Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visiting Fort Deseret and the Great Stone Face in Utah

Fort Deseret, Utah

Fort Deseret is located about 10 miles outside of Delta, Utah.  It was erected in 1865, and is the only remaining adobe fort in Utah.  Several were constructed by Mormon pioneers to give added safety and security to their settlements and livestock.  Ft. Deseret was built during the Blackhawk wars in Utah.  The army was involved in the Civil War and could not protect the settlers.

Adobe walls - Fort Deseret interior

The fort was built of thick adobe (straw and mud mixed by oxen trampling on it).  The walls are built on a lava rock foundation.  They are thick, and about 10 feet high.  There are several portholes in strategic locations so that people in the fort could shoot out if necessary.

Gun porthole in the fort wall.

This is a nice little stop just outside of Delta.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.  There were a couple of picnic tables in clusters of shade trees outside of the fort, but otherwise there are no services here.  It is interesting to stop for a few minutes and walk around inside.  The fort is not terribly large, and I am sure the settlers were glad it was not necessary to use it very often!

Just beyond Fort Deseret is the turn off to the Great Stone Face.  This rock formation is said to look like the LDS prophet Joseph Smith.  As we turned west and headed for the Great Stone Face on a well-groomed and maintained gravel road, we saw a coyote trotting away across a field.  Just before you reach the Great Stone Face, you will see a sign marking the Great Stone Face Petroglyphs.

Great Stone Face Petroglyphs

The petroglyphs are marked by a BLM sign, and are fenced off to help discourage further damage and vandalism.  These particular petroglyphs are dated about 1000 A.D.


Petroglyphs fascinate me.  I love the stylized design, and although they may have been originally carved for some specific purpose, they seem like art to me today.  Just beyond the petroglyphs you can see the rock formation of the Great Stone Face.

Great Stone Face

This rock formation DOES look a lot like a person's profile, and it does resemble paintings of the LDS prophet Joseph Smith, so you can see why early settlers found a resemblance.

Great Stone Face close-up

To reach Fort Deseret, take Highway 257 from Delta, Utah (you will travel west, and south).  The fort is right off the road, about 2 miles beyond the town of Deseret.  Continue on the road to the turn off to the Great Stone Face.  That road is not paved, but is in really good condition.

If you are in Delta, Utah, consider driving a few miles further to visit these interesting places!

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