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The River House Ruin is located on the south eastern edge of Bears Ears National Monument, Shash Jaa Unit. River House has multiple rooms that are single and two-stories, a kiva and an assortment of pictographs. Just west of the ruin there are a couple more rooms and granaries as well as a few interesting petroglyphs that include a kokopelli and a bird. The way into River House Ruin follows a portion of the route traveled in 1879 by a group of Mormon pioneers as they began the famed Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition. This same route treks through historic San Juan Hill and the Barton Trading Post. More Info -


For those wanting to drive all the way to the site, a high clearance 4WD vehicle or 4WD OHV is required. Follow the wash for about 3.8 miles. Upon exiting the wash, you'll find a fork.  Stay left, for a few hundred feet, and the road turns sharply to the left and climbs a steep rocky hill. Once you're up, follow the road another .7 miles and you'll arrive at your destination.   

At the top of the steep section of road the Hole-in-the-Rock trail takes the left fork towards San Juan Hill. You can take a detour over there and take a look at one of the final phases of the Mormon Pioneers endeavor to establish Bluff. If you have 15 minutes its worth the detour. 

On your way back, be sure to stop in at Sand Island and check out the large petroglyph panel down by the San Juan River. 


To get to the ruins from Blanding drive south on US191 for about 29 miles and then continue onto Us163 for another 4 miles. As the highway descend down the west side of Comb Ridge. Turn left onto San Juan County Road 235 and enter Comb Wash. As mentioned above, high clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended at this point.


The opportunity to explore these ruins with no supervision also comes with a responsibility. Ranger patrols are infrequent, and it is up to visitors to ensure they view and explore the sites without causing damage.

Plan Ahead, Gas Up, Take Water & Tread Lightly. 
Cell service & Other Services Are Limited In This Region. 

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