Ute Cultural Trees

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by Celinda Reynolds Kaelin. Copyright 2003

Throughout traditional Ute ancestral lands, hundreds of culturally scarred trees have been identified.  In the Pikes Peak area, these have been mapped and recorded by the Pikes Peak Historical Society, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Sanborn Western Camps/The Nature Place and independent experts such as archaeologist Marilyn A. Martorano.

These culturally scarred trees are of several different types:  (1) the Peeled Bark, or Medicine Trees, (2) the Bent or Prayer Trees, (3) arborglyphs or Message Trees, and (4) burial markers or Burial Trees.  In deference to the Ute Nation, I will use the terminology that my Ute consultants use.  Their lexicon generally refers to the different trees by functionality.... Click HERE to read the complete article on Ute Culturally Scarred Trees.

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Prayer Tree located at Stratton Open Space, near the Broadmore. One bent branch points to Pikes Peak and the other to Garden of the Gods.


Classic Prayer Tree, Black Forest

Prayer Tree, Black Forest

Prayer Tree, Black Forest

Medicine Tree and Ranger Harv Berman, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Medicine Tree near a cave