101 Ways to Experience San Juan County

101 Ways to Experience San Juan County

101 Ways to Experience San Juan County

The new ‘101 Ways to Experience San Juan County‘ guide is now available!  It’s actually been out for just over a month now, and we’re almost halfway through the time period for submitting photos for the competition.  Back again this year is the ‘101 Challenge’- a competition for visitors and residents to complete as many of the 101 things listed in the guide as possible between June 1st, 2016 and September 30th, 2016.  The grand prize is the winner’s choice of a jeep or a rafting trip with Four Corners Adventures.  Three 1st prizes of dinner for four at a local restaurant, and sixteen 2nd prizes of San Juan Record shoulder bags will also be given away.

This year I’ve decided to take on the challenge with my husband and son!  We’re off to a little bit of a slow start, but I know we’ll make it up as the summer goes on.  Here’s what we’ve done so far…

#1. Visit A Visitor Center

Blanding Visitor Center, Blanding, UT

Blanding Visitor Center, Blanding, UT

This one is easy- for my job I’m often picking up/dropping off brochures at the visitor centers in our area, but to remember to take a photo while I’m there… that was the challenge!

The staff at our local visitor centers have a wealth of knowledge about the area, and I’m always glad to see that ‘Visit a Visitor Center’ has been #1 for all three editions of the ‘101 Ways’ guides.  Brochures, maps, directions… they’re ready to help you with anything you need and get you on your way to explore this amazing area!

 

#18. Take a Walk & #57. Enjoy the Wildflowers

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Evening Walk on the Canyon Country Discovery Center Trails- Monticello, UT

We walk daily around town in Monticello; to the post office, to the store, in the evenings at the golf course and at the Millsite, but for the sake of the 101 Challenge, we decided to walk in an area we hadn’t ever been- here in Monticello the only place we hadn’t been to that was listed in the 101 Ways guide was on the trails at the Canyon Country Discovery Center.

Evening Walk on the Canyon Country Discovery Center Trails- Monticello, UT

Sego Lily along the Canyon Country Discovery Center Trails- Monticello, UT

Evening Walk on the Canyon Country Discovery Center Trails- Monticello, UT

Prickly Pear Cactus at the Canyon Country Discovery Center Trails- Monticello, UT

The trails are really nice out there, there were quite a few flowers blooming along the trail, and we also saw some wildlife.  We saw lots of birds and a few rabbits, but the highlight of our walk was definitely the owl that flew out of a low tree while we were walking past it.  It was so big I thought it was a hawk at first, but I quickly realized that it definitely wasn’t a hawk.  I wondered for a split second if it could have been an owl, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen an owl in the wild before.  But just as I started to dismiss the idea that it could have been an owl, my husband confirmed that it was in fact, an owl, and we’re pretty sure it was a Great Horned Owl due to the ear tufts we both caught a quick glance of as it flew to another tree.  How cool is that?!  We’re definitely planning to walk out there again, and we’re hoping we might get to see that owl again!  *I’ll have my camera ready next time!

#20. Visit the Latigo Wind Farm

Latigo Wind Farm- Monticello, UT

Latigo Wind Farm- Monticello, UT

Latigo Wind Farm- Monticello, UT

Latigo Wind Farm- Monticello, UT

We drove out to the Latigo Wind Farm last night to check out the windmills and see how close we would be able to get to them.  It turns out, you’re able to get fairly close to the windmills, but I was a little disappointed that you aren’t able to walk right up to the base of any of them.

When I was living in Japan I had a friend who spoke next to no English, so we relied mostly on my Japanese to communicate.  He kept saying he wanted to take me somewhere, but as many times as we talked about it, I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to describe to me, but I was open to the adventure and got in his car one day with no idea of where we were going.  We drove up into the mountains for at least an hour and he finally pulled up at the base of a giant windmill just like the ones we have in Monticello now.  It was really cool to be able to stand right at the base of one of these huge windmills and watch the blade going around and around.  I wish we were able to do that here in Monticello too- it’s a pretty amazing experience!

I actually feel a little guilty about this one because my dad was just visiting a few weeks before the challenge started, and was fascinated with the windmills and wanted to drive out to see them.  I told him that I doubted that you were able to drive out to them, and that he could see them fine from town anyway.  When the new ‘101 Ways…’ came out right after he left and I saw that #20 was to visit the wind farm, I felt so bad that I hadn’t made an effort to find out if it was okay to drive out there or not.  I’ll definitely take him out there on his next visit!

#38. Stargazing

Looking at Saturn at Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

Looking at Saturn at Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

If you haven’t read my last post, ‘Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center‘, go read it now!  And then go to their weekly program- you’ll be glad you did!

#58. Submit a Photo to the San Juan Record ‘Photo of the Week Contest’

My photo on the cover of the San Juan Record!

My photo on the cover of the San Juan Record!

Not only did I submit a photo, but it was selected for the cover of the San Juan Record! (Got my $10 check in the mail yesterday too!)

