There are some amazing petroglyphs located on private property near Vernal. You can stop and see these petroglyphs for a $5 donation for your entire group. This particular group of rock art has some amazing pictures and is well worth the short drive from downtown. The McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs are right behind someone’s house, so make sure to be respectful to the property owners.
From the parking area, walk up the small slope to the base of the cliff. The petroglyphs are found about a quarter mile to the left of the parking lot. These petroglyphs are in a unique “Vernal style,” which includes figures shaped like an inverted trapezoid. This means that they all look like they have very broad shoulders and a narrow waist.
The trail goes right along the base of the cliff, and you certainly can’t take a stroller, but it is easy enough on foot. Keep your eyes on the cliff wall. There are bright, obvious renderings, but there are also subtle swirls and shapes that don’t stand out. After a short distance, the trail splits with one fork heading back toward the parking lot.
Don’t turn back, though. Instead, continue along the base of the cliffs. Some of the best rock art is out along the last spur of the trail. There is even a guy named Big Foot for obvious reasons that our kids laughed at pretty hard. We felt that the best petroglyphs were along this further trail, so make sure to keep walking. The trail sometimes has rocks in it and is narrow. Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll walk back the way you came. The total distance is about 0.8 mile.
As always, make sure that you don’t spoil these antiquities by touching, adding or scratching the art. As my friend in elementary school used to say: “Look with your eyes, not with your hands!”
There is also no shade along this hike. Morning is the best time because the mountain side keeps the sun away for a bit longer, but evening would be nice, too. It would be quite hot in summer in the heat of the day, so be prepared.
McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs are located at 6228 McConkie Rd in Vernal. We had cell service all the way, so we used our phones to navigate out there. The drive is beautiful along the way, too.
For other family-friendly adventures near Vernal, check out our post about Things to do in Vernal.