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Hiking Seven Mile Canyon - South Fork

The Bird man rock art at the mouth of the South Fork of Seven Mile Canyon
The canyon is an easy hike, you are in the sandy wash almost the whole way except for when you are seeking out the individual rock art sites on the canyon walls.
Hiking the South Fork of Seven Mile Canyon is rewarding due to the amount of iconic petroglyph and pictograph panels in the area. Before you even enter the canyon you have the chance to see two well-known and remarkable individual rock art panels.
This abundance of rock art in this confluence of canyons is more evidence that the ancient people regarded where canyons intersected to be significant places.
This south fork of Seven Mile Canyon along with the section called Lower Seven Mile Canyon was believed to have been a migration route for the ancient Indians from the La Sal Mountains to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park used in the fall and spring.
Getting there
  • Take Highway 191 north from Moab, turn left at the turn for Canyonlands National Park / Dead Horse Point State Park onto Highway 313.
  • Look for a parking pull-off area on the (right) north side of the highway at about 2.7 miles, this puts you right in front of the Intestine Man rock art panel where you start from.
  • If you want to see the bonus rock art just before the Intestine Man, you will need to pull over first at ( 38.652127, -109.720584 ) on the north side of the highway before continuing on to the final parking area.
38.648405, -109.723935
Small pull-off on the north side of Highway 313
  • Bring binoculars to see the rock art better
  • The panels can be tricky to find 
  • Dogs are okay
  • This canyon gets very hot during the summer, you are exposed to the sun and the canyon walls reflect the heat
5.5 miles total out and back

Seven Mile Canyon South Fork Hiking Map

Park in the pull-out on the north side of Highway 313
Intestine Man
You should be right in front of the pictograph panel called Intestine Man, look for him about 15 feet up on the rock face.  A 2-minute walk to the right reaches another panel with spirals and human figures and to the right of that several large bighorn sheep. Just follow the well-worn trails to find the rock art.
The Intestine Man has been written about by many experts, there is no shortage of theories about what this strange-looking panel represents. Is this a literal interpretation of the interior of the body and the intestines? Are they snakes? A canyon?

Intestine Man Rock Art Panel
Intestine Man Rock Art Panel


Second panel next to Intestine Man Rock Art Panel
2nd panel


Bighorn sheep panel next to Intestine Man Rock Art Panel
These bighorn sheep are sometimes referred to as the “TV Sheep” due to their rectangular shapes


Bonus Rock Art ( 38.651825, -109.721297 )
Located on the north side of Highway 313 about a 1/4 mile before the Intestine Man site. The biggest panels are 30 or 40 feet above the road, to get close you will need to scramble up the rocky slopes.

Bonus rock art on highway 313

Snake man ( 38.6479042N, 109.7191208W )
Now you can cross the road and head up the main canyon or detour first to find the snake man rock art panel.

The rock art locations around the mouth of the Seven Mile Canyon
The rock art locations around the mouth of the Seven Mile Canyon

Looking at the long horizontal overhang with water stains running down its face like vertical tiger stripes, the snake man is on the left-hand side way up from the valley floor. To get closer you have to find a zig-zag route up to the base of the overhang.
Looking at the overhang notice the brush about in the middle just below the overhang. Here you should find a zig-zag route that you can climb level by level until you reach a relatively flat ledge running in the concave overhang that will get you about 10 feet below the rock art.

The Snake Man location in the mouth of Seven Mile Canyon South Fork

The Snake Man from a distance


The snake man or snake in mouth man is a well-known pictograph. Is it two figures wearing maybe some sort of fur robes? The figure on the right appears to be holding a birdman creature. There is a snake to the left of him and the birdman appears to be pointing at the main figure’s head.


The Snake Man close up

Snake man up high on the wall, look closely there is a blue snake in the big figure’s mouth
First Rock Art Panels ( 38.647096, -109.724223 )
  • If you don’t detour to see the snake man rock art panel, cross south across the highway and follow a trail down to a gate. Once through the gate, follow the trail up to the cliff directly to the west is a good panel of petroglyphs on the corner up about 15-20 ft, just above a crack in the wall.  
  • If you detoured to the snake man, just follow the canyon sandy wash road toward the large rock formation in front of you, as you get far enough you should find the trail leading from the rock art on the rock formation.

The first rock art panel at the entrance to Seven Mile Canyon South Fork

The set of petroglyphs is up about 15-20 ft, just above the crack in the wall.

Location of the rock art higher on the wall

Detail of the rock art higher on the wall

Continue walking close to the cliff all the way until you reach the canyon wash. There are a handful of areas you will come to of very faint petroglyphs of spirals, dotted lines, human figures, and animals here and there along the bottom of the cliff face as you go.

More pecked rock art along the bottom of the wall

The Stickman and witches on broomsticks ( 38.640056, -109.728658 ) .6 miles from the start
Heading up the canyon you should see in the distance a small Cottonwood Grove up ahead in the canyon bottom in front of you.
When you get to the Cottonwood Grove look for the signs of a small wash coming out to these trees from the left and follow it, during heavy rains water comes down the side of the canyon into this wash and out into the main canyon.
Directions to the stickman rock art
Follow it back until you start to see a big jumble of rocks and immediately to the right and up high is the rock art. The Stickman is a strange combination of a human scorpion with four legs.
The stickman
The stickman 
You have to scramble up to a ledge to see the stickman and then follow that ledge to the left as it gets worse and more crumbly is the main rock art panel.

Witches on broomsticks rockart panel

Fish ( 38.635786, -109.732302 ) .9 miles from start at gate
Continue 1/3 of a mile, there is a side canyon that splits off on the left. Just before the canyon splits look for an entrance through some brush in front of the cliff bottom on your left, and enter into an alcove to see some unusual pictographs.

Seven Mile Canyon South Fork 1 3

The hidden Centipede ( 38.633606, -109.736086 ) 1.4 miles miles from start at gate
Continuing down the wash for another .7 miles, you need to walk from the wash up onto the brush bank on the left to an alcove. In a depression on the ceiling, there is an interesting group of drawings to see, a figure and a centipede. There is some interpretation of centipede-like drawings like this to represent game drive fences, but there are no elk or sheep figures in this set of drawings.

location of the hidden centepede

location of the hidden centepede

Close up of the centepede

Figures on the wall below the centipede

Figures on the wall below the centipede
The Watching Shaman  ( 38.633606, -109.736086 ) 2.0 miles from start at the gate
Continue for another 0.6 miles from the Hidden Centipede. Here the canyon splits again with the main branch continuing to the left and a second major side-canyon comes in from the right.
On the right is a large cleft boulder at its mouth. A mirror image boulder lies just opposite just before the fork to the left.
Behind that boulder on the left is a wide ledge about 15 feet above the canyon floor. Climb onto this ledge and follow it to the right for about 100 feet. You will pass a very faded geometric design. Keep going right and into a protected area and look upwards and to the right for the Shaman. The Shaman is up high above the canyon.

The watchful Shaman directions

The faded panelFirst very faded panel


The watchful Shaman above Seven Mile Canyon South Fork
The Watchful Shaman

Faint figures ( 38.629603, -109.742776 )
Just around the corner and just 0.2 miles farther from the Shaman, is a wire cable marking the closure of the canyon to motor vehicles any further.
To the left up about 20-30 feet on the cliff face, there is a large pictograph that is similar to barrier canyon-style artwork like that at the Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon. When these images were originally created you can imagine they would have shown up like a big billboard for anyone passing by. There is a big rock fall creating a ledge you can climb up to for a better look.

End of the canyon to motorized vechicles

Figure up high

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