Range Creek Canyon
Range Creek Canyon is a remote area southeast of Price, Utah that has been recognized as a national treasure. The 12 mile canyon had previously been inhabited by native people called the Fremont Indians who lived in Utah between about AD 300 and 1300. The ranch was later owned by the Wilcox family and the numerous archeological sites were kept secret for many years.
- The Wilcox family bought the area deep in the Book Cliffs region in 1951 and raised cattle there. They became aware of the many archeological sites with remains from the ancient Fremont Indians but kept them a secret and posted “no trespassing” signs.
- In 2003 Waldo Wilcox sold the land for $2.5 million to a Trust for Public Land, and it was later deeded to the state of Utah. The University of Utah archeology department and the Utah Museum of Natural History now manage the property.
- The Fremont people were farmers in the desert southwest for over a thousand years. Their disappearance around 700 years ago has been a mystery for archeologists. Study of the many archeological sites at Range Creek Canyon may help answer questions about these prehistoric people.
- Range Creek Canyon holds untouched archeological evidence of the ancient inhabitants including hundreds of pit houses, tools, pots, granaries, moccasins, arrowheads, etc.
- Archeologists have only begun to document the many artifacts and no excavation has been done yet.
- Many granaries are located high on cliffs. They are extremely difficult to get to and indicate that the owners were trying to protect their food stores from rodents and from theft.
- The Fremont people recorded images on rocks through petroglyphs and pictographs. They made mysterious images of animals, geometric shapes, and simplified people. The images give scientists a peek into the unknown lives of the people.
Pit houses: A dwelling (often circular) with a floor beneath the ground. Being below ground helps insulate the dwellings and keeps them at a more constant temperature throughout the year.
Granary: A small masonry structure made to store food in. They were often tucked under small overhangs on narrow ledges.
Questions and Answers
Question: Has anything been found in the granaries at Range Creek Canyon?
Answer: Dried corn cobs that are around a thousand years old have been found in the granaries.
Watch a video to learn more about Range Creek.