Fremont Indian State Park and Museum – Utah

Richfield, UT

We left Bryce Canyon on Sunday and drove about a hundred miles north to the small town of Richfield, UT where we stayed in a KOA in the center of town.  On Tuesday Steve and MonaLiza (Lowes RV Adventures) arrived and set up in the site next to us.

On Wednesday the four of us drove about 20 miles south to visit the Fremont Indian State Park and Museum.  The park sits directly across from I-70  as it travels through Clear Creek Canyon.  It was built to showcase artifacts from the remains of a large settlement of the Fremont Indians who lived from about 400 to 1300 in north and central Utah and adjacent parts of Colorado, Idaho and Nevada.  The site was discovered during construction of the interstate and thousands of artifacts have been excavated from the ancient village and put on permanent display at the museum.  The park has a number of hiking trails that go pasts many panels of Indian artwork.  Most begin in the parking area for the visitor center.  We combined a number of short trails for a total hike of about 5.7 miles.

We began our hike on the Alma Christensen Trail, which begins about .3 of a mile from the visitor center.  This is one of the longer trails in the park.  It goes up a bit at the start then winds through a flat tableland before joining a group of short trails leading back to the visitor center.

The rocky cliff running behind the visitor center is full of rock art.  As we came back down off the tableland, we encountered the first of the many panels of artwork.  Unfortunately, we forgot the camera and had to use our phone.  The phone does a nice job, but we really needed a zoom since the artwork was at a distance.

After crossing in front of that panel of art, we continued hiking down toward the visitor center.

Look who we found hanging out in the rocks!

Next to the parking lot are two examples of Fremont Indian life.  The first is a reconstruction of a pithouse, a typical residence for a Fremont family.  The pithouse is half underground and resembles a religious structure used by other similar early inhabitants called a kiva.  The Fremont did not use a kiva.

MonaLiza checks out the pithouse

The second example of Fremont life is a large, hollow rock sitting next to the pithouse that was used by the Fremont as a granary (grain storage).

After enjoying lunch in a picnic area next to the granary, we headed down the Trail to the Hundred Hands.  This trail crossed the entrance road to the park, goes over Clear Creek, and under the interstate.

Good job, Steve! (we didn’t see a single car on this road)

Clear Creek

Just a half mile from the highway we came to the shallow cave known as the Hundred Hands.  The mouth of the cave is covered with a heavy metal grate to keep fools from vandalizing the site.

We don’t know where the name of this site comes from as the literature states that there are 36 handprints on the rock.

 Returning back to the entrance road, we walked about a quarter mile to a point where we could observe a series of panels filled with artwork called the Arch of Art.

Returning to the visitor center we walked a short, paved trail called the Parade of Rock Art containing numerous panels of drawings.

A Hunting Story

A Hunting Map

Returning to the KOA in Richfield we joined Steve and MonaLiza for a happy hour at their site.  The next morning we were up early and ready to head north.  The weather services were predicting a chance of rain that increased as the day progressed, so we wanted to get to our next “home” while the roads were dry.  Steve and MonaLiza are remaining in Richfield for the next few days and we don’t know when we will see them again so we said our good-byes before heading out.

Heading out of the park (thanks for the photo, MonaLiza)

The 120 mile journey to our next location was very pleasant and sunny all the way (it never did rain).  We are now parked in Utah Lake State Park in Provo through the long holiday weekend.  Then it’s good-bye to Utah and hello to Wyoming.

More on that later . . .

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35 Responses to Fremont Indian State Park and Museum – Utah

  1. Mary says:

    One of our favorite mountain man rendezvous is there. Across the highway. Did you see the giant blanket pictograph across I-70? And if you go the other way on the road, there is a lot more petroglyphs to see that aren’t officially part of the state park. It is a very cool area.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we did see the “blanket” pictograph. That was the area we scrambled up to the edge of the rock to get closer to those panels. There was art on just about every rock we looked at. It was incredible. But without a zoom, the blog photos were lacking:( Even MonaLiza left her zoom lense home. What were we thinking!

  2. libertatemamo says:

    Lovely little stop. You guys are moving North fast!

    • placestheygo says:

      Not really, Nina. We are staying about four nights at each stop. We are heading to Buffalo, WY for a month and then we turn east. We need to be in PA by Sept. 1.