#87. Fishing

Just a week before Free Fishing Day, the Department of Wildlife Resources put on a family fishing clinic up at Lloyd’s Lake.  We took our son and they had a bunch of fishing poles all set up and ready for kids to practice casting with.  I have to admit, it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve fished… I used to live in Alaska and I LOVED salmon fishing, and honestly, ever since then I’ve felt like it kind of ruined me for fishing down here in our stocked ponds and reservoirs.  Luckily, one of the DWR guys took my son over to the casting area and showed him what to do.  I was really shocked that my son could cast as well as he did!  He’s just a couple months shy of his 4th birthday, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be able to pick it up so quickly, but he did, and he was really good at it!  (And I don’t think it’s just because I’m his mom that I think that… the DWR guy kept saying it too!)

Fishing at Foy Lake- Monticello, UT

Free Fishing Day 2016- Foy Lake- Monticello, UT

Free Fishing Day 2016 at Foy Lake- Monticello, UT

Free Fishing Day 2016- Foy Lake- Monticello, UT

Over the next week we found him a kids fishing pole- he wanted a ‘Frozen’ one, and normally we’d let him pick, but this time we decided to overrule him since we’re hoping he’ll be able to use the fishing pole for at least a couple years.  We were kind of thinking that his current love of the movie would probably not last as long as we’re hoping that the fishing pole will, so we got him a ‘Cars’ one instead.

Since he’s still only 3, every day is free fishing day for him, (fishing in Utah is free to children under the age of 12) but I was hoping that he might give me a turn or two with his fishing pole, so that was why we decided to go up to Foy Lake on free fishing day.

Believe it or not, in a lake stocked with thousands of fish, we didn’t catch anything!  I’m pretty sure we didn’t have the right kind of lures or bait- we really had no idea what we needed, we just bought something that looked similar to what they were showing us at the DWR family fishing clinic.  I was very torn between hoping my son would catch one, and hoping he wouldn’t!  I worked in a fish processing plant for 5 summers through college, and I think I can safely say that I’m an expert fish cleaner!  So on one hand, I was kind of hoping he’d catch one so that I could see if I still had my skills, (and of course I wanted him to experience the excitement of getting to reel in a fish!) but on the other hand, he’s allergic to fish so I knew that he wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it!  I suppose the 3rd option was that we also could have put it back, but since we didn’t catch anything anyway, we didn’t end up having to make the decision.

Even without catching any fish, we had a great time up at Foy Lake.  There are several lakes up on the mountain just outside of Monticello, and it may sound weird, but I think we kind of forget that they’re there!  Once we were up there, I was wishing we had planned better and brought lunch with us.  It’s so beautiful and peaceful up on the mountain- I could have spent all day up there!  We’ll definitely have to do that the next time we go!

(*Also, now that I’m sitting here typing this, I see that I missed an opportunity to get #89 on the list- Bird Watch.  There were some really beautiful birds up there that I don’t remember seeing before.  I would have taken pictures if I’d realized that it was on the list! )

#94. Build a Fire

#94. on the 101 Ways to Experience San Juan County list- Build a Fire

#94. Build a Fire (101 Ways to Experience San Juan County)

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to have fires in our back yard, so I was happy to see that this was on the 101 list!  We do this at least once a week, so this was by far the easiest thing on the list for us to check off!  And of course, you can’t have a fire without s’mores!

101 Ways to Experience San Juan County

#94. Build a Fire (101 Ways to Experience San Juan County)

#96. Picnic at a Campground

Breakfast at Warner Lake Campground- La Sal Mountains- San Juan County, UT

Breakfast at Warner Lake Campground- La Sal Mountains- San Juan County, UT

In the end of June some friends invited us up to Warner Lake in the La Sal Mountains to camp with them.  What a beautiful place!  I can’t believe we’d never been up there before!  We’re planning another trip up there this summer, so stay tuned for a blog post on it!

#101. Grow Something

#101. Grow Something (101 Ways to Experience San Juan County)

#101. Grow Something (101 Ways to Experience San Juan County)

As easy as this sounds, this was our first year since we moved to Monticello that we planted a vegetable garden.  I’d planted (small) gardens before and swore that I wasn’t going to do it again until I owned a house, but it took us several years to get our house and yard in shape enough that we felt like we were ready to tackle a garden.

More than anything, I really wanted my son to experience the process of planting, growing, and harvesting vegetables ourselves.  When I was growing up my dad always planted a huge garden and although I hated having to help pull weeds, one of my best childhood memories is picking warm, ripe tomatoes from the vine and eating them like an apple right there in the middle of the garden.

So for our first year we just put in one small raised bed and squeezed as much into it as we possibly could.  We took our son with us to Muhlestein’s- our local nursery- and let him help pick out what kinds of vegetables we were going to plant.  We ended up with zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, poblano peppers, onions, and we also bought one of the starts for the giant pumpkins that are part of the contest they hold in October!  (The person with the heaviest pumpkin wins an ipad mini!)

