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HOUSE ON FIRE
BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Located within Mule Canyon, is a cluster of Ancestral Puebloan ruins located in Bears Ears National Monument - Shash Jaa Unit. These well-preserved ruins found at this site are over 700 years old. This mesmerizing canyon is quiet and calm, where a hiker can travel in solitude and absorb the beauty of the landscape and envision the rich history of this site.

The House on Fire name comes from the intense patterns on the rock/roof above the structures that turn a brilliant red in the late morning light, making it look like a raging fire is engulfing the set of rooms. The most impressive photos of the House on Fire in the late morning. The glowing color comes from indirect light as the sun reflects off the opposite canyon wall. Later in the afternoon, the direct light and harsh shadows make it very difficult to get a good shot.

The 2.5-mile round trip trail is one of the easier canyons to access in Bears Ears National Monument. This hike is dog and family-friendly. Drive south out of Blanding and turn west onto Highway 95. Continue for 19.4 miles and turn right onto the Texas Flat Road. There is a fee station after turning off of the highway for anyone that is hiking in either fork of Mule Canyon.

MOON HOUSE RUIN
BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Of all the archaeology sites within Bears Ears National Monument, many hikers consider Moon House to be among the best sites to behold. Moon House is a well-preserved site, made up of three separate dwellings. These dwellings have a total of 49 rooms and are easily one of the largest on Cedar Mesa. Along with the well-preserved rooms, Moon House features fascinating pictographs on the interior walls of the structures. The pictographs are cycles of the moon, but some believe they could even be a depiction of an eclipse in the area. 

Starting from the 4WD parking area: The trail heads east through pinyon pine, junipers and desert scrub for 0.2 miles to the rim of the canyon. Be sure to look across the canyon and spot the ruins, you'll see them perched on the far side of the canyon wall. At the rim of the canyon, the trail drops down a series of switchbacks. Hikers will then travel along the ledge heading north. Look across the canyon as you proceed along the ledge. About three-quarters of the way up the far wall, you will see alcoves with ruins. Near the end of the ledge traverse views open to a long line of ruins, this is Moon House.

Round trip distance is 5.6-miles from the 2WD parking area and a round trip distance of 3.2-miles if hikers start at the 4WD parking area. Click Here For Driving Directions

THE CITADEL
CEDAR MESA/LOWER CANYON ROAD

The Citadel holds true to its name. This masterfully thought out fortification sits at the end of a peninsula in Lower Road Canyon. Simply put, there is only one way to access the ruins, and that is a land bridge that runs the length of the peninsula. The Citadel sits in a dramatic position overlooking the entire canyon that surrounds it. As you hike along the peninsula you will find yourself imagining the past inhabitants and how they used it as a lookout. 

The 4-mile round trip hike is pet and family-friendly. As you hike out to the Citadel Ruins, you'll first follow the mesa edge. The trail is well worn along the south rim of Road Canyon. The variations in elevation are very subtle making the trek along the rim easy. After the rim, the trail drops down to the slick rock, be sure to follow the cairns at this point. The trail eventually lands you down below to a long, narrow strip of a peninsula that is home to these ruins. The views from the ruin are stunning. In late Fall the ruins are graced by the blue sky and a red rock glow that is a must-see. In the late Spring and Summer months, the Citadel is best visited in the morning and mid-day if you want the best lighting for your photos. 

 

NOTE: High-clearance vehicles are recommended for the drive out to the trailhead. Click Here for driving directions.

These sites will make you question how the Anasazi people thrived in such remote locations, and connect you with rich cultural experiences and history that's thousands of years old.  Please tread lightly.

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