Prickly Pear Pictographs

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5/5 (2 reviews)
Castle Dale, Utah (Emery County)
Last Updated: 07/10/2022

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  • 9 waypoints
  • 29 photos
  • 3 trail concerns
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Travel across a beautiful landscape, twisting through pine trees and picturesque meadows before ending at a sandstone wall covered in ancient rock art. Prickly Pear Panel is a well-preserved Native American artwork display along a fun 4x4 trail. The trail leading out and back to the panel is an ideal route for stock 4x4s. There are mild challenges along the way that keep things exciting enough to keep pushing forward to the unique reward at the end. Long stretches of two-track zig-zag across grasslands, steep and soft dunes climb through pine trees, and there's primitive camping far away from the crowds. The rock art near the trail's end is estimated to have been painted around 2,000 years ago by the early Native American "Barrier Canyon Culture." These creative archaic people were hunter-gatherers, living in area caves or more temporary brush shelters. The red pigment was created using powdered hematite found in the surrounding landscape and likely mixed with animal fat, eggs, or other fluid as a binder. Paintbrushes were their fingers or brushes made from animal fur or prairie grasses. The course sandstone has absorbed the natural pigment, preserving it for thousands of years.
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