Even trying to keep it small, we still bought too much for our raised bed, so we have one of the tomato plants and the pumpkin planted in another area along with about 6-8 raspberry plants we were given by someone who was thinning out their garden.

First veggies from our garden!

First veggies from our garden!

Although we’ve done almost everything on the list, this is all we’ve done so far this summer, so we definitely have a lot of work to do!  I think I’ll try to hit as many of the Monticello locations as we can on the weekday evenings, then hopefully we can hit 1 or 2 locations around the county each weekend.

I know that they need to change it up a little bit each year, but there were two things in particular that I was really sad to see that were not included on the list this year; The Monticello Ghost Tour and Go Geocaching.  If you’re feeling ambitious and finish the current 101 things on the list, by all means- both of these are well worth your time!

Posted in Blanding, Evening Programs, Fishing, Flowers, Geocaching, Hiking, Monticello, Museums, Things to do for FREE!, Things to do with kids, Travel, Utah, Visitor Centers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center

Using SkyView to locate the constellations- Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, UT

Using SkyView to locate constellations at Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center

For maybe the first time ever since moving to Monticello just over 7 years ago, there were two different things happening on a Friday night that I wanted to go to!  Now I’m not complaining, this is a good problem to have- I’m just not used to there being multiple things to do on a Friday night here!

But last Friday night was different- there was an outdoor movie showing at Veteran’s Park and Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discover Center.  Luckily they are both ongoing events throughout the summer, so I knew there would be many more chances to go to both, but I really try to support ANYTHING that’s going on in town in hopes that if there’s a good turn-out, maybe things will be held more frequently.  And I do mean anything!  I drag my family to any and every concert in the park- doesn’t matter what kind of music it is- we go!  We go to open houses, ranch roping, free lectures & films, gas station grand openings, (don’t even get me started on the Maverick Grand Opening back in 2011!  In the 7 years we’ve been here, this might still be the biggest event we’ve been to in town!) you name it, we’re there!

So, faced with the dilemma of choosing which event to attend, I finally decided… to go to both!  (My husband was not thrilled with this, but I eventually broke him down!)  So just as we would have normally been putting our son in bed for the night, we got in the car and headed to the park to catch the first 30 minutes or so of the outdoor movie.  Last week the movie was an old John Wayne western- Hondo.  I’m not a fan of western movies, so that actually helped make the decision to go to Stars & S’mores that much easier!

At about 8:30ish we made our exit and got back in the car to head up to the Canyon Country Discovery Center on the hill on the north end of town.  This was the 3rd weekend that they’ve held their Stars & S’mores program and I had heard from some friends who work up there that it had been going pretty well and that they’d been getting a mix of people from town and visitors staying in the hotels.  When we pulled into the parking lot, I was actually kind of surprised by the number of cars that were there!  It was more than I was expecting, but I was happy to see that word was starting to get out, and that people were taking advantage of such a cool program being held right in town.

San Juan County, Utah is home to four Dark Sky Parks; Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.  Each of these parks is just about an hour from Monticello, and Monticello sits smack-dab in the middle of them, so you know we have great night sky viewing here!  (It’s said that we have one of the darkest night skies in the lower 48!) Each of these parks holds Ranger-led Astronomy Programs on a regular basis throughout the summer, and the programs I’ve been to have all been awesome.  I’m not even into astronomy, and I loved them!  The only drawback to attending them is if you’re not camping at the parks, it’s a bit of a drive back to town late at night after the programs end.

We haven’t attended one of the park programs in the 4 years since our son was born for that very reason- they start late at night, then we’d also have to add an hour of driving to get back home, so we’d likely not get our son to bed before about 11:30 or so, which is much too late.  But don’t get me wrong, the programs in the parks are seriously amazing, and I highly recommend them to anyone visiting our area.  They are just a little bit hard to take little kids to, which is why I was so excited that the Canyon Country Discovery Center started doing the Stars & S’mores program- it’s right here in town, which makes it much more doable to bring little kids to!  Hooray!

Roasting Marshmallows at Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, UT

Roasting Marshmallows at Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

We went into the center and paid at the front desk, (it’s $3/person and well worth it!) and were then directed down the hall past the rock climbing wall, to a door that led out to the courtyard and pond.  It was still twilight as we stepped outside, and we could see that the marshmallow roasting was already well underway.  They had a table set up with marshmallow roasting sticks, s’mores fixin’s, and drinks that people could help themselves to.  And let me tell you, there were a lot of kids there, and they were definitely helping themselves!  My son was no exception- he immediately stuffed a marshmallow in his mouth, then got to work roasting not one, but two marshmallows!

Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, UT

Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

*Notice my son’s shirt in the photo above?  He wanted to wear it that morning when I told him that we were going to a Stars & S’mores party that night!

Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, UT

The perfect s’more! Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, UT

My son is not quite four yet, and still has no patience for the process behind making the perfect s’more, which is by far my favorite summertime tradition!  He’ll usually roast one marshmallow himself which he may or may not make into a s’more, then he’ll want my husband or I to roast the next one, then he just moves on to eating them straight out of the bag!

Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

Looking at Saturn at Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

My son’s first up-close look at Saturn- Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

By the time we’d roasted a few marshmallows each, it was dark enough to get the telescopes set up and to look at some planets.  They had 3 telescopes set up and focused one in on Jupiter, one on Mars, and the last one on Saturn, which is my son’s favorite planet.  I was so excited for him to get to see it through a telescope- it was small, but you could definitely see the rings!

Stars & S'mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

Stars & S’mores at the Canyon Country Discovery Center- Monticello, UT

Another really cool thing they had for us to use, was a whole stack of ipads with the SkyView app installed.  You could point the ipad anywhere in the sky and it would show you which stars, planets, constellations, and even satellites were in view.

I’d had a similar app on my cell phone at one point which didn’t work that great and I ended up just taking it off, but I really liked the SkyView app.  The constellation feature on SkyView showed illustrated pictures of whichever constellation you were looking at, which was really cool since I’m horrible about remembering what’s what up in the night sky, (Sorry Dad, despite your best efforts in trying to get me interested in astronomy, I just can’t remember more than about 4 constellations!) and I think it definitely made it more interesting for the kids since they could see a picture for each constellation.

Although you probably can’t tell from my photos, about 16 people came throughout the course of the evening.  The way they have it set up, people can come and go throughout the evening and go through everything at their own pace, which is really great for people with little kids.  It could be challenging to try to get your young child to sit through a long astronomy talk, especially at a time that they’d normally be in bed, so I thought the set up of the Stars & S’mores program was perfect for little kids.

I also want to mention that I’ve never been to an astronomy program that was so laid back before… I’ve been to programs at several National Parks & Monuments, I’ve been to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, and other special events where they had telescopes set up, and they’ve always been a little bit uptight about making you stand in line for your turn and making sure that nobody touched the telescopes, but at the program at the Canyon Country Discovery Center, aside from a container of handwipes sitting on the table with the food and maybe one reminder to make sure to get all the marshmallow off our hands before using the telescopes, they were extremely laid back about the kids looking through the telescopes, which I really liked.

I had initially been thinking that since this program is held so late in the evening (it currently starts at 8:30pm, but I’m wondering if it might start earlier by the end of the summer when it’s getting dark earlier?) this was going to be our one visit for the summer, but we had such a good time, we’ll definitely be going back again before the summer is over.  I’ve been telling everyone who will listen about it, so hopefully we’ll be able to recruit some friends to go with us next time!

**The Canyon Country Discovery Center is currently open, but will be holding their Grand Opening Festival on Saturday, August 20th, 2016 from 10:00am-10:00pm.  Guest Speaker John B. Herrington, the first Indigenous (Chickasaw) astronaut will speak about the importance of education in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics (STEM).

Grammy Award nominated Native American flutist of Navajo/Ute heritage, The R. Carlos Nakai Quartet will perform, as well as several local bluegrass and folk bands.  Vendor and artisan booths, games, contests, scavenger hunts, bike rides, educational programs, and other fun events are planned throughout the day!  This even is FREE, and you definitely don’t want to miss it! (*I think it’s going to be even bigger than the famous Maverick Grand Opening of 2011!)😛

Distance from the Canyon Country Discovery Center to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

 

Posted in Evening Programs, Events, Monticello, Movies, Things to do with kids, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Camping on Hart Point Road

Camping along Hart Point Road- My favorite place in San Juan County, UT!

Camping along Hart Point Road- My favorite place in San Juan County, UT!

It’s camping season again in Utah’s Canyon Country, and I’m really looking forward to a summer full of outdoor adventures with my family!  We’ve already camped once this year, and we have another trip planned for next weekend, and all of this camping planning reminded me that I never posted about our final camping trip last year out on Hart Point Road.  It was in late October, and it was by far the best camping trip of the summer!  Definitely one of my favorite places we’ve ever camped… EVER!

We’ve always loved Hart Point Road, and if you’ve followed my blog you’re already familiar with this area- we watched an eclipse out there a few years ago, (LINK ) and we’ve driven out to watch the sunset after looking at some petroglyphs in Indian Creek, (LINK) but I’ve always felt, as I also feel about the Hamburger Rock area in Indian Creek- although it looks like an awesome place to camp, it’s kind of silly to camp less than an hour from home.

But actually, as I’m typing this I’m realizing that we’ve actually done a lot of this kind of camping now that we’ve been camping with our son.  The first place we ever took him camping was at Devil’s Canyon Campground which is only about 13 miles south of Monticello.  (That one was intentionally close to home just in case things went terribly wrong and we needed to drive home in the middle of the night!)

But last fall my in-laws were driving up from Flagstaff to spend a couple days in the area and they were wanting to camp and preferably not in a campground, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to camp out there and show them this amazing overlook!

