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  

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

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash, is a wide-open rolling high desert, with low rocky bluffs studded with distant towering buttes. This road is well maintained and is generally a safe road to drive. The Buckhorn Wash portion of this route is especially scenic, with canyon walls rising many hundreds of feet above you, Native American rock art panels, a well-preserved dinosaur track and more! There are many side roads along this route, but the navigation of this road is easy-when in doubt, stay on the main road!

Mile 28.3 Mile 0
This is where the Cottonwood Wash Road intersects I-70 and heads north towards Buckhorn Wash.

Mile 26.2 Mile 2.1
This is a Sagebrush test area, used to study the effects of grazing by livestock. The western section of the enclosure was fenced off in 1937, while the eastern section was enclosed in 1961.

Sink Hole flat

Mile 23.3 Mile 5.0
You are at Sinkhole Flat, with the actual sinkhole surrounded by a circular log fence. The sinkhole is of little scenic value, and is included here only as a landmark.

Mile 10.8 Mile 17.5
Massive Window Blind Peak is to the east of the road, with the smaller Assembly Hall Peak to the north of Window Blind. Rising to an elevation of 7030 feet, it is the tallest free standing monolith in America, one of the largest in the world. It is called “Window Blind” because some of the rock formations near the top on Northeast side look like windows with the blinds closed. Assembly Hall was named for its resemblance to the original LDS assembly hall in Salt Lake City.

Mile 10 Mile 18.3

To the west, slender Bottleneck Peak rises to an elevation of 6401 feet.above sea level.

Mile 9.2 Mile 19.1
This is the bridge over the San Rafael River, and it is the boundary between Cottonwood Wash and Buckhorn Wash roads. Just to the south of the river is the San Rafael Recreation Area campground, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It offers many campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. There is no drinking water available. North of the river are many sandy primitive campsites under the cottonwood trees. The swinging bridge, located to the west, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 and was the only bridge over the river until the early 1990s. Though you can no longer drive on it, it is perfectly safe to walk on.

Mile 7.4 Mile 20.9
Calf, Cow and Pine Canyons enter from the East.

Mile 5.5 Mile 22.7
One of the highlights of the entire San Rafael Swell is the mysterious Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. There are some faint petroglyphs here, but the red pictograph figures are the stars of this site! The main panel was painted over 2,000 years ago by the Barrier Canyon culture. Learn more about the Barrier Canyon culture and how they made pictographs and petroglyphs. There is also a boulder with the names of the same CCC boys that built the swinging bridge over the San Rafael River carved into it. There is a pit toilet at this location.

Mile 4.2 Mile 24
On the sandstone ledge, about 40 feet above the road, is the Matt Warner inscription, dated Feb 17 1920. Matt was a very colorful outlaw that operated (on occasion with Butch Cassidy) from New Mexico to Washington State for over 18 years.  During that period, he frequented Green River, operating a saloon and brothel there.

Mile 2.3 Mile 25.9
There is a cattle guard here. Just south of the cattle guard is a parking area. Park there, and notice the trail heading to the east, up a steep hill. There is a large panel of petroglyphs at the end of this short trail.

Mile 2.1 Mile 26.1
To the east of the road a short distance is an interesting petroglyph. It can be hard to spot, so look for a series of bullet holes where some fool shot his initials (TKG) onto the cliff. Look left of those for a large, light colored crack running vertically. The petroglyph is just left of the crack.

Mile 1.6 Mile 26.6
A very clear and large dinosaur track can, with a little searching, be found here. On the east side of the road is a ledge of sandstone about 10 to 15 feet above the road. There are several paths up to the ledge. Once on top of the ledge, look for a larger flat area of bare sandstone at your feet. The footprint is on this large sandstone area, although you may have to move some flat rocks to uncover it. Visit the dinosaur pages within our site to learn more about other dinosaurs in Castle Country.

Mile 1.4 Mile 26.8
A short canyon is east of the road. There is an easy hike up the canyon.

