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Rim Trail Viewpoints

Newspaper Rock in Fremont Indian State Park.

The Rim Trail in Fremont Indian State Park is closed except for staff-led hikes. However several of the panels can be seen from the road, including Newspaper Rock and Hunkup's Train.

Trip Report: May 13, 2011

Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT
Rim Trail Viewpoints in Fremont Indian State Park, UT

The Rim Trail includes the heaviest concentration and some of the best quality of rock art in Fremont Indian State Park and Museum. On or near the Rim Trail there are 191 rock art panels that include 1164 prehistoric elements. Of these elements there are 81 pictographs, 83 petroglyphs and 3 pictoglyphs. It is one of the most significant clusters of rock art in Utah.

From east to west, the Rim Trail goes along a natural seam between two members of the volcanic tuff and follows a narrow ledge up an incline to a point high above the canyon floor. It then follows a base of the cliff past Newspaper Rock on a rocky talus slope before it drops down a steep ridge to the frontage road. Parts of the Rim Trail are steep with difficult walking and poor footing. Other parts go along narrow ledges with ground obstacles, low clearance and long dropoffs. Frequent rockfalls and ice make the trail even more dangerous. This trailguide will take you to two view points from which rock art on the Rim Trail can be seen from the road.

Newspaper Rock Viewpoint

On the frontage road go west to where the road turns left toward I-70. Proceed 50 feet beyond the Trail #1 sign, and park in the graveled strip off of the pavement.

Look at the base of the high cliff just above the top of the talus slope. Starting from the point that protrudes out to your right, the cliff face goes a short distance and turns. This is the location of Newspaper Rock (Panel 50). The south facing cliff then continues west with rock art seen at several of the lower levels, until it gets to the distinctive pilar where the large horned human figure (Panel 96) can be seen.

Newspaper Rock is the most spectacular rock art panel in Fremont Indian State Park. In contains over 250, sometimes superimposed elements, all of which are petroglyphs. The panel includes pictures of human figures (6 with triangular shaped bodies and 7 stick figures), desert bighorn sheep (12 with square shaped bodies and 10 with oval shaped bodies), spirals (7), footprints (5), concentric circles (8 sets), dots (6 rows) and many other figures. The panel was in excellent condition until it was defaced by someone named Mike and Charledom. There is so much going on at Newspaper Rock that there is no known interpretation of the panel. If you would like to try, please give the park a copy.

The large human figure (Panel 96) at the base of the pillar is also quite impressive. This is the largest human figure in the park and seems to be standing guard over the canyon . This figure has hands with outstretched fingers and feet that seem to be bound by moccasins. There is much speculation concerning the lined dots on the lower body and how they seem to extend to the left like an apron or kill. To the left of the figure is a hunting scene where the thirteen desert bighorn sheep seem puny compared to the size of the only person shown. A copy of this panel is in the visitor center on the wall behind the information desk.

Hunkup's Train Viewpoint

Park .6 miles west of the visitor center in a graveled area south of the frontage road where the park entrance sign is located. Above the talus slope in a shallow drainage, Hunkup's train (Panel 2) can be seen on a flat rock face on the west side. In some light conditions, this panel can be difficult to see.

Hunkup was a Paiute from Kanosh. It was probably during the 1870s that Hunkup took a train east to Chicago to deliver cattle for a Richfield rancher. He chose this place, surrounded by drawings of the Fremont, to record his adventure. Unlike the Fremont though, Hunkup used a metal chisel. In the picture of the two trains, Hunkup tells in great detail what the trains can do, He shows that the trains are sitting on a track and that the track is needed for it to run on. The wheels of the cars are drawn in enough detail to be able to determine which side of the train that they are on. Each of the two trains have three cars: an engine, a freight or cattle car and a passenger car. Symbols between the cars indicate that the cars can be separated, The smoke trail shows that the train is moving. Specific information is given by the three men on the lower train. The man on top of the engine with his arms hanging down means that the train ran by itself. The stance of the middle person indicates that he is angry. He is displeased about a long wait for a transfer to another train. The last man is showing by the placement of his arms, that the train had toilet facilities.

Near the trains, Hunkup drew pictures of two story houses. Again he was very precise and showed the doors, windows, roof and chimneys with great detail. Another picture shows a house with a horse in it. This showed an interest in the animals living in houses too.