Putting My Son To Work- Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Putting My Son To Work- Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping at Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping at Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Sure enough, when we pulled up at the spot, which is really just kind of an overlook at the end of a short spur road off of the main road, my in-laws were pretty blown away by the view.  It’s amazing out there.  I always say that it’s my favorite place in San Juan County, but I’m still kind of in awe of the view every time we pull up out there.

Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Again, just like with the Arch Canyon Overlook, this is a place with a huge drop-off.  And again, just like with the Arch Canyon Overlook, it was a little bit stressful at times to be out there with my 3.5 year old son.  But as I mentioned before, I’ve decided that I’m not going to limit the things our family does just because I’m scared or worried about things like that.  Instead, we just have to watch him like a hawk and be as careful as we possibly can.

With all that being said, I really wouldn’t recommend this camping spot to other people with small children.  In our case, we had one child and 4 adults and we kind of took turns watching him, but I think it would be a total nightmare to be out there with multiple children- definitely not a relaxing camping trip!  I wouldn’t ever recommend taking that chance.

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Aside from my concerns about the huge drop-off, my son seemed to love this spot!  All you have to do to keep a 3.5 year old boy entertained is give them some trucks & dirt and some rocks to throw, and someplace to throw them off of, and that will keep them busy for hours!  At least, that’s all it takes to keep my son busy!  He had so much fun throwing rocks off the edge.  I have to admit though- watching him do this probably took at least a year off my life- let’s just say that Grandma is much more relaxed about huge cliffs than I am!

Watching the Sunset on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Watching the Sunset on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

When my son stepped away from the edge for a minute or two, and my blood pressure was able to return to normal, it was a really peaceful spot!  There’s a fire ring set up right near the edge of the cliff and we got a fire going, made dinner, and sat there and enjoyed the view out over Indian Creek, the stars, and the silence.  It’s really an amazing place!

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Gorgeous Sunset on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County- UT

Night Sky- Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

Night Sky- Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

We had just got a new camera a day or two before our camping trip, and I don’t know about all cameras these days, but this one didn’t even come with a manual, you have to go online if you want to read it- and it’s long!  So the only thing we had time to read was how to do night shots, which I tested out quite a bit.  It was a great location for it, but I’m sure I didn’t read enough of the manual to do the camera justice as far as its capabilities go!  Now that it’s camping season again, I’ll have to be sure to read up so I’ll be prepared next time we head out!

Sunrise over Indian Creek from Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

Sunrise over Indian Creek from Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

Camping on Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

Camping Breakfast- Hart Point Road- San Juan County, UT

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’ve already gone camping once this year and it was our best trip yet with our son, as far as sleeping goes!  The first time we took him camping he woke up at about 4:00am and didn’t go back to sleep, but his sleep has gotten a little better on each camping trip we’ve gone on since, and this last time a couple weeks ago he slept until 8:00am!  He doesn’t even do that at home!  It gave me great hope that the day after camping trips might no longer equal a miserable day with a moody kid!  I think we might be ready to try camping for multiple nights now… I’ll be sure to blog about it if/when we do, so be sure to check back!

Directions:

From Monticello: Head north on Hwy 191 approx. 14 miles to the turn for the Needles District of Canyonlands.  Turn left onto Hwy 211 and drive approximately 10 miles until you have just passed the turn for the Hart’s Draw Road (Also called Co. Rd 101 and Forest Rd 105) leading to Monticello on your left.  The Hart Point Rd is the next road coming in from the right- it’s an unpaved road, but does not require high clearance or 4-wheel drive.

*Alternate Route- Via Hart’s Draw Road from Monticello: 

From Main St. (Hwy 191) in Monticello, turn west on 200 S right next to the Welcome Center.  You will pass through about 4 blocks of houses, then this road becomes Co. Rd 101/Forest Rd 105.  Continue on this road for about 18 miles until it ends where it meets Hwy 211.  Turn left onto Hwy 211, and the Hart Point Road will be an immediate right.

From Moab: Head south on 191 approx. 40 miles to the turn for the Needles District of Canyonlands.  Turn right onto Hwy 211 and drive approximately 10 miles until you have just passed the turn for the Hart’s Draw Road (Also called Co. Rd 101 and Forest Rd 105) leading to Monticello on your left.  The Hart Point Rd is the next road coming in from the right- it’s an unpaved road, but does not require high clearance or 4-wheel drive.

Distance to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

 

Posted in Camping, Monticello, Scenic Drives, Things to do for FREE!, Things to do with kids, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Our mid-February through early March weather was AMAZING this year- perfect for getting out and doing some pre-spring hikes.  We were in high ‘show season’ in our office (Jan-March every year when we attend Travel, Sportsman’s, Adventure & Gear shows to promote tourism in San Juan County) and I think I’ve counted that from the first show I attended in January to the last which was the 2nd weekend of April, including personal weekends away, I was out of town 7 of 14 weekends!  But somehow in there, my family managed to get hikes in on 5 separate weekends- I think the weather must have been on our side this year to allow that to happen!

