The Walnut Knob Petroglyphs are on an obvious geologic feature located in upper Comb Wash. The site is just below Comb Ridge north of UT 95, very close to the mouth of Arch Canyon. Walnut Knob is very prominent, sticking up from the rock slope it sits on. Being such an obvious feature, it’s not surprising that the Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) were associated with it.
Walnut Knob is accessed by driving north on the Upper Comb Wash road which intersects with UT Hwy 95 at about mile 107.5. The Comb Wash Road (CR 205) is very easy to find. After crossing Comb Ridge UT 95 drops steeply down the cliffside until it reaches the bottom. Right after reaching the bottom the road crosses Comb Wash and intersects with the Comb Wash Road. To reach Walnut Knob take the upper Comb Wash road to the north of the highway.
South of UT 95 at the Comb Wash road intersection is a large dispersed camping area. There may be vault toilets but don’t count on it. There are no other amenities. If you continue south the Comb Wash Road is county road #235 and it parallels Comb Ridge for 18 miles until it intersects with US 163 near Bluff, Utah.
The Comb Wash road north of the highway is a good quality gravel road that is suitable for any vehicle. About 2 miles from Highway 95 the road begins to fork. The first fork you reach runs to the left (southwest) away from the main road. This junction is a great place to park for Walnut Knob but you also have lots of other choices.
Finding a Trail to Walnut Knob
The approach to Walnut Knob is whatever route you choose. It’s an obvious destination and you can park in a lot of different places to make the climb. If you continue on the main road for about a quarter-mile there is a turnoff to the left (west) that leads to Arch Canyon. It’s possible to get to Walnut Knob from the Arch Canyon trailhead area. However, the hike is easier and shorter you park at the first intersection.
As you drive the Comb Wash Road toward the parking area you’ll notice many No Trespassing signs posted by the Ute Indians. It’s very important to respect the property rights of the Tribe so make sure you don’t trespass. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to know when you are on public or private land because, in some places, you will find BLM and No Trespassing signs in very close proximity.
The intersection where I suggest you park for Walnut Knob is one of these areas. It’s just past an old corral area, which is not on public property. However, if you park at the road intersection and walk the left-hand fork for just a few yards you’ll pass a BLM sign indicating you are now on public land. From here it’s a matter of picking your route up the rock slope leading to Walnut Knob.
Walnut Knob Pictographs
Most of the hike is on the wavy, undulating rock slope that leads steadily upward and it is quite easy to pick a path. Although it’s not far to the knob, it’s somewhat of a climb. There is no shade along this hike, so be prepared and take some water with you.
When you reach the knob you’ll find several large boulders that have broken off of it. The east face of the main boulder has a number of interesting pictographs. Two faces of the Knob feature excellent pictographs of all sorts of designs, including men on horseback. These pictographs are more recent as the Ancestral Puebloans did not have horses.
Unfortunately, people today cannot resist adding their own graffiti. One section of a boulder face is covered with names, modern dates, and other things. It’s too bad that some people can’t respect what should be cherished. It’s because of people like this that I don’t provide precise directions to many archaeological sites.
Majestic Views of Comb Ridge
Before you descend from Walnut Knob, be sure to enjoy the great view of Comb Ridge which stretches from north to south and dominates the eastern horizon. Looking across Comb Wash toward the ridge provides a vista beyond belief. After you’ve fully explored the knob and enjoyed the pictograph return the way you came up. Again, the route should be obvious.
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