Visions Of The Cosmos

Nearest Area
Canyonlands National Park
Brief Directions

The best directions I can tell you is that the parking to get to this site is on Upheaval Dome Road. In respect to the fragile nature of this site as well as to not get anyone lost, I am foregoing providing any elaborate directions.


My first reaction to the place was awe. It was larger than I imagined. The view out was also more dramatic than I had seen in photographs or what I imagined. When we weren't talking to each other, the only thing that you could hear was a slight whisper of the wind. Sometimes you would hear the flapping of birds' wings echoing from above. It was a very special place and it makes you wonder what the ancient peoples would have done there so long ago. They certainly knew how to pick the view! The main event of the night was star photography. Used an LED spotlight in combination with the Gary Fong Amber Dome, over the spotlight to act as a diffuser and add some soft, warm light to the alcove and the stone ring. Again the ISO was really high, experimenting with ISO-1600 and 3200. For the 30 second exposure I settled on a little less than a third of that time spent light painting the alcove. It worked out better than my expectations. As it turned dark, mice began to come out and scurry around our feet, every once in a while messing with gear or packs. We'd shine a light at them and they would scatter. But we finally nailed down our shots and decided to head out. Christian carried a big Dewalt work light with him, which lit up the entire cliff-side and helped us easily navigate our way out. It took about 50 minutes to climb back out and get back to the parking area for Alcove Springs. Another 45 minute drive back to my hotel afterwards and it was again after midnight. Two days of being up before sunrise and up past midnight and I had some serious red eye. But the shots I brought back were completely worth it!


The name of this place is False Kiva. A kiva is a subterranean room found in ruins in the American Southwest. The structure was used for religious or cultural uses by people such as the Ancient Pueblo Indians. As the human-made stone circle at False Kiva does not have any entrance to a subterranean room, it is not a real kiva, hence the name. The alcove in the canyon wall is fairly large, probably 50 or 60 feet from left to right and a third as high. The stone structure itself is about 15 foot in diameter, with a grainery ruin and several archeological dig spots located against the back wall. The origin and purpose of False Kiva is not clearly known. False Kiva is a Class II archeological site, meaning you will not find a reliable, exact location or directions to get there very easily. In some ways, that is a good thing as the remoteness of the site finds less public exposure than most other spots in Canyonlands. This site was first made popular by photographers such as Tom Till, a local Moab photographer. It offers a very unique frame to take shots from Island in the Sky towards the canyons, buttes and sky in the south.

Date Added
January 9, 2013
Date Taken
January 9, 2013

Leave a Reply

Main Menu