Exploring 9 Mile Canyon

I only live about 1.5 hours from the Wellington start of 9 Mile Canyon. In fact, I have family in the Price and beyond area, and despite driving passed the turnoff more times than I can count, I had never actually delved into the canyon.

After a random day of deciding we were going to Dinosaur National Monument, and hitting up McKonkie Ranch in Vernal, out of pure curiosity, my sister and I became, what I would like to call, obsessed with petroglyphs. I can’t believe we have lived in this state for so long and never delved into these amazing pieces of history. (We also only visited our first National Park in 2017, which awakened the sleeping adventure beast.)

So after seeing what Dinosaur National Monument and McConkie Ranch had to offer, I started googling for areas close to me that I could see more petroglyphs. My googling brought me to this super amazing comprehensive guide to 9 Mile Canyon. My sister has a Jeep Wrangler and there were only a few excursions a Jeep was needed, otherwise it’s pretty smooth sailing and you can easily do this adventure in a car.

We planned to be out all day, and we were. Fed the fur babies in the morning, took the 1.5 hour drive to Wellington, Utah, did our full day, got home in time to feed the fur babies a slightly late dinner. We definitely did our fair share of exploring out of the Jeep, so it may be shorter or longer for you, depending on your exploration level. We were prepared and packed a cooler lunch, as well as a few extra bottles of water to refill Camelbaks if needed.

This was one of our first stops along the drive and we were already in awe at what met us. We were about to have our minds blown as we further explored this Canyon.

I really wish I could remember which stop it was that we encountered a group of anthropologists/archaeologists and students. They were excavating on a hillside and when we passed them on our mini hike to see what was in the area, they were really friendly and invited us over and started telling us about the Fremont, the history in the area, and what they were working on. It was a really nice addition to our day’s adventure.

We stopped in the wonderfully named Daddy Complex Canyon to eat some lunch. There are bathrooms here as well as a small covered picnic area. We grabbed our water packs and hit the trail here, exploring up and down the dried creek, looking carefully to the smooth surfaces of the cliffsides around us. We spotted many a petroglyph on this hiking excursion, which was really cool to get close to. We also found this little oasis after a steep and risky hike. Worth it to us, but be careful out there and know your abilities 🙂

There were a few instances, as per the guide’s advice, that we stopped off on the side of the road and checked out what the area had to offer. We saw so many petroglyphs that we would have otherwise missed, had we just slowly driven by.

There is, of course, The Great Hunt Panel on this trip. This has even been featured in National Geographic Magazine, I believe more than once. It is a beautiful panel with a tourist parking area, as well as a kiosk of info.

We also started to take a road that was a G O R G E O U S drive, but we were hit with a private property sign and decided it was in our best interest to turn around. We didn’t want to be hit with a trespassing ticket. It was unfortunate because the scenery was prime.

I think my favorite part of the day trip was exploring in Daddy Canyon. Here are a few more photos of that adventure. Click to see them larger.

I highly recommend following the guide I linked above, as we had an amazing day exploring 9 Mile Canyon, thanks to it. Pack a lunch and take your time. There is so much to see and explore. I really would like to take this drive again, just because I enjoyed it so much the first time.
Have you gone through 9 Mile Canyon? What are some of your favorite spots along the way?

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