The Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs are a collection of ancient rock carvings located in the Gunlock State Park, in southwestern Utah, United States. The petroglyphs are believed to have been created by the Ancestral Puebloans, a Native American culture that inhabited the region from approximately 200 to 1300 AD.
The petroglyphs consist of a variety of images, including geometric shapes, animals, human figures, and abstract symbols. Some of the images are fairly simple, while others are more complex and detailed. The petroglyphs were created by pecking or carving the rock surface with a tool, such as a sharp stone or metal implement.
The exact meanings of the petroglyphs are not fully understood, but they are believed to have had spiritual or cultural significance to the Ancestral Puebloans. The petroglyphs at Gunlock Reservoir are particularly interesting because they are located in a scenic area that was likely important to the Ancestral Puebloans, and because they have been relatively well-preserved over the centuries.
Today, visitors can view the Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs by hiking along a trail that leads to the rock art site. The site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and visitors are asked to be respectful of the petroglyphs and to avoid touching or disturbing them in any way.
To get to the Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs, you can follow these directions:
- Start by heading to the town of St. George in southwestern Utah. St. George is located near the Arizona border and is accessible via Interstate 15.
- From St. George, take Utah State Route 18 north for approximately 13 miles.
- Turn right onto Gunlock Road (also known as Old Highway 91) and follow it for about 7 miles.
- Turn right onto a dirt road just before reaching Gunlock Reservoir. There should be signs indicating the way to the petroglyphs.
- Follow the dirt road for about 1.5 miles until you reach a parking area.
- From the parking area, follow the trail leading east toward the cliffs. The trail is about 1 mile long and is relatively easy, although it does involve some scrambling over rocks.
Note that the dirt road leading to the petroglyphs can be rough in places and may not be suitable for all vehicles. It’s a good idea to check road conditions before heading out and to be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride. Additionally, visitors should be aware that the trail to the petroglyphs involves some uneven terrain and may not be accessible for those with mobility issues.
There are several other interesting things to see and do near the Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs. Here are a few suggestions:
- Gunlock State Park: The petroglyphs are located within Gunlock State Park, which offers several other recreational opportunities. Visitors can swim, boat, and fish in the reservoir, as well as hike or bike along the trails.
- Snow Canyon State Park: Snow Canyon is located just a few miles south of Gunlock State Park and offers stunning red rock formations and scenic vistas. The park has several hiking trails, picnic areas, and campsites.
- Red Cliffs National Conservation Area: This protected area is located just north of St. George and features towering red cliffs, canyons, and unique desert flora and fauna. Visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride on the many trails, or enjoy a scenic drive through the area.
- St. George: The town of St. George itself has several interesting attractions, including the St. George Tabernacle, the Brigham Young Winter Home, and the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum. There are also plenty of shops, restaurants, and galleries in the historic downtown area.
- Zion National Park: Zion is located about an hour’s drive east of St. George and is one of Utah’s most popular national parks. The park features towering sandstone cliffs, narrow canyons, and lush greenery. Visitors can hike, bike, or ride the shuttle bus through the park, or enjoy a scenic drive on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.
The Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs are a fascinating glimpse into the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Ancestral Puebloans, and a testament to the enduring power of art and symbolism. Visitors to the area can not only view the petroglyphs, but also enjoy a range of recreational activities in the nearby state and national parks. Whether you’re interested in hiking, boating, or simply taking in the stunning natural beauty of the region, the Gunlock Reservoir Petroglyphs offer a unique and unforgettable experience.