One of our first hikes this year was in mid February, and we decided to hike to Monarch Cave which is located on Comb Ridge, just southwest of Bluff.  We’ve done a lot of other hikes on Comb Ridge; Procession Panel, Wolfman Panel, Fish Mouth Cave, etc., and they’re all amazing- Comb Ridge is definitely one of my favorite places to hike!

Now that our son is getting older (3 1/2 yrs) we’re determined to get out and hike and camp as much as possible this year.  We’re also thinking we might finally be ready to take him on the San Juan River this year- just the upper section between Sand Island and Mexican Hat.  It’s not that I didn’t think he was old enough to go on the river before- I think he’s more than ready!  It’s just that he has multiple & severe food allergies and the thought of him having an allergic reaction on the river, especially on the lower section in the canyon between Mexican Hat and Clay Hills, is pretty terrifying!  (Trust me, my husband manages the San Juan River Office at the BLM and he’s heard some pretty bad stories of things that have happened to kids on the river!)

Riding on Dad's shoulders on the Monarch Cave Trail

Riding on Dad’s shoulders on the Monarch Cave Trail

We were determined to take advantage of any nice weather we could, so when the weather forecast was calling for low 60s around Bluff that weekend, we decided to head down there to take advantage of it!  We picked Monarch Cave because it’s a pretty short hike- only about 2 miles round trip, so we thought that would be a doable length for our son, although as it turned out, the trail was pretty overgrown so he ended up walking very little of it and rode on dad’s shoulders most of the time.  Overgrown trails and 3ft tall kids are not a good combination- everything that would be brushing up against an adult’s thighs and waist are eye level for a little kid- not optimal hiking conditions!

Lunch at Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge

Lunch at Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge

Although the weather was really nice the day we hiked to Monarch Cave, I think I’d actually recommend going a little later in the season because just as you leave the trailhead, you have to cross a wash and it was extremely MUDDY!  At first we tried to walk through it carefully to keep our shoes from getting caked with mud, but after a few minutes we realized that there was no way around it and we were just wasting our time.  Our shoes were so caked with mud that I think it took pretty much the whole 1 mile hike to the ruin before our shoes were mostly clean again.  (You can see in our lunch picture above that my husband’s shoes were still a little muddy.)

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

We knew that some of our friends had been out there the previous day, so when we came to the ammo can with the trail register inside, we read it out loud to our son so he could hear that one of his good buddies had just been there the day before!  I think he was pretty excited about it, but maybe a little confused about how his friend got out there.

Checking out a pictograph at Monarch Cave

Checking out the petroglyphs at Monarch Cave

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Pictographs at Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Grinding Grooves at Monarch Cave

Grinding Grooves at Monarch Cave

Checking out Pottery Shard

Checking out Pottery Shards and Corn Cobs

Pictograph in Monarch Cave

Pictograph in Monarch Cave

Mostly, we had picked Monarch Cave because we thought the length of the hike made it kid-friendly, but it really turned out to be an awesome place for kids!  Between the pictographs, petroglyphs, grinding grooves, and the cave itself, there was a lot to keep my little guy busy!  The only thing that made it a little less kid-friendly was the fact that there was a drop-off on one side, but it wasn’t a problem as long as we took turns watching him.

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

Monarch Cave- Comb Ridge- San Juan County, UT

You used to be able to walk right up to the ruins, but currently it’s roped off and you can only look at it from a distance.  But you can still get up close with all the other things I mentioned above, (grinding grooves, petroglyphs, etc.) plus the view of the ruins in the cave with the discolorations on the wall above really makes for great photos, so we really didn’t feel like we were missing too much to not be able to walk right up to the ruin.  It wasn’t overly warm on the day that we were there, but I think this would be a great late spring or early summer hike with all the shade in the alcove and from the high walls on both sides of the canyon.

My son's favorite thing about Monarch Cave? The Echos!

My son’s favorite thing about Monarch Cave? The Echos!

I almost forgot- I think the thing that kept my son busy for the longest amount of time was not the grinding grooves or any of the other cool archaeological things at the cave, but it was actually yelling and listening to the echos that bounced back from within the cave and the canyon.  Luckily, we were the only ones there- I’m pretty sure other hikers would not have thought it was as cool as he did!

**I wanted to share this informative video put out by Friends of Cedar Mesa, which is just one in a series of ‘Visit With Respect’ videos that they’ve been rolling out over the past few weeks.  In the excitement of visiting a new ruin, it can be easy to forget how easily ruins can be damaged by people and even by our favorite four-legged hiking companions. These videos offer helpful tips on how to ensure that our amazing archaeological sites like Monarch Cave, can be enjoyed by future generations.  If you’d like to view the rest of the videos in their Visit With Respect series, please click HERE.

