Many fellow photographers have asked me how to get to False Kiva in Canyonlands Utah. I realize also that many people including the Park Rangers in Canyonlands discourage people from going to False Kiva as they do not want the site destroyed. So if you plan on going I advise you NOT to disrupt the Kiva and LEAVE NO TRACE as to your visit. Please do not even sit on the Kiva rocks. Enter quietly, execute your photography and leave without a trace.
Now for the good part…..False Kiva is a mystical place in my opinion. You will be busy setting up for your shot and finding the right angle to shoot. BUT Wait…STOP….and sit down in the back of the alcove and just admire the view. It is awesome. I can imagine ancient civilizations/families sitting in this alcove, making dinner and watching the sun go down over the Canyonlands. It is beautiful. Take your time…after all you hiked a long way to get to the Kiva and let’s face it….it’s not exactly an easy hike. To get to False Kiva you take the road to Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands. Before you get to Upheaval Dome parking you will see a small turnout on the right hand side of the road. This turnout is a turnout, not a parking lot. Please refer to the map below for the correct turnout. From that turn out you walk back about 50 yards or so on the opposite side of the road and you will find the trail. The trail is unmarked but is a flat kinda sandy trail leading to the southwest. Refer to map below for trailhead location.
From there just follow the trial until you are walking on slick-rock. Look for rock cairns along the way and if you see one knocked down please rebuild it. Also, beware of false rock cairns as there are many people that do not want you to find False Kiva so they try to mislead you. Once you are at the edge of the cliff (See Video below) you will hike to the right horizontally along the canyon interior wall which is steep. You will walk past the alcove which you will see above you. Once past and below the alcove you will traverse upward towards the alcove to enter. It is very steep and extremely loose rocks upwards to the alcove so be careful and make sure you have a good footing. Wallah!!! your at False Kiva…Enjoy!
[Note: I do not recommend this hike for anyone that is elderly or out of physical shape, not an easy hike and lots of loose rocks….be aware of your limitations and take plenty of water]
Click on Map for larger view
Video from iPhone 4
© Copyright Robert Shreve Photography