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  • TR: May 2011

Canyon Overlook (Fremont)

The Canyon Overlook trail in Fremont Indian State Park parallels a portion of the Hidden Secrets trail. In addition to the view of Clear Creek from the trail, there is also one small petroglyph panel.

This short walk from the visitor center will take you to a view point that will give you a new perspective of life and travel in Clear Creek Canyon.

The trail starts at the southeast corner of the visitor center parking lot. Follow the trail uphill to a flat area and then to the viewpoint where the park sign is.

You are looking east down Clear Creek Canyon towards where within five miles the creek flows into the Sevier River. The mountain in the background is Monroe Peak, elevation 11.227 feet. Clear Creek is only twelve miles long, but with its well watered tributaries like Mill, Fish, and Shingle Creeks, it drains an area of 165 square miles. The view of I-70, the frontage road and the hiking/biking trail side by side is reminiscent of the different types of trails and roads that have brought people through Clear Creek Canyon for thousands of years:

  • Foot trails - used by the Fremont and hunters and gatherers before them and Numic and Paiutes after them.
  • Horse trails - used by the Paiute, explorers like Jedediah Smith and 16 men in 1826, the Mormon party in 1858 recorded by George W. Bean that first noted the rock art and the first settlers in the canyon.
  • Toll road - built for wagons from Sevier to Cove Fort. Commissioned and built by a Mormon Priesthood group in 1872. $0.25 a wagon was charged for 25 years.
  • Rail grade - the toll road was smoothed and rebuilt to be used as a rail line that would link to the track that reached Sevier in 1900. This grade was destroyed by a flood that resulted from a dam that failed at Three Creeks Reservoir in 1897. The track was later built through Marysvale Canyon.
  • Wagon road - built for freight and passenger wagons between Kimberly gold mine and the nearest rail line in Sevier (at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon). Several companies had scheduled routes through the canyon.
  • Auto road - the wagon road with little improvement became an auto road. In 1928, Sevier County widened and rerouted the road to Cove Fort. After continued improvement, this road became Highway 4 and then the frontage road through the park.
  • Sheep trail - during the 1930s and 1940s, at certain times a year, as many as 50,000 sheep a week were herded to the trail head through Clear Creek Canyon from the West Desert.
  • I-70 - Clear Creek Canyon was approved to be the route for I-70 in 1958. It opened to traffic in 1988.

Travel through Clear Creek Canyon has changed from a difficult two day journey on foot, to a twenty minute trip in a car during which many people do not stop or even realize that they have been here.

From the viewpoint, the Canyon Overlook Trail continues to the northeast along an old horse trail. Instead of watching the view to your right, you might want to look at the cliff to your left. There are some nice rock art panels on this cliff that most of our visitors do not get to see.

At the end of the cliffs, where the trail turns left away from Clear Creek Canyon, the Canyon Overlook Trail ends. At this point, the Hidden Secret Trail (#8) Begins.

Interactive Map

Download KML file to view in Google Earth.

Waypoints

Waypoint Latitude Longitude Description
Granary -112.3338772253881 38.57774077598074 The Fremont stored their corn and other food in storage rooms called granaries. On Five Finger Ridge, of the 103 rooms excavated, nineteen were granaries. Another variation of the granary, like the one that this one was patterned after, is found throughout the cliffs of Clear Creek Canyon and its tributaries. Many of these are isolated and blend into the surrounding terrain and seem to be secret food caches that were hidden from others or enemies. Granaries are built air tight so that the food can be protected from rodents, insects and freezing. Please do not go into this structure or climb on its roof. This is the last stop on the Court of Ceremonies Trail. We hope that you have just whetted your appetite for seeing rock art in the park! There is a lot more to see. Get information from the trail guide board or the information desk in the visitor center.
Pithouse -112.3339366548976 38.57785510243986 This pit house is copied from varying features of ones found on Five Finger Ridge. From excavation, the shape and size of pithouses and such characteristics as floors and firepits could be determined. More guesswork was involved in figuring out what the roof, smoke holes and ladders looked like. This pithouse only gives an idea of what one looked like. On Five Finger Ridge no two pithouses were identical in floor space or in the characteristics of the ventilator shaft or other features. This pithouse is empty. Look at the reconstructed pithouse in the museum to see what the Fremont put in them. You may go into the pithouse, but more than three people should not be on the roof at one time.
Overlook -112.3322107284102 38.57881954882759 You are looking east down Clear Creek Canyon towards where within five miles the creek flows into the Sevier River. The mountain in the background is Monroe Peak, elevation 11.227 feet. Clear Creek is only twelve miles long, but with its well watered tributaries like Mill, Fish, and Shingle Creeks, it drains an area of 165 square miles. The view of I-70, the frontage road and the hiking/biking trail side by side is reminiscent of the different types of trails and roads that have brought people through Clear Creek Canyon for thousands of years: • Foot trails – used by the Fremont and hunters and gatherers before them and Numic and Paiutes after them. • Horse trails – used by the Paiute, explorers like Jedediah Smith and 16 men in 1826, the Mormon party in 1858 recorded by George W. Bean that first noted the rock art and the first settlers in the canyon. • Toll road – built for wagons from Sevier to Cove Fort. Commissioned and built by a Mormon Priesthood group in 1872. $0.25 a wagon was charged for 25 years. • Rail grade – the toll road was smoothed and rebuilt to be used as a rail line that would link to the track that reached Sevier in 1900. This grade was destroyed by a flood that resulted from a dam that failed at Three Creeks Reservoir in 1897. The track was later built through Marysvale Canyon. • Wagon road – built for freight and passenger wagons between Kimberly gold mine and the nearest rail line in Sevier (at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon). Several companies had scheduled routes through the canyon. • Auto road – the wagon road with little improvement became an auto road. In 1928, Sevier County widened and rerouted the road to Cove Fort. After continued improvement, this road became Highway 4 and then the frontage road through the park. • Sheep trail – during the 1930s and 1940s, at certain times a year, as many as 50,000 sheep a week were herded to the trail head through Clear Creek Canyon from the West Desert. • I-70 – Clear Creek Canyon was approved to be the route for I-70 in 1958. It opened to traffic in 1988. Travel through Clear Creek Canyon has changed from a difficult two day journey on foot, to a twenty minute trip in a car during which many people do not stop or even realize that they have been here.
Petroglyph Panel -112.3316589067249 38.57930825697778 From the viewpoint, the Canyon Overlook Trail continues to the northeast along an old horse trail. Instead of watching the view to your right, you might want to look at the cliff to your left. There are some nice rock art panels on this cliff that most of our visitors do not get to see.
Canyon Overlook Trail -112.3307260589686 38.58025814083863 At the end of the cliffs, where the trail turns left away from Clear Creek Canyon, the Canyon Overlook Trail ends. At this point, the Hidden Secret Trail (#8) begins.

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Trip Report: May 13, 2011

Canyon Overlook