Mile 0 Mile 28.3
You are at the intersection with the Green River Cutoff Road. West will take you to Castledale and Highway 10, east will lead you to US Highway 6

Location Of The Wash

The Parowan Gap

The Parowan Gap
Approximately 15 million years ago, a long slender section of sedimentary rock sheared from the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. This up-thrown block, later named the Red Hills, began to inch its way above the surrounding valley floor. At the same time the block was rising, a stream was cutting a path perpendicularly across the ridge. For millions of years the uplifting of the ridge and the down-cutting of the stream remained in equilibrium.
Eventually however, the relentless rise of the ridge and the drying of the region’s climate combined forces to defeat the stream. The stream disappeared and the valley became a waterless wind gap. Continued erosion by wind and rain have shaped the gap into the pass seen today.
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

The Parowan Gap Petroglyphs are listed on the National Register of Historic Places signifying its importance as a cultural treasure.
Fremont and Anasazi Indians were the first known inhabitants of Parowan. Petroglyphs, pithouses, arrowheads, pottery, and manos dating from A.D. 750 to 1250 found in the area are evidence that it was on a major thoroughfare of early Native Americans. At Parowan Gap, a natural mountain pass twelve miles (19 km) northwest of Parowan, ancient Indians inscribed petroglyphs on smooth-surfaced boulders that feature snakes, lizards, mouse-men, bear claws, and mountain sheep. In addition, the Old Spanish Trail also passed through the area.
Pioneer Wagon Grease Signature
The Parley Pratt Expedition discovered the petroglyphs at Parowan Gap in 1849.  The pass is a classic example of a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the mountain.  Native Americans and pioneers used this ancient gap for thousands of years to provide easy passage through the Red Hills. Pioneer wagon grease signatures can be observed along the towering walls of the Parowan gap narrows . The north wall of Parowan Gap contains a huge gallery of Native American rock art.  Most petroglyph sites contain figures of humans and animals.  This petroglyph site contains many deeply inscribed geometric forms, along with some humans and animals.
The most interesting feature of this site is a very large and deeply inscribed petroglyph known as the “Zipper”.  Many archaeologists believe the “Zipper” is a composite map (space) and numerical calendar (time). The gap is a superb “gallery” of petroglyphs that features a 1,000-year accumulation of Native American rock art.
Parowan Gap Small Cave - Interior Glyph and ceiling Soot Marks
Parowan Gap Caves

At the east entrance of the Parowan gap narrows are two caves one usually refered to as the “Small Cave” the other refered to the “Large” Cave. They both contain petroglyphs. Soot on their ceilings, from torches or fires, indicate they were once inhabited by Indians.
Parowan Gap Large Cave - Interior Glyph Panel
Carbon dating has shown that the caves were in use from 3000 to 400 BC.

Parowan Gap is known for its amazing petroglyphs (click here to see information about the petroglyphs) but the site also contains some interesting paleontological resources as well. Near the petroglyphs are dinosaur tracks made by ornithopods, ceratopsians and theropods. These tracks (natural casts) occur in the Iron Springs Formation* and are usually
in the fallen blocks of light yellow-brown sandstone. Some tracks do occur in place, but most are in the large fallen boulders, so check them first! Originally, these footprints were made in non-resistant mudstones which have since eroded away to expose the sandstone cast.
Visiting the gap is a perfect way to spend an interesting and breathtaking hour in Utah’s desert country.
Directional Map
You can get there from a gravel road from Parowan by going north on Main and turning left to 10.5 miles on the last street (400 North)
or from Cedar City, go north on Main (or take I-15 Exit 62, follow signs for UT 130 north 13.5 miles, then turn right 2 1/2 miles on a gravel road near Milepost 19.
For Additional Information Contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Cedar City Field Office
176 East D.L. Sargent Drive
Cedar City, Utah 84720
(435) 865-3053

City of Washington Dino Cliff’s – Dinosaur Tracks

City of Washington Dino Cliff's -  Track Site
About two dozen dinosaur tracks can be identified in this dry wash. It is very easy to get to and makes for a fun family outing.
Dinosaur tracks from the Moenave Formation are also found near Washington City north of St. George. They are exposed in the wash below a new city water tank. The water tank is visible from the freeway in the hills north of town,
The Dino Cliffs Trail is a singletrack route along the low red cliffs just north of Washington. The trail itself is short (1.8 miles), but you must ride dirt road to get there.
Washington City Tracksite
The easiest access is right off the new Washington Parkway I-15 exit.

Coordinates: 37°8’53″N   113°28’31″W

Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 3:52 AM  Comments Off on City of Washington Dino Cliff’s – Dinosaur Tracks  
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Save 10% on RedRock Back Country Adventures

Save 10% @ RedRock Backcountry Adventures

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm displays some of the oldest and best-preserved tracks in the world. Dinosaur tracks were discovered on the farm in February, 2000, and it has become quite an attraction. The site is in the early stages of scientific study – so far more than 1,000 tracks have been found within a 10-acre area. Most were made by Dilophosaurus-like creatures and are three-toed, 13-18 inches long. There are also some smaller tracks and researchers have identified skin prints and impressions made by tail drags and swimming movements.