  3. Sue says:

    Your phones did a pretty credible job that day. Clear creek doesn’t look very clear! Nice that you got to spend a bit more time with the Lowes at the State Park, looks like you shared a few laughs along the way!

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, it is so nice to have the great cell camera as a back up. But this was one time we really needed a zoom. It was nice to have one last hike and Happy Hour with the Lowe’s before we too part ways til next winter.

  4. Larry says:

    Nice to see green in Utah – campground looks good too.

  5. Nancy says:

    Neat sights to see on the trail. The petroglyphs were amazing! Safe travels to you and Happy Memorial Day!

  6. Gay says:

    Happy Memorial Day. It’s nice to be settled in for a long holiday weekend.

    I loved your hike at Fremont Indian State Park. And I am sorry you didn’t have your camera Pam…I feel your frustration!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Gay:) Of all the places to forget a camera with a good zoom!! MonaLiza left her zoom lense home too! Not our day, but the hiking was wonderful as was the artwork in person:)

  7. Laurel says:

    Beautiful hike, and with great companions. Doesn’t get any better! We love rock art (and never seem to tire of it) so we’ll definitely put this on our humongous list. The first art panel (the one that looks remarkably like Pam) is my favorite. :-))

  8. Sherry says:

    Looks like a must see spot. Wonder what other sites are under interstates. Sorry about your camera. I agree phones do a decent job but mine has a terrible Zoom too. Love the rock art

    • placestheygo says:

      There is a nice replica of what the area looked liked before the highway went through in the VC, Sherry. The village was huge. The VC video shows the excavation of the pithouses. Too bad they couldn’t save any of the area.

  9. pmbweaver says:

    Those snow covered mountains in the background sure do add to the already beautiful area.
    I am not sure I could live in one of those pithouses. I need lots and lots of light.
    How do you ever cross the street without Steve by your side? He looks so professional….lol

    I love looking at the Arch of Art. It is such a marvel that the people back then left us some of their history in pictures.

    • placestheygo says:

      The pithouses were so small and very dark. They must have spent most of their time outside. The snow covered mountains definitely make every view spectacular.

  10. LuAnn says:

    We love seeking rock art so this area is being added to our must-see list, which has grown tremendously thanks to you two. 😉

  11. Jodee Gravel says:

    Odd to find a “whack-a-mole” game on the trail 🙂 Love the large panels – especially the hunting story. We will have to get back to that route some day, especially now that we’re seeing it through your eyes first. I didn’t realize you weren’t going to be in PA until Sept – pretty sure we’ll be coming through mid-month so hope to catch up with you there!

  12. It’s so neat that you guys got to spend time together in a few different places this spring.

    That Clear Creek was not very clear! But the area sure was beautiful!

    • placestheygo says:

      It has been fun having MonaLiza and Steve join us at different spots for a few days. But now we are splitting til next winter. Clear Creek was running so fast and high. Lots of dirt flow from the mountains.

  13. It is always fun to hang out with you John and Pam, and this hike was no different. And we sure did have lots of opportunities to hike this winter and spring and looking forward for more in the future.
    And your phone still did capture some neat rock art.

  14. Jim and Barb says:

    I think a person could spend the entire summer in Utah and not even scratch the surface of all the beautiful spots there are!

  15. Dick Savage says:

    Just got home from Zion
    You are parked about a,mile from our home. For a good hike in this area drive up to Maeton and up 400 N to writing camp ground. Park in first trail head and head up trail head. Goes through the camp ground. Spa ish Fork Peak trail cosses the creek after the camp ground. Tough 4 hour hike to top. I suggest you keep on the main trail till you want to head back.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Dick! We won’t be hiking this stopping. With it being the holiday and nice weather, we figure the trails will be way too crowded for our liking. We are using this as a restock and catch up stop. We’ll use the bike trail, as well.

  16. Dick Savage says:

    Bike Trail has lots of bumps. Good luck. Safe hiking. Enjoy you blog. Thanks.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Dick! I see they haven’t improved the bike path since our last visit. Yes it is a little bumpy in parts but no too bad. We rode into BYU this trip.

  17. geogypsy2u says:

    This is a great hike for the rock stories. My phone doesn’t have good zoom either, or an easy to use qwerty board. Save travels out of Utah.

  18. Vanholio! says:

    I passed nearby here yesterday and so wanted to visit after reading your post recently. But it was soooooo hot! Almost 100! (Dang heat wave cramping my style …)

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