BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
Bring your imagination with you when you go to McConkie Ranch because if you’re like the family of Anna Pro, you’ll need it to figure out why the over-sized petroglyphs were painted and what they represent.
“We wondered what they were trying to describe,” said Pro, after a recent visit to the eastern Utah ranch.
“Maybe it was an event — maybe a marriage,” she said. “There were people within circles, denoting children or a hierarchy.”
It was easy to tell which were women because of the jewelry depicted, she said, and where people of different heights were drawn, they appeared to be in families.
McConkie Ranch is less than 15 miles northwest of Vernal, an excursion that could be done in a morning or fill a day.
A privately-owned ranch, the area featuring petroglyphs is open to the public during daylight hours at no cost, though donations are accepted.
Members of the McConkie family have created well-marked trails and even leave walking sticks for visitors to use while hiking, said Pro.
A listing in utahoutdooractivities.com said the figures Р some as high as 9 feet Р were made by the Freemont culture, likely between 1 and 1200 A.D.
Hundreds of panels of rock art can be seen on rock walls 200-feet tall. According to the site, the art at McConkie Ranch is more accessible there than in any other area.
There are several hiking options and some parts of the trail can be a bit tricky, said Pro, who cautioned against families with young children using the trails because parts are treacherous and can be slippery.
“It’s the uniqueness of it,” said Pro, that makes the rock art at McConkie Ranch interesting. “There is a head-hunter and Big Foot.”
Besides the petroglyphs, Pro said they saw lizards and a rattlesnake on the trail.
“I think it was amazing that they offer that type of knowledge and visual information Р that they’re willing to share what they found without making money on it,” said Pro.
The ranch is in Dry Fork Canyon. According to a brochure published by Uintah County Travel & Tourism, it can be reached by taking Hwy. 121 to Maeser, continuing to 3500 West (Dry Fork Canyon Road) and turning right to travel north. After 12.5 miles, turn right at the McConkie Ranch sign.
Editor's note: Pro is production manager at Davis Clipper Publishing.