Thunderhead in Nine Mile Canyon


Northern San Rafael Style Fremont 750 A.D. to 1250 A.D. Nine Mile Canyon, Carbon County


Nine Mile Canyon was a great historic corridor, a major route for east/west travelers for over 6000 years.  Many panels of rock art in Nine Mile Canyon illustrate human figures carrying huge backpacks.  Minnie Maud Creek and springs provided year-round water. The evidence of this long history is a forty-mile rock art panel following the creek to the Green River.

Rock art researchers have identified archaic, Basketmaker, Dinwoody, Fremont and Ute rock art in the canyon.
Fall 2004 The National Trust for Historic Places designated Nine Mile Canyon as one of “Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in America.”   Vibration, dust and diesel smoke are some of the biggest threats to the rock art, which is often located within a few feet of the roadway.  The natural gas industry’s use of a dust suppressant containing magnesium chloride on dirt roads is coating Nine Mile Canyon rock art with a gray, sticky dust.  The BLM plans to research the effects of magnesium chloride on rock art.


The energy industry plans to drill 750 new wells on the plateau, larger pipelines and four new natural gas compressor stations in the canyon.  Industrial traffic on the narrow dirt road will dramatically increase.   Local ranchers, weary of the dust and noise, have sold large sections of the canyon to the Bill Barrett Corporation.


Nine Mile Canyon rock art is in real danger of being lost to future generations forever.