The Nine Mile Canyon in the Utah desert is the world’s longest & oldest ‘art gallery’
The Nine Mile Canyon is located deep in the Utah desert in the Western United States. It is known as “the world’s longest art gallery” because is filled with tens of thousands of petroglyphs and pictographs, some over a thousand years old.
Most of the art was created by the Fremont culture and the Ute people. This unique canyon is an international treasure.
The canyon is 40 miles long, so it’s not exactly clear why it’s called Nine Mile Canyon. The canyon became a main transport corridor in the region during the 1880s. In 1886, Nine Mile road was constructed through the canyon by the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry Regiment, linking Fort Duchesne to the railroad through the city of Price.
The art left behind the Fremont make Nine Mile Canyon a destination for archaeologists and tourists alike. The panels of rock art are of such remarkable quality and beauty that they have been featured in National Geographic and other publications highlighting the beauty and uniqueness of the art.
Through this natural canvas, the indigenous people expressed the love and stories of their tribes to everyone who viewed this place in their time and beyond. Many of the drawings depict hunting scenes and animal life. There are many birds, bighorn sheep, lizards, and bisons. Analysis of the location of hunting and hunting related sites shows that they tend to occur in clusters at or near the mouths of several side canyons.
The rock art of the canyon is at risk. It is carved and painted mainly on weathered sandstone panels, the images are susceptible to erosion, which is accelerated by touching and airborne dust. The dust is a special concern as heavy industrial traffic in the canyon increases.
In 2004, due to concerns about energy development and increasing recreational and tourist traffic, the site was added to the “America’s List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites” by Historic Preservation.