Monday, July 13, 2015

Name repetition confusion abounds in Utah’s outdoors -- Don’t get lost in a ‘Dry Canyon’

    The north end of “Dry Canyon,” along Highway 89, between Brigham City and Logan, headed down to “Dry Lake.” (“Sardine Canyon” is the popular nickname for this entire area.) Forty-six Utah canyons are named Dry Canyon, making it the most overused place name in the entire State.

By Lynn Arave

IT is rather surprising how many place names are duplicated in the State of Utah. Unique names are a rarity.
You would think that Weber County settlers would NOT have named two canyons “Cold Water Canyon,” but they did – even though they are only about six air miles apart.
In Salt Lake County it is even worse. There are three different “Twin Peaks” in 20 miles of the Wasatch Mountains, stretching from above the University of Utah to just south of Snowbird. (And, state-wide there are another 12 other Twin Peaks to be found.)
However, Carbon County is the granddaddy of duplicates with six different “Bear” Canyons.
And, if you ever become lost in Utah’s outdoors, hope it is NOT in a “Dry Canyon.” There are some 46 canyons in the Beehive State sharing that title and so rescuers could easily become confused.
The nation’s second driest state has a fleet of Dry Canyons. Tooele County alone contains five different Dry Canyons. Kane and Duchesne counties have four each. Of Utah’s 29 counties, only five lack a Dry Canyon.
There are also Dry Canyons northeast of Brigham City; by the North Ogden Divide; in Ogden Canyon; east of the town of Uintah; and one in Morgan County too.
"Dry" is also one the more popular geographical monikers Utah overall. There are some 250 “Dry” names, counting canyons, hollows, forks, creeks, lakes and washes.
The second most popular name is “Cottonwood,” with 40 different versions. Grand and San Juan counties each boast four different Cottonwood Canyons.
“Pole” is the third most popular title with 38 variations and Utah County has four Pole Canyons.
Plus, to round out the 10 most common Utah canyon  place names, there are 30 separate Rock Canyons; 30 Spring Canyons; 29 Water Canyons; 29 Trail Canyons; 26 Bear Canyon; 22 Long Canyons and 20 Horse Canyons.
Big, Black, Box Elder, Broad, Bull, Coal, Corral, Cow, Coyote, Deep, Fish, Flat, Maple, Mill, Pine, Red and Sawmill are all monikers in 10 or more Utah canyons.
Besides Canyons, there are at least two dozen different “Narrows" in Utah, including the world-famous Zion Narrows.
In addition, there are 16 different Black Mountains to hike in Utah; 14 Little Mountains and 11 different Bald Mountains.
 Mud Springs boasts 50 versions; Willow Springs, 40;  Cottonwood Springs, 26; Rock Springs, 26; and Cold Springs, 21, comprise other heavily used Utah monikers.
The Little Valley name is the most used valley term, with 29 versions – including a Little Valley that’s above South Farmington. Birch Creek has 32 renditions; Willow Creek 26; and Cottonwood Creek 24 total.
There are more than two dozen Spring Hollows and Dry Forks in Utah; plus more Left-Hand this and Right-Hand that places than anyone would want to total.
Lake names too may not be unique. There are 15 Blue Lakes; 15 Dry Lakes; 13 Mud Lakes; seven Big Lakes and four separate Bear Lakes in the Beehive State.
The High Uintas contains many duplicate names too. For example, there are at least two Lost Lakes, a pair of Wall Lakes, several Island Lakes and two Lilly Lakes there.

          Noah’s Ark in southern Utah is one of the State’s more unusual of place names.

-To be fair, Utah does contain some unique and colorful place names too. Among them are:
Accident Canyon, Ant Peak, Baboon Seep, Bellyache Canyon, Beer Bottle Spring, Blubber Creek, Brew Canyon, Convulsion Canyon, Dead Ox Peak, Girl Hollow, Hang Dog Creek, Horsethief Canyon, Keg Spring, Noah’s Ark, No Man's Mountain, No Man's Canyon , Shoofly Hill, Skull Crack Canyon, Sunday Canyon and Weed Basin.
Finally, Hell Canyon, Morgan County, is not an unusual title, but it does connect directly with Paradise Canyon.

SOURCE: United State Geological Survey database.

(-Published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on July 13, 2015.).

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:

No comments:

Post a Comment