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False Kiva

A view of paradise when nature and man made structures meet together in harmony

It was a beautiful moment, very, very quiet that I can hear only my own breathing! The soft light of the sun just lower behind canyon rim still well-lit the mesa. This is my favorite shot with 20 mm lens, combine from 5 shots of HDR, not too wide with kiva is off center a bit to the left side. The trip was in the end of April 2018.

Another similar shot, but the Kiva is approximately in center, leading to the Candlestick in distance.

Most people like to take full view of the alcove with extremely wide angle like 10mm, this shot I made a set of a stitch panoramic 7 frames vertically 20mm lens using Manfrotto Spherical Head , each frame contains 5 HDR images. It’s complicate 35 shots but I found it is not very concentrate since the top alcove competes major interest with the circle of Kiva.

What is False Kiva, where it’s located? False Kiva is a man-made stacked stones circle of unknown origin in an alcove, a remote area of the Canyonlands National Park, located in state of Utah USA. It first popularized by the photographer Tom Till more than 10 years ago, now has become an iconic photo spot of the Southwest America. This photo location isn’t listed on any park maps, it’s a class II archeological site and park rangers will provide directions to the site if asked.

The trail is not too difficult, but requires some health and careful hike on loose rocky slopes and very steep climbing at the return track. Below is the screen shot of the map, from Alcove Spring Trailhead parking lot to the alcove. Also, you can download the route that I created from the actual track I hiked using free Garmin BaseCamp

Download Route for GPS to False Kiva


You also can hike to there with above map and check points

Parking lot:     38°25’23.4″N 109°54’31.7″W

CP1: is a point you turn off road, about 100yds from parking lot.  38°25’15.8″N 109°54’30.9″W

CP2: is the trail seems to disappear     38°25’14.5″N 109°54’38.4″W

CP3: This point you reach a cliff, need to slightly heading left than going down the dry gorge    38°25’07.6″N 109°54’44.0″W

CP4: to cross the gorge and continue  38°25’06.5″N 109°54’45.9″W

CP5, you reach the cliff edge, you can see a broad view with candlesticks mesa on the left, you must turn right toward the small alcove where the False Kiva is.  38°25’03.0″N 109°54’58.2″W

False Kiva:  Please note that these coordinates are about 400 feet on top of the alcove, not at the location where the alcove is in the mesa’s wall, so when you are about near to mesa’s wall, your GPS will give an error, that’s still OK since you be already there. Same situation will happen when you going out, GPS will not give direction until you hike away from the stone wall               38°25’07.7″N 109°55’07.3″W

Above is the profile of the track, notice after 0.7 mile hike from parking, you will reach CP5 which is a cliff edge about 1000 feet height from the canyon floor, it’s beautiful view, but do not stand at the extremely of cliff edge (refer to panorama photo below) then you have to hike down hill on right sharply 720 feet in only 0.3 mile, then hike 0.4 mile, 400 feet up to alcove, see the small black alcove below red arrow on the right of photo. That is 1.4 mile one way on foot.

Special note: An appropriate pair of hiking shoe should be used. No matter if you plan to stay a night there or heading out before dark, you need a tested head lamp and batteries last for 3 hours with you. At least 1/2 gallon of wafer is with you, I found mixing Pedialyte Powder when drink is excellent benefit, you’ll love it ♥ Please treat Kiva with respect and not entered or disturbed. Thanks for viewing the blog. ♥ ♥


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