False Kiva

April 29, 2014  •  2 Comments

I always try to find new places to explore each time I visit a place I've 
been to previously and this time was no different. In this case my trip took me to Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District.

False Kiva is a Class II site. I found it online while researching new places to photograph during my visit.  I stopped by the visitor center where I inquired about directions and condition of the trail. The park ranger informed me that while they do not "advertise" the False Kiva they do provide basic details and directions when asked.  So here I was, asking. He pulled out a book from under the counter with four or five photos with titles. These were used to find the path and location of the Kiva by means of landmarks. I took pictures of them with my phone and took down notes.  After all, it was about 1.6 miles each way and I was by myself. The main thing I took away from the ranger was when he said "if you get disoriented or lost, head East and you will eventually come to the main road".

I drove to the start of the trail which was a pile of dead juniper trees lining the road. The unmarked trail wasn't hard to find, and I made my way into the canyon. I kept Teapot Dome in front of me just like the ranger told me.

Teapot Dome


Along the way, I came to this strange set of fossilized circles on top of a boulder.  I'm not sure what they were, and the park ranger had an opinion but could not offer a definite answer.


After a bit of hiking on solid ground and slick rock, I made my way down along the outside of the rock outcropping into the base of the alcove.  As you can see from the photo below I had to do some rock scrambling for the last half mile or so. False Kiva Trail


A mile into the trek I came around the frontside of the cliff and could see my destination in front of me. The alcove where the Kiva is located was now above me. After doing a bit of rock scrambling I made it to the Kiva itself.

False Kiva Alcove


I found myself alone with this spectacular view of the valley below, imagining what it would have been like to live here around 800 years ago.  


There are three circular structures here with the main one being in front near the edge and the other two along the back wall. False Kiva


The light wasn't at all good and the sky was somewhat bleached out but I did manage to get a few acceptable images including this wide angle shot. False Kiva Wide Angle

I would give you a history lesson about now, but you can do some research of your own and hopefully make the trip yourself one day. I plan on coming back for some astro photography later this year. I think star trails and the Milky Way would make a fabulous image.  


eldon parker(non-registered)
What a view! Beautiful color. A view from the kiva with either the Milky Way and/or stars would be awesome. Are you sure you want that hike in darkness?

Looking forward to more.

B & E
Janie Barbosa(non-registered)
Awesome; makes me want to go there and check it out! I did my research and now know what a Kiva is and got a bit of info. about these false Kivas! Learned something new today. :)
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