Directions:

From Bluff: Travel west on hwy 191 (this road becomes hwy 163 about 4 miles west of Bluff) for about 5 miles and turn right (north) onto Co Rd 262 (Butler Wash Rd)  After passing through a gate near the highway, continue on this road for 6.9 miles then turn left (west) down a short single track to the trailhead. (There is also a parking area/trailhead at 7.1 miles- I think this is the one we used)

I’m not sure that there are signs at each trailhead that tell you the names of each trail, but following your odometer seems to be the best way to find the sites on Comb Ridge.  Follow the trail approximately 1 mile to Monarch Cave- the trail will be obvious and well marked.

Distance From Monarch Cave to Lodging in San Juan County, Utah:

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

 A big thanks to gjhikes.com for allowing us to use their Monarch Cave map!  Check out their hiking blog for ideas on more amazing hikes in Utah as well as Arizona, Colorado, & New Mexico!

 

Posted in Bluff, Hiking, Rock Art, Ruins, Things to do for FREE!, Things to do with kids, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Arch Canyon Overlook

Arch Canyon Overlook- One of the most beautiful places I've been in San Juan County!

The view at Arch Canyon Overlook is AMAZING!

Every year about mid to late February when the temperatures creep up to the 40s and sometimes even 50s, I start to get the itch to get out and explore this beautiful area we live in!  Two weekends ago it was 41 degrees in Monticello and my husband and I wanted to take our son for a quick hike and were debating between either Indian Creek or Bluff, and finally decided on Indian Creek since it would save almost an hour of driving and it was already early afternoon by the time we decided to go.

Well, it didn’t quite turn out as we had planned.  As we left Monticello and dropped down off Peter’s Hill, we watched as the temperature started dropping and by the time we got down into Indian creek it was only 37 degrees and there was more snow on the ground than I’ve ever seen down there!  It was really sad because our son was so excited to go on an ‘adventure’, he didn’t want to stop walking once we got to the petroglyph panel at Newspaper Rock. We weren’t dressed for hiking in the snow at all since we had thought it would be warmer down there and hadn’t worn or brought any snow gear, so we ended up just visiting Newspaper Rock and building snowmen and having a snowball fight which seemed to satisfy him.

We built a snowman (and snowdog!) at Newspaper Rock!

We built a snowman (and snowdog!) at Newspaper Rock!

Last weekend was another nice one with temperatures up to the low 50s in some of the lower elevations around here.  Since it was Valentine’s Day we decided to head to Moab for some retail therapy, lunch, and a hike to Longbow Arch.  I was so proud of my little guy- he walked the whole way there himself, all 1.2 miles!  I didn’t willingly hike over a mile until I was in college, and here he is at 3 1/2 hiking like a champ!

Longbow Arch

2016 Valentine’s Day Hike to Longbow Arch

Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there!  But what I’m getting at is that every year when the cold weather lifts for a couple weeks (yes, I’m fully aware that winter is NOT over and we’re probably definitely going to get more snow!) I start to get excited at the thought of all the hiking and camping possibilities that are right around the corner!  Since hiking season will soon be upon us, (hopefully!) I wanted to share one of my favorite ‘adventures’ from last fall out to Arch Canyon Overlook.

We’d always heard about Arch Canyon Overlook and had wanted to go, but had been told that the road could be pretty rough out there.  Last October my husband and I finally decided to give it a try just to see how far we might be able to make it up the road.  I think we totally lucked out because when we got on the road, it looked like it had just been graded and we were able to make it all the way out to the overlook in our (semi-high clearance) Subaru Outback. After we went and were telling our friends & coworkers about it, they were all really surprised to hear that we made it all the way out there, so I think we must have just had perfect timing.  So don’t count on being able to make it all the way there in your vehicle unless you have high clearance!  But you can always drive as far as you’re comfortable with, then just walk the rest of the way in.  (Map at the end of post)

Arch Canyon Overlook

Arch Canyon Overlook

Arch Canyon Overlook is AMAZING!  I seriously couldn’t believe how beautiful it was up there!  I’ve been all over that area, including hiking the north and south (House on Fire Ruin) forks of Mule Canyon and riding a 4-wheeler through Arch Canyon with the San Juan ATV Safari, (read my blog entry on the ride HERE) but I still wasn’t prepared for the view from the top.  I almost want to compare it to the Grand Canyon… but that’s a dangerous thing to get people expecting that they’re going to see.  But I will say that the way I felt when I walked up to the overlook was similar to how I felt the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.  It’s an amazing view from up there!

As much as we like to get out with our little guy, it’s also very stressful to take him places like this with such big drop-offs.  My husband used to work for the National Park Service at Glacier National Park, and got me into reading the ‘Morning Report’ which is a daily report of all the incidents and accidents that happen in National Parks and Monuments across the country.

When I first started reading it I was shocked at how many drownings, falls, and suicides there are in our parks and monuments on a regular basis!  I had no idea, and it’s always really stuck with me.  I haven’t been reading the Morning Report for several years now, (probably since I had a child and barely have time to get dressed or brush my teeth some days!) but I just looked it up and it appears that the Morning Report is no more… looks like August 31st of 2015 was the last day and the park service has changed to a new website and as far as I can see, it’s more just news releases about events and things that are happening in the parks.  Here’s a LINK to the old Morning Report just to give you an idea of what it was like.  You can still see the posts for the week leading up to the final day.

