Welcome to my article on Nine Mile Canyon. I recently had the pleasure of visiting this canyon with @visitutah to film an IGTV episode and this place blew me away with its spiritual energy! In this piece, I would love to share with you my experiences at Nine Mile Canyon and provide you with some recommendations. Before we get started, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Stacie Denetsosie – from the Instagram @navajodarling. I’m a member of the Navajo Nation and my clans are Todích’íí’nii (Bitterwater) and born for Naakaii Dine’é (Mexican). I was born in Kayenta, Arizona but grew up in Cache Valley in Northern Utah. I currently reside in Cache Valley on the beautiful lands of the Eastern Shoshone and Shoshone Bannock.
Taking the odyssey from Utah to Kayenta was a common occurrence and one that I loved. My mom would joke that the only time I sat still was in the car when I was lost in thought – watching Utah melt into Arizona.
For me, spending 8/9 hours in a car, confined to a single space, was a playground for my imagination because everything outside the window became fodder for a story. As such, it’s no surprise that many of my stories center on a Navajo character exploring the areas I loved on the drive home.
My Heritage as a Proud Indigenous Navajo Woman
As an indigenous person, our homelands are who we are and the land is intricately tied into our language, our prayers, our rites of passage and ceremonies. As a young Navajo child, I was taught that living within our four sacred mountains – Mt. Blanca to the east, Mt. Taylor to the south, San Francisco Peak to the west and Mt. Hesperus to the north near Durango, Colorado – would offer protection and guidance from the Holy People.
Being home for me is a spiritual experience, one that I feel is aided by ancestral memory. As for Utah heritage, I would say that I have a lot of love for Northern Utah – the limestone, trees, greenery and marshlands. I like to think of Utah as a very close friend who can always anticipate my needs and fufill them with flying colors. I love how diverse Utah is. You have snow, sandstone and mountains. It’s just the best state for diversity in landscape!
Why Utah is so Incredibly Beautiful
Utah is so geologically diverse. The official travel slogan of this state by Visit Utah is “Life Elevated” which makes total sense. What I love most about getting outdoors and exploring Utah is seeking out indigenous histories in places visitors may not necessarily see indigenous connections.
I like finding petroglyphs and pictographs in the area or visiting Native owned trading posts or buying from indigenous roadside vendors. I like considering how modern indigenous peoples, as well as ancestral indigenous peoples, lived in a specific area. On some of my Utah adventures, I like to pretend it’s MTV Ancestral Indigenous Cribs!
Exploring Nine Mile Canyon with Visit Utah
I filmed an IGTV episode with @visitutah at Nine Mile Canyon, as well as filming at some other sites in Southeastern Utah. Nine Mile Canyon is just a very spiritual place to be. From the cottonwood trees to the petroglyphs – it holds a different energy. It’s a very calming and relaxing place to explore.
Nine Mile Canyon should be on everyone’s list because it makes history immediate. Plus it’s a great reminder that indigenous people consider the US as our old world. It’s the only country we have ever known. I think it’s a great place to find indigenous history and connect to a unique energy.
I love the Fremont Village site along the road. It’s a short hike (pretty steep) but once you get up, there are some Fremont buildings which look like semi circles. If you go past the Fremont Village you will be standing on a cliff that overlooks Nine Mile Canyon Road. Seeing the road, fields and river bathed in golden light at sunset is worth the hike. My top highlights are the Fremont Village, the Big Buffalo and the Great Hunt Panel at the end.
Favorite Memory from Nile Mile Canyon
My IGTV episode with @visitutah was such a great experience. It was filled with many fantastic moments. One special moment was when we were filming in front of the Great Hunt Panel and the wind was blowing pretty hard. When I started talking about the significance of Nine Mile Canyon the wind came to a standstill. There was a calm that came over the crew and it was a confirmation to me that the things I was sharing were true.
Tips for your Visit to Nine Mile Canyon
There are some great campsites in Nine Mile Canyon. Definitely check those out if you are looking to stay overnight. On my trip with Visit Utah, I stayed in the Desert Rose Inn which was lovely. This place is suited for day trips, so accommodation may not be necessary for everyone.
When it comes to exploring Nine Mile Canyon, be sure not to touch or deface the petroglyphs or pictographs. The oils from your fingers can break down the etching and pigments over time. If you find an artifact, photograph it but don’t pack it out. If you pack anything in, pack it back out. During my visit, I saw water bottles, baby shoes and wrappers. It was very upsetting! Do your best to take care of this sacred place 🙂