False Kiva

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False Kiva cave, 2012
False Kiva stone circle in Canyonlands National Park in Utah, United States.

False Kiva is a human-made stone circle of unknown origin[1] in a cave in a remote area of the Canyonlands National Park, which is located in U.S. state of Utah. It requires some hiking knowledge or special directions to find.[2]

It has become a popular spot for photographers capturing the Southwest, offering a unique frame for the dramatic thunderstorms or clear skies beyond.[3]


While located in a naturally occurring alcove, the name False Kiva arises from the uncertainty around the circle of stones' origins and purpose, whether it is really an authentic kiva, a location used for religious purposes.[4]

Disclosure controversy[edit]

Debate rages on whether to disclose the exact location of False Kiva[5] as it enjoys a semi-protected status. While park rangers are required to disclose the location of the Class II site, it does not appear on official maps of the park. Because of the remoteness of the location, the site itself is not protected from vandalism of any kind.

However, local guides are available to take interested parties to the site, raising questions as to whether closely guarding the location of False Kiva is particularly effective. The trailhead to False Kiva is not marked or signed from park roads, but the route itself is marked by cairns in several locations, and can be accessed without technical climbing equipment.[6]


Logan, Utah artist Keith Bond was commissioned in 2006 to paint a landscape for the Senate Chamber of the Utah State Capitol. He painted False Kiva in a mural titled Ancestral Home which hangs on the western end of the ceiling above the senate floor.[7]

A photograph of False Kiva by Wally Pacholka, entitled "A True Image of False Kiva,"[8] was featured on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on September 29, 2008,[9] giving an almost otherworldly view into the Milky Way.


  1. ^ "False Kiva | Andre Gunther Photography". Aguntherphotography.com. Archived from the original on 2010-04-04. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  2. ^ http://www.opentravelinfo.com/travel-guide/north-america/u-s-a/arizona/native-american-sites-of-the-southwest.html
  3. ^ "Canyonlnads_scouting". F-8andbethere.com. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Dave Valvo". Dave Valvo. Archived from the original on 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ "Luminous Landscape Forum > Direction to False Kiva in Canyonlands?". Luminous-landscape.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Martres, Laurent. Photographing the Southwest, Volume 1: Southern Utah. ISBN 978-0916189129. 
  7. ^ "Utah State Capitol official website". http://utahstatecapitol.utah.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-21.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ "TWAN project official website". Twanight.org. Archived from the original on 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  9. ^ Nemiroff, R.; Bonnell, J., eds. (29 September 2008). "A True Image from False Kiva". Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA. Retrieved 2010-03-16.