The Tempi Po’op Trail runs along the ridge overlooking the Santa Clara River near St. George, Utah. If you start at the Tempi Po’op Trailhead, it’s a good couple miles up to the main petroglyph site. You need to do a little bit of easy rock scrambling/climbing to get below the ridge to see the petroglyphs. There are hundreds of individual little images on the rocks all along the ridge (there are a few more if you follow the trail another mile south. The Anasazi lived in this area for about 1,000 years, up until around 1100 AD. I was told by some visitors from near Salt Lake City (who had a pamphlet) that the carvings date from around 500 AD. The name Tempi Po-op (pronounced tumpee poo oop) is a Paiute word for “rock writing.” The petroglyphs were created by chiseling through the dark outer layer of the stones to reveal the lighter reddish stone beneath. Even without the petroglyphs, this is a beautiful area, as the ridge looks out over a river valley that still looks much as it might have a thousand years ago.
Two years ago, I had a sort of mystical experience here–at least it felt special to me, even though it might not seem remarkable if you weren’t there; I was looking at a petroglyph of a gecko and a gecko darted up onto the rock, ran over and stopped right by the gecko petroglyph. He stared at me for a little while, then darted off. It was kind of cool to think that some things haven’t changed in 1500 years since the Anasazi were here.