As I was saying, it’s stressful to take our son to places like this with big drop-offs and no rails, (I’ll be writing about an awesome camping trip we went on in the fall soon, but again, it was right on the rim of a canyon with a huge drop-off) but I’ve decided that I’m not going to limit the things our family does just because I’m scared or worried about things like that.  Instead, we just have to watch him like a hawk and make him sit down or hold him when we’re anywhere near the edge.

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Looking Across the Canyon- Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Watching Birds- Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Of course he had to climb it himself- Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

Arch Canyon- San Juan County, UT

I think the photos speak for themselves… it’s an amazing place and you’ll likely have it all to yourself when you visit, which in my opinion is one of the best things about all the beautiful places like this in San Juan County.  So maybe I should stop telling people about all my favorite places?  I’ve thought of that, but this area is just too amazing to keep it all to ourselves!  Plus, San Juan County is one of the biggest counties in the country, so I think there’s enough space for all of us to enjoy!

Directions:

Turn north on Co. Rd 263 (located about halfway between  Blanding and Natural Bridges National Monument) near mile marker 102.  If you’re coming from the west it’s very easy to find- you will see a sign for ‘Mule Canyon Ruins‘- this is NOT where House on Fire is located, this is a developed site with a kiva with interpretive signing, paved parking lot, and a pit toilet.  As soon as you pass this, the turn for House on Fire will be your next left.  If you’re coming from the east, it’s the next right after mile marker 102.

After turning off of hwy 95, reset your odometer and follow Co. Rd 263 past the trailhead for House On Fire Ruins and continue for about 1 mile until just after you cross the North Fork of Mule Canyon and stay left at the fork.  Continue on this road until mile 5.2 where you will reach another fork- stay right on the more well used road and continue to 6.4 miles where you will reach another fork.  If you’re worried about clearance, you can park here and walk the final .2 miles to the overlook, otherwise turn on this road and continue to the parking area.

If you would like to visit Arch Canyon Overlook with one of our local guides on a jeep, side-by-side, ATV, or hiking tour, please visit the Guides & Outfitters page on our website.

Distance from House on Fire to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

Posted in ATV, Blanding, Camping, Cedar Mesa, Fall, Geology, Hiking, Rock Art, Things to do for FREE!, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument!

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument  (Photo: Navajo Parks & Rec)

Rokerthon 2 is now in the books and the Today Show’s weatherman, Al Roker has set his second Guinness Record- this time for the fastest time to report the weather from all 50 states.  Last week Al Roker visited the Four Corners Monument which helped him check off 4 states at one location, and a few of us made the EARLY morning drive down to the Four Corners to be in the audience for the 7:00am EST (5:00am MST!!) broadcast.

Our office had been contacted about 3 weeks earlier as the Today Show was trying to plan the logistics of Rokerthon 2, so we knew about it for a while before it became public knowledge. When I first heard about it I though that it might be fun to drive down there to be in the audience but I didn’t seriously plan on going until I mentioned it to my friend Lynne, an employee at the Blanding Visitor Center, the Friday before and she texted me back on Sunday afternoon (which was the day before the broadcast) saying that she was on board and willing to go!  Once it was official, we found another equally crazy friend- Lyndie who works for the Four Corners School/Canyon Country Discovery Center, who was up for an early morning ‘publicity stunt’, as she called it since we are all involved in tourism and/or education and all had something we wanted to make signs to promote.

The Four Corners Monument is about 1 hour 40 minutes from Monticello, but since we were driving in the dark, we planned on a 2 hour drive and decided to leave Monticello at 2:30am.  Lyndie and I met at 2:30am (both of us with coffee in hand!) and made our way down to Blanding to pick up Lynne.  The drive down to the Four Corners flew by as we talked and caught up with each other.  Also, an unexpected bonus to being out and about at 2:30 am was that we got to see a couple meteors from the Leonid Meteor Shower!  I always like to see astronomical events, but I’m not quite interested enough to wake up in the middle of the night to see them, so I was thrilled to be up and able to see a little bit of it!

Before we even made it to the Four Corners Monument, you could see a glow of light over the horizon from at least 4-5 miles away.  When we got to the turn we realized that there were already TONS of people there!  I have to stop here and acknowledge Navajo Parks & Recreation for doing an amazing job organizing everything.  I had thought ahead of time that the parking that morning was probably going to be a nightmare, but it was so organized- we were really impressed!

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

We parked and made our way to the monument to join the huge crowd that had already formed.  Right away we could see by everyone’s signs that the audience had divided up by state of residency with residents from each state standing in their corresponding corner of the monument.  We found our corner and joined our fellow Utahans who, upon talking with a few, we found out had come from as far away as Salt Lake and St. George!

Lynne, Allison, & Lyndie at the Four Corners Monument for Rokerthon 2!

Lynne, Allison, & Lyndie at the Four Corners Monument for