Journey to the False Kiva

December 16, 2012  •  1 Comment

 

False Kiva Video False Kiva A couple of years ago, traveling under the pen names of Louie & Lester Loupe, Doug Whitney http://dprestonwhitney.zenfolio.com and I tried to find the False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park.  Kivas are chambers, built wholly or partly underground, used by the Pueblo and Hopi people for religious rites.  Many kivas are circular rooms which are often sunken into the ground, bearing a thatch roof with a central opening and ladder for entry. The ruin at False Kiva is just a low circular wall, so it is not known whether this was a true kiva or not, hence the name.  Nobody knows exactly when it was built, but the best guess dates it back to the 1200’s.

The hike is not in any guidebook, not on any map, nor are there any signs marking the start of the trail – it is, for all intents and purposes, a secret.  False Kiva is a Class II archaeological site, which means it is active and unprotected, and the Park Service wants to minimize disruption and traffic. Louie had a guide book for photographers that gave us directions to the trail head, so the first day we set out with our gear to the Kiva. Below is a photo where we wound up after am hour of hiking.

No kiva anywhere to be found. Straight down thousands of feet to the canyon floor. Zip. Nada. That night at dinner we asked the locals where the False Kiva was. Zip. Nada. "secret". The next day we tried again and found a trail off the road. We followed the trail down a rocky outcrop, along a death defying narrow trail for an hour or more at which point it started to wind up hill. No kiva in sight. 

 

If heights bother you, then this hike is not for you. Let me tell you that the trail was narrow and scary. It drops off to a thousands of feet below and is only fit for Bighorn Sheep (and Louie & Lester). No kiva in sight until we realized it was about 50 feet above us. We climbed up the trail even further, clambered over boulders to the entrance to the False Kiva. It is amazing anyone ever found this place. You cannot see it until you are ten yards from the entrance. Unfortunately, we left all our camera gear in the car. Great move on our part. Yet, we found it!

The next day, we were armed to the teeth with camera gear, ropes and all the necessary equipment to head back to the False Kiva. I am not going to tell you or anyone where it is. The adventure is to find it yourself. This Google Earth shot will give you some perspective what we were up against. The yellow pin is the False Kiva.

Here is a parting shot of the intrepid adventurers.

 

 

 

Comments

Edward(non-registered)
The false kiva photo is one of the highest quality photographs I have ever seen online... Outstanding resolution...
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