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Walnut Knob Petroglyphs - Comb Wash, SE Utah

     Walnut Knob is an obvious geologic feature located in Comb Wash, north of UT 95, very close to the mouth of Arch Canyon. Walnut Knob is very prominent, sticking up from the rock slope it sits on. As such an obvious feature, it is not surprising that there are petroglyphs on Walnut Knob.

     Walnut Knob is accessed by driving north on the Upper Comb Wash road which intersects with UT Highway 95 at about mile 107.5. The Comb Wash Road, county road #205, is very easy to find, as it intersects the highway at the bottom of the descent down the steep side of Comb Ridge. South of highway 95 the Comb Wash Road is county road # 235 and it parallels Comb Ridge until it intersects with US 163 near Bluff, Utah. However, Walnut Knob is located north of  the highway.
Walnut Knob near Comb Wash
Click to enlarge
     Walnut Knob is a very obvious feature on the rock slopes leading up to the west from Comb Wash

     The Comb Wash road north of the highway is a good quality gravel road that is suitable for any vehicle. About 2 miles from highway 95 the road begins to fork. The first fork you reach runs to the left (southwest) away from the main road. This junction is a great place to park for Walnut Knob but you also have lots of other choices. The approach to Walnut Knob is whatever route you choose. It is an obvious destination and you can park in a lot of different places to make the climb. If you continue past this intersection on the main road in about a quarter mile you will find the turnoff to the left (west) that accesses Arch Canyon, while the county road continues. It is possible access Walnut Knob from the Arch Canyon trailhead area. However, the hike is easier and shorter you park at the first intersection.

As you drive the Comb Wash Road toward the parking area you will notice many No Trespassing signs posted by the Ute Indians. It is a very import to respect the property rights of the Tribe so
Walnut Knob Petroglyph Walnut Knob petroglyphs - Click to enlarge
make sure you do not trespass. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to know when you are on public or private land because in some places, you will find BLM and No Trespassing signs in very close proximity.

     The intersection where I suggest you park for Walnut Knob is one of these areas. It is just past an old corral area, which is not on public property. However, if you park at the road intersection and walk the left-hand fork for just a few yards. You will pass a BLM sign indicating that you are now on public land. From here is a matter of picking your route up the rock slope leading to Walnut Knob. Most of the hike is on the wavy, undulating rock slope that leads steadily upward and it is quite easy to pick a path. Although it’s not a long distance to the knob, it is somewhat of a climb. There is no shade along this hike, so be prepared and take some water with you.

Walnut Knob Petroglyph near Comb Ridge Click to enlarge
    When you reach the knob, you will find the knob and several very large boulders that have broken off of it. The east face of the main boulder has a number of interesting pictographs. Two faces of the Knob feature excellent pictographs of all sorts of designs, including men on horse back. These pictographs indicate that the art is of more recent times as the Anasazi did not have horses.

     Unfortunately, people today cannot resist adding their own graffiti. One section of a boulder face is covered with peoples names, modern dates and other things. It is too that people can't just respect what others have , and it is because of people like this that I hesitate to provide precise directions or finding many archaeological sites.

Petrogl;yphs in Comb WashClick to enlarge
   Before you descend from Walnut Knob, be sure to enjoy the great view of Comb Ridge which stretches from north to south and dominates the eastern horizon. Looking across Comb Wash toward the ridge provide a Vista beyond belief. After you have fully explored the knob and enjoyed the pictograph return the way you came up. Again, the route should be obvious.

     In summary, Walnut Knob is a nice short hike with easy access and interesting rock art. While not as dramatic as some rock art features, Walnut Knob is a great place to see and visit.


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