The Yellow Man petroglyph is located in Apple Valley, UT. The Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway leads to a three mile long dirt road ending at the Yellow Man. The road requires four wheel drive to get all the way back into the canyon near the petroglyphs. Passenger vehicles can make it part of the way and park before the gate by the windmill. The road passes the old coral and windmill along with an abandoned stone house. Hikers can enter the open doorway and look around the small empty room.
A few minutes past the stone house, the thin road pours into a dirt parking area. The area is surrounded by rocks on three sides. A faint trail runs from the right side of the clearing up the hillside. The climb is steep but short, littered with a variety of plants and rocks. The top of the trail delivers hikers to a large rock wall adorned with several pictographs and petroglyphs. Stunning views of distant mountains and a forest of juniper trees stretch across the canyon.
High on the rocks sits the vibrant, three foot tall pictograph of the Yellow Man. The man wears an elaborate headdress and bright red earrings. This attire indicates that the figure was of a high status and possible royalty. A smaller yellow figure and an upside down red handprint are painted to the bottom left of the Yellow Man. White figures and pictographs sit a bit farther down on the rock beside scattered petroglyphs. Farther to the right near the edge of the rock wall, a man placed atop a spiral is carved deep into the stone. The petroglyphs and pictographs in this area are well preserved and very defined.
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The perch would have been the perfect spot for Native Americans, offering incredible views of the canyon. Being able to see for miles meant they could protect themselves from any potential approaching threats. Today, hikers are able to sit atop the rocks and enjoy the peaceful canyon and breathtaking views. The long horizon provides incredible views of sunrises and sunsets.
Dogs are allowed on the trail on or off leash. Since the trail is not strenuous, individuals of any age and fitness level can complete the hike. Tread lightly and step carefully to avoid slipping on any loose rocks or bushes. Please remain respectful and do not touch the rock art. This will help preserve the images and allow others to enjoy them for years to come.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe