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Snake Gulch - Kaibab National Forest

Summary: A flat hike through a wide canyon with many pictograph panels and a few petroglyphs and ruins. Please remember that the Antiquities Act prohibits destruction or removal of artifacts. Please look and photograph, but do not touch (oils in the hand can hasten the demise of pictographs) or disturb these sites. 
Directions: From Flagstaff drive north on Highway 89.  Turn left on Highway 89A and drive to Jacob Lake. Head south on Highway 67 for a couple hundred feet then turn right on Forest Road (FR) #461. Drive 5.4 miles to the intersection with FR #462 and turn right. Drive 3.2 miles to the intersection with FR #22 and turn left. Drive a few miles until you see a wooden horse corral and the right branching FR #232. Turn right and follow this road to the parking area at the end. 
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - dirt roads are well graded
Navigation: Easy
Length: ~14 miles round trip to the ruins and back, though the turn around point is arbitrary
Date Hiked: November, 2001
Weather Conditions: Nice
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the sign post for the Snake-Kanab Trail, Kanab Creek Wilderness follow the well established trail as it heads through a wide valley. After 10 minutes you will see the remains of an old stone cabin off the the right and the canyon bends left. The trail throughout this hike is much the same - the canyon is wide and sunny, the trail is flat, well established and lined by black bush, russian thistle, and tall grasses (given the fall weather when the author was here, it was very much like walking through a dried plant exhibit). This canyon was obviously once heavily grazed and is still showing considerable damage as a result. Just past the cabin you pass an old register then the Kanab Creek Wilderness - Kaibab National Forest boundary and a short distance later, a fence with gate and stile. About 45 minutes into the hike you'll pass through another fence and just past that, you'll see a fenced in alcove on the right. The alcove contains a good petroglyph panel and a few pictographs. Continuing down canyon, after another 15 minutes you'll come to another fence and gate. After that, you'll spot a pictograph panel on the right. From there just follow the trail, there are many pictograph panels and all appear to have use trails that lead up to them. Some of the panels are so faded they are just smudges, while others are quite well preserved. The panels become better and more detailed as you head down canyon and you will find some which include yellow, white and black in addition to the typical dark red colors. If you want good photos I would suggest bringing a camera with a zoom lens, some of the panels are fairly high on the wall (I wish I had brought one). In the upper part of the canyon all the panels appear to be on the right side, as you get lower they begin to appear on the left side as well. Eventually you will reach the point where Table Rock Canyon (there is an old green metal tank just inside Table Rock Canyon is you have any doubts where you are) comes in from the left and the remains of a fence line cross the main drainage of Snake Gulch. There is an alcove on the right wall at this junction which contains ruins - nothing remains but a few little walls however. Below this point the pictograph panels fade away and it's fairly boring walking. Later, (if you haven't turned around already) you will pass a coral and another fence; the canyon bends left and about 10 minutes later, look for a large alcove up on the right hand wall. This alcove contains some nice ruins with walls, fire pit, pot shards and corn cobs (!please! - tread with care and do not disturb this site). This was the turn around point for the author.
Rating (1-5 stars):
While the hiking part of this walk is not all that exciting, the pictograph panels and ruins make for a pretty interesting day. The author and his wife spent 5 hours hiking down to the ruins described above, stopping frequently and making detours for views of the pictograph panels. We returned to our car in another 3 hours for a total walk time of 8 hours (in case you are math challenged).
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Grand Canyon National Park
Books:  Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau - Michael Kelsey
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
All of Snake Gulch looks just like this. Pictograph panel.