FOUR HIKES YOU HAVE TO SEE TO BELIEVE
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. This 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 turns a brilliant red in 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.
Three majestic natural bridges invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape defined by its absence. Hikers can view the bridges from the driving loop above, but where is the fun in that? Hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Sipapu is the biggest bridge in terms of height and span, and the most impressive when viewed from below. The one mile round trip journey is somewhat difficult, and has some parts where ladders are installed to traverse vertical cliffs, yet the trail is popular since the bridge is the first along the park road, and arguably the best. This hike is 1.2-miles round trip.
Kachina is characterized by a relatively small opening beneath a very thick span, making the arch difficult to spot from the highway. The path to the bridge is the longest of the three so not as many people make the hike, despite it being quite easy. The trail begins next to Kachina overlook. This hike is 1.4-miles round trip.
Owachomo is the easiest of the three bridges to view from below. The fairly gentle trail starts at the roadside viewpoint, and
ends at the slickrock bowl directly beneath the bridge. The bridge spans 180 feet but is just 9 feet thick so will be the first of the three to break, yet it is still likely to survive for several more centuries. This hike is 0.4-miles round trip. All three hikes are pet and family friendly.
Natural Bridges has one of the darkest skies in the US, with almost no light pollution. It is one of the great places in Utah to take stunning night sky photos. That prompted the International Dark-Sky Association to designate Natural Bridges National Monument as the world's first International Dark Sky Park. Click Here For Driving Directions
CEDAR MESA / LOWER ROAD CANYON
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 slickrock, 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 a 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.
High-clearance vehicles are recommend for the drive out to the trail head. Click Here for driving directions.
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 is 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