The tracks were found in large slabs of sandstone from the Moenave Formation, dating back some 205 million years to the beginning of the dinosaur era. Residents tromped over that very sandstone for years, never realizing it sheltered such treasures. Nobody knew, until Dr. Sheldon Johnson flipped over a slab while trying to level his land. There, on the underside, the tracks were clearly visible.

Most of the tracks are actually “negative impression” casts that appear as bumps on the stone. The area was the bottom of an ancient freshwater lake in the center of the super-continent Pangea. Footprints left in the mud filled with silt and sand, and more sand was deposited over the top. The mixture eventually solidified into sandstone and mudstone, forming the casts. Now, when the slabs are flipped over, the casts appear, much like Jell-O popping out of a mold.

Dr. Johnson donated his land to the city of St. George and the U.S. Congress recently appropriated funds to help construct a science and visitor center. Volunteers do most of the work at the site.

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT

Small groups can just show up during open hours. Larger groups should schedule a tour.

It is easy to find. Take Exit 10 from I-15 onto 3050 East (Pineview Drive). Follow it south until it swings to the southwest and becomes Riverside Drive. Just continue driving until you reach the site, which is marked by a sign.

  • Open hours: 10 am until 6 pm
  • Days of operation: Monday through Saturday
  • Closed Sundays
  • Open every holiday except Christmas & Thanksgiving
  • Address: 2180 E. Riverside Drive
  • Phone: 435-574-DINO (3466)
  • To schedule tours or to volunteer, please contact Janice Evans, the Volunteer Coordinator
Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 6:45 PM  Comments Off on Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, UT  
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Dinosaur Tracksites and Fossil Trails in Utah

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trailhead, UT
Use this guide to locate dinosaur tracksites and trails in Utah. This information is not updated regularly; therefore some tracksites may not be on this list.
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm
2180 East Riverside
St. George, UT 84790
(435) 574-3466
Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm – Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Fees: Admission fees required, price varies depending on special exhibits. Please call for prices.
After several years of research and continual discovery, this site has evolved into a world-class dinosaur site that includes the rare combination of fossilized bones and footprints of dinosaurs and many other ancient animals.
When you visit, you will:
Walk through a ‘snapshot’ of a lake ecosystem from Early Jurassic time and observe fish, plants, and animal traces made by invertebrates and vertebrates. See over 2000 tracks made by at least several kinds of dinosaurs, ancient crocodylians, fish, and many other animals. See one of only two fossil tracks in the entire world made by a sitting theropod dinosaur.
See the largest single track block in any museum in the world. This block, weighing 52,000 lbs., has fourteen dinosaur trackways across its surface.
Moab Area Tracks and Trails
Moab Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
82 East Dogwood
Moab, UT 84532
Hours: Spring, Summer, Fall, as weather permits
Fees: None
Along this nature trail, which requires a moderate 1/2-mile hike, Morrison Formation dinosaur fossils and petrified wood may be seen in a natural setting. This outdoor museum is a bold experiment, where you, the visitor, are the protector of this valuable resource; collecting is not allowed. Only you assure that this fragile legacy is preserved so those who follow may see, learn, and enjoy. The trailhead is in Mill Canyon on a dirt road, accessible by passenger vehicle, off U.S. Highway 191, 13 miles north of Moab, Utah (near mile marker 141). For a brochure and map, contact the Moab BLM office listed above.
Sauropod Dinosaur Tracksite
Hours: Spring, Summer, Fall, as weather permits
Fees: None
This tracksite includes the first sauropod tracks reported in Utah. It is located in an exposure of the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation north of Moab, Utah. The sauropod tracks are seen making a sharp turn to the right, a phenomenon rarely observed in fossil trackways. They are associated with theropod tracks. There are no guards or fences here. You, the visitor, are the protector of this valuable resource. The site may be reached by a 2-wheel drive dirt road off U.S. Highway 191, 23 miles north of Moab. For more information contact the Moab BLM office listed above.
Potash Road Dinosaur Tracks
Hours: Year-round access
Fees: None
Dinosaur tracks may be seen along the Potash Road Scenic Byway, State Highway 279, which follows the Colorado River south of Moab. The tracks are located approximately 4.5 miles along the road from its junction with Highway 191, which is 4 miles north of Moab. The tracks are visible from the road and a spotting scope is available. For better viewing, binoculars are useful, or you may hike directly up to the tracksite.
Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackways
Red Fleet State Park
8750 North Hwy. 191
Vernal, Utah 84078-7801
Hours: Park open daily, year round
Fees: Yes
Move than 200 tracks of two different types of dinosaurs are exposed along the shoreline of Red Fleet Reservoir, 10 miles north of Vernal, Utah, just off U.S. Highway 191. The tracksite may be reached by boat, or by a two mile round-trip hike. The tracks could be covered by snow in the winter or covered by water during spring runoff.
c/o St. George Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, Utah 84790
435.688.3252 fax
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:45 a.m. to 5:00p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks, UT
Hours: Year round as weather permits (road impassable when wet)
Fees: Suggested donation of $1.00
The trackways from two different types of dinosaurs may be seen at this site in Warner Valley, southwest of St. George, Utah. This dirt road also takes the traveler to the historic site of Fort Pearce. The route is signed, but for specific directions, contact the BLM St. George Field Office. A short trail leads to the trackways and an information sign.
Washington City Tracksite
Hours: Year round as weather permits
Fees: Suggested donation of $1.00
Dinosaur tracks from the Moenave Formation are also found near Washington City north of St. George. They are exposed in the wash below a new city water tank. The pink water tank is visible from the freeway in the hills north of town, but exact directions are also available at the St. George BLM office listed above.
710 North Reservoir Road
Escalante, UT 84726
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (summer) 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (winter) open year-round, closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Fees: Yes
A 1.5-mile long trail at this state park takes the visitor past a colorful array of petrified wood. A Visitors Center and “petrified rock garden” have fine examples of the Morrison Formation’s dinosaur bones, petrified wood, and other fossils. The park also features a reservoir and overnight camping.

