2 party minimum, 1/2 payment required upon scheduling. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.



Tour the Ancestral Puebloan Anasazi ruins in Cedar Mesa, Butler Wash and others. Petroglyph tours are also available in Moab, Monument Valley, Thompson Springs, Canyonlands and other locations. I am CPR and First Aid Certified as a precaution I do carry a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger to alert the proper authorities in case of an emergency and no wireless signal is available.



For more info contact me at



Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM  Comments Off on Four Corners Excursions  

Unmet Friend To Bill Kettler written by Phill Randall

Unmet Friend,

by Phill Randall on Wednesday, 9 January 2013 at 16:36 ·

Came from the same mold him and I,

Reckon they threw it away after that day,

Not many can say two are one of a kind,

Two were friends and uncorse words we never say,

Agree on most things we were taught,

Didn’t listen to most cause we knew,

Back then when it all ment alot,

We agree on the things that were new,

Travels we have never seen on the same line,

Seen em all I guess we can say,

But we both know the places left by time,

Been there and seen em, we left it lay,

Shook a hand of many but not ours,

Maybe past each other on some trail,

If we did, I doubt it was in any cars,

Guessen we told our storys, never told a tale,

Sat by a fire and ponder we have not,

Poured coffee in a cup yet to be seen,

Probley cured the worlds problems,

Of course in a way that isn’t so mean,

Been accused of brothers to the core,

Think alike in most cases unlike some,

One fear we don’t have is a closed door,

When one hears family mentioned with out name,

Brothers of most so we might contend,

We’ve been them, an unspoked fame,

For us we agree, brothers to each, unmet friend,,

Phill Randall,



Thank you to my brother closer than kin Phill I will always have your back!

Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 9:55 PM  Comments Off on Unmet Friend To Bill Kettler written by Phill Randall  

Expanded Functionality of this Blog

Several Changes have taken place to expand the functionality and your access to the information contained within this blog.

1) A downloadable app for the I Phone & Android so while you are hiking or driving you have the information and images at your fingertips.   Download Here


2) We have set up a new website FOUR CORNERS EXCURSIONS.COM  or to be exact or those of you viewing this on a smart phone can go with QR readers can scan here:


As usual you can still follow us on our new Facebook @

our sister blog  Hiking The Southwest

and last highlighting the photography and still under development @ Southwest Photography by Bill Kettler

Any further updates will be published as they come along

Falling Man Petroglyph Site, Whitney Pocket, NV

Falling Man Petroglyph Site, Whitney Pocket, NV

Rock art “is abstract, and made by prehistoric hunter-gatherers some 1200 years ago. The images are symbolic, and even though archaeologists can’t interpret most of them, they still had meaning for the migratory people who once lived here.” The images may have functioned as territorial markers, as ways of telling stories and documenting events such as the falling man.
Once this area was covered with archeological features such as agave roasting pits and a prehistoric campsites although now only the petroglyph’s remain.

Falling Man Rock Art Site

Falling Man Trail head     Latitude 36.51166       Longitude  114.18454
Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 2:51 AM  Comments Off on Falling Man Petroglyph Site, Whitney Pocket, NV  
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For those newcomers to our lovely desert and for those of you who have forgotten them, here are some basic tips for dealing with the heat, traveling and your car.

Service your car often: Do not use my former mechanic! Do have the oil changed frequently, check the belts and keep an eye on your battery. Make sure your car’s bodily fluids are full.

Items you should have in your car:
If you are not used to living in a hot climate, these are must-have items in your car.

  • Extra water. Even if you are just going to the mall, make sure you have water for everyone in your car. Think “what if?” Heat sick is not pleasant, trust me. Being even slightly dehydrated can make you feel awful. If you are thirsty, you are becoming dehydrated. A simple drive to Las Vegas can become deadly if you are stuck four miles behind an accident that has closed the road and you have no water.
    **Don’t forget extra water for your car. Pick up one of those cases of water at the market or CostCo.
  • Seat cover: Use something like a towel to cover the seat if you don’t have seat covers. Leather seats can be “dangerous” when they have been closed up in 110 degree heat for a couple of hours. You really don’t want to sit on them. Besides, towels can be good for sticky hands and for collecting crumbs, and are easily thrown in the wash. I use towels over my seat cover — an extra set of seat protection.
  • Steering wheel cover: Use a cloth cover (not leather). Leather gets too hot. Hot steering wheels cannot be held safely so protect it and your hands.
  • Snacks: Granola bars or small bags of crackers. Again, have on hand “just in case.” Forget the ones that will melt. No chocolate chips or cheese.
  • Cell phone: Call someone if you get lost or get into trouble. Don’t be brave and/or stupid and try to walk for help. Heat can kill.
  • First-aid kit: Items you should consider include ice packs, ace bandages, wrist brace, sunscreen, tweezers, x-acto blade, batteries, (girl stuff) and various meds like Benadryl or Motrin.
  • Emergency kit: Items you should consider include a flashlight, flares, jumper cables, blanket, extra clothes and gloves, paper towels and some basic tools such as wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers. A tow strap and/or rope is also a good idea.
  • Sunshades: This may seem like a no-brainer but use those handy-dandy sunshades to shade your windshield. Those can really mitigate high temps inside your vehicle. Your dashboard doesn’t like the sun or heat so a sunshade will help keep it from cracking and fading.

