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Mule Mountain Archaeological Site, CA

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.5 of 5 
no permit
4 2 0
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 485 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 45 minutes
Interest Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
4  2018-02-03 Steph_and_Blake
8  2018-02-03
Mule Mountain Archaeology
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 63
Photos 2,548
Trips 184 map ( 820 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
co-author avatarGuides 16,866
Routes 17,202
Photos 24
Trips 1 map (6 Miles)
Age 25 Male Gender
Location HAZ, TrailDEX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:02am - 6:24pm
0 Alternative

Per Wikipedia
A geoglyph is a large design or motif (generally longer than 4 metres) produced on the ground and typically formed by clastic rocks or similarly durable elements of the landscape, such as stones, stone fragments, live trees, gravel, or earth. A positive geoglyph is formed by the arrangement and alignment of materials on the ground in a manner akin to petroforms, while a negative geoglyph is formed by removing patinated clasts to expose unpatinated ground in a manner akin to petroglyphs." The Mule Mountain geoglyphs are negative geoglyphs, also known as intaglios (a word used to describe a particular type of printing).

The sign located at the Mule Mountain Archaeological site reads: "This terrace contains a branching Indian trail and trail circle worn into the desert pavement. Although the purpose of trail circles is not definitely known, they may have been used by the Indians for performing dances called "circle dances". The terrace also contains groups of circles in parallel rows and horseshoe shapes scraped into the pavement surface. When these circles were made or for what purpose is at present unknown. They may be aboriginal or they may be a result of General Patton's desert training activities during World War II.

According to website: "...archaeologists have interviewed former members of Patton's troops, and looked at other known sites used during the war games." These archaeologists decided that the Mule Mountain intaglios weren't made by Patton's troops or campsites and that it's more likely that they were made by Native Americans.

The drive out to the intaglios is sandy and bouncy and follows a powerline for much of the way, then veers off to the southwest. In fact, you could easily drive right past the intaglios if you didn't know what you were looking for, except that they're fenced off and there's a small sign (riddled with bullet holes) at the entrance.

The desert floor, or "terrace" is flat and easily traversed. The individual circles are about 15 - 20 inches in diameter and the horseshoe shapes are perhaps about 12 to 15 feet wide. There are numerous horseshoe shapes, mostly all lined up close to the ancient path to Corn Spring. The intaglios, while visible at ground level, would best be viewed from an aerial perspective. If only we had wings!

It was fun to ponder how or why the circles were made and if they had a ceremonial purpose or perhaps a far more practical one. If you've got the vehicle to get out there, it's worth the time and effort if you're in the area.

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Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your walk/tour to support this local community.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To walk/tour
    Mule Canyon is located about 5 miles southwest of the Mesa Verde exit off Interstate 10, 7 miles west of Blythe. Head west on the south frontage road (Blythe Way) along the highway. After about 1 mile turn left down a dirt road bordered by a power line. Take this for about 2 miles to another road trending southwest towards the Mule Mountains. Look for a fenced area on the northeast side of the mountains, about 1 mile west of a NW-SE trending power line.
    page created by Steph_and_Blake on Feb 09 2018 3:54 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated

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