Natural Bridges National Monument – Dinosaur Petroglyph’s


Images Pending
Natural Bridges National Monument is located in a desolate area in southeastern Utah, where the White River Canyon cuts entrenched runs through the sandstone rock. Three natural bridges have been formed here some of the largest in the world.
Sipapu Bridge is the first natural bridge you encounter as you travel the counterclockwise one-way drive into the Monument. It is the second largest natural bridge in the world.
Kachina Bridge is the second bridge, and is the least eroded of the three, with a sizeable, thick span. The third bridge, Owachomo Bridge, is considered the “oldest” in terms of the amount of erosion underneath the span. The bridge across the top is quite thin in comparison to the other two.
within this park is believed to be an Indian petroglyph’s depicting various dinosaurs at the bottom of the bridge.
In addition there were three more that we believe are depictions of dinosaurs. Two of the petroglyph’s are believed to be  sauropod dinosaurs, and the other two it could be argued that they look like the Monoclonius or Triceratops with a nose horn and skull frill.
It is believed that the second sauropod dinosaur petroglyph to be immediately to the right of the first, with its head turned back and its tail going underneath the neck of the first.

The trail to Kachina Bridge is 1.5 miles round trip and a descent of 500 feet into the canyon. You will approach the natural bridge and notice a guest book directly underneath the bridge to the right of the span. When we were there, the river was dry except for a few puddles. The two sauropod petroglyphs were on the right hand side of the bridge about ten feet up and twenty feet to the left of the guest book. BRING LOTS OF WATER.

The Monoclonius petroglyphs were on the other side of the bridge about six feet up from the rock ledge in front. The two petroglyphs in question are connected by a wavy line. Petroglyphs and pictographs were very numerous, and to the left side of the bridge was a small ruin.
One should be careful not to consider these petroglyphs as being more than class B evidence. Certainly we creationists can come the conclusion that the Indians were depicting animals they were familiar with and knew first-hand. Others might say that these are creatures of an Indian’s imagination, drawn while he was high on peyote, or, like what some evolutionists suggest about dragon legends, that they are vestigial rememberances passed down from our tree shrew ancestors. The horned dinosaur petroglyph could be interpreted as rhinoceros. These petroglyphs were fun to find and look at. We could suggest a more serious study of them that would analyze the patina of the artwork to see if the amount of weathering corresponded to similar petroglyphs in the area. But we could see that by visual inspection. According to several books we found on the subject, many such depictions of extinct animals like these exist in Southwest Indian art.  Some believe that the horned dinosaurs Triceratops and Monoclonius were the biblical Rheem, often translated as unicorn or wild ox. He speculates that these creatures may have been mammal-like and related to the rhinoceros. We hope that by calling attention to these petroglyphs that we are not risking the possibility that someone might attempt to destroy them. Please keep in mind that these are valuable antiquities, and the National Park Service has stiff fines in place for those who might deface these petroglyphs.

The Monument is about 40 miles west of Blanding, Utah on state road 95, and about 40 miles north of Mexican Hat, Utah. If you approach from Mexican Hat, be aware that state road 261 turns to dirt and climbs a thousand foot cliff in a series of precarious switchbacks. It is not recommended for large trucks or RV’s in either direction.



Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 6:20 PM  Comments Off on Natural Bridges National Monument – Dinosaur Petroglyph’s  
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