Items you should NOT have in your car:

  • Anything packaged under pressure: Hair spray or sodas. They will go boom big time. Canned air is also a no-no — you photographers out there. It is dangerous, as one of my photographer friends found out — the hard way.
  • Tapes, CDs or DVDs.
  • Sunscreen in a bottle or tube: Buy little packets or towelettes. I had a tube of sunscreen in the car so I could always have it handy. Opened it up the other day and ka-woosh — sunscreen everywhere. Now it goes in a go-bag of “stuff I need in the car everyday but don’t want to leave in the car.”
  • Crayons, candy, gum, lipstick: You might think this is another no-brainer ladies — or guys who like lipstick. But I have ruined more lipsticks that I can shake a stick at because I forgot it was getting hot. And a melted Chapstick makes a sticky mess.
  • Credit cards or other cards with magnetic strips on plastic: They really do melt into weird shapes and will not fit into the ATM machine.
    ** After shopping, check your trunk (or cargo area) carefully to make sure nothing has fallen out of the grocery bags: You really don’t want to find those eggs or that salami a week later. Or even the next day when the forgotten items are frozen bags of fruit for your smoothies.
Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 11:55 PM  Comments Off on HEAT AND SAFETY  

Cave Valley, UT

Ghost Rock

Feature Name: Cave Valley
County: Washington County
Latitude: 37.32637
Longitude: -113.1091119

Feature Name: Cave ValleyCategory: Utah physical, cultural and historic featuresFeature Type: PhysicalClass: ValleyCounty: Washington CountyLatitude: 37.32637Longitude: -113.1091119

Cave Valley, UT

Cave Valley Pictographs – These are some of the best in Zion and are found along the Kolob Terrace Road. Again this rock art is protected and are settled among federal and private property lines ask at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for directions.

Entrance to Large Cave

Cave Canyon in the Kolob Terrace is a remote site with nice rock art. There are also the well-known and protected Parunuweap ruins, but again, a park ranger needs to be contacted for more information and most of the sites are off limits to all but research personnel.

How to make Wood Charcoal in the Wilderness

Lump Wood Charcoal

How to make Wood Charcoal in the Wilderness
a. Let wood age for 6 months.
b. Cut wood evenly and place in a fire and keep turning it so that it burns evenly.
c. Burn until you can just poke a stick into it and or break a piece by striking it with a shovel.
d. Remove it from the fire and place it into the ground and cover it up until there is no smoke coming from it.
e. Let it remain there for about 2 weeks
f. Crush to size.
Note: I have made charcoal this way many times, and you can speed thing up and let it sit for 1 day in the ground and still have  Success.
Why Charcoal?
There are many uses for charcoal.
1. You can cook with it and it will burn better and hotter then wood.
2. You can use it to clean your water and make a water filter or to make sweet water. If your water is a little skunky boil water with 2 pieses of charcoal for about 15 min to remove the smell.
3. You can use it to help stop poisoning. For instance if you eat something by mistake that would kill you and their was nothing you could do to stop it, just take 2 teaspoon full’s and eat it three times a day. The poison will be absorbed into the charcoal and just may save your life.
4. Charcoal is one of the main parts of black powder as well as other things.
5. It also can be used as a top dressing on a wound to absorb infection.
6. Can be used to add Potassium to the soil and raze the ph levels as well.
7. Can be mixed with white ash for a cleaner and soaps.
This is just some things that charcoal is used for and is very important to your survival
Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 3:08 PM  Comments Off on How to make Wood Charcoal in the Wilderness  
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