Range Creek has been recognized as a national treasure because of the high density of virtually undisturbed prehistoric sites that have been found. Over five hundred sites have been identified and recorded including storage sites (granaries, caches, & cists), rock imagery, residential sites, and artifact scatters. Most of the sites are associated with the Fremont archaeological complex, a term used to describe Utah's earliest farmers who inhabited the region from about CE 300 - 1350. Based on the results of radiocarbon dating it appears that prehistoric occupation of the canyon may have been particularly intense from CE 900 - 1200, a time when Fremont archaeology as we know it dissappears from the record.
The Recent History of Range Creek 1885 - 2001
In 1884, Deputy U.S. Surveyor, Augustus Ferron rediscovered a small, perennial stream in a remote and unsettled canyon on the plateau. He called the stream Ranch Creek. The following year, Ferron and four partners renamed the stream Range Creek and formed the Range Valley Cattle Company. For 115 years this remote valley along Range Creek was devoted to cattle ranching.
Geography & Geology
Towering cliffs and steep unstable slopes make access to Range Creek difficult. The formidable features of the natural setting are undoubtedly part of the reason that the archaeological record is so well preserved but it also presents a challenge to researchers trying to gain access to the sites.
From the headwaters of Range Creek, at about 10,000 feet above sea level to its confluence with the Green River thirty miles and 6000 feet lower, Range Creek flows through several easily recognizable plant communities. Growing in each of these communities are edible wild plants that would have been part of the prehistoric diet.
Range Creek is home to a variety of wildlife species, each living in the area best suited to their needs. Learn more about the large and small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds that live in Range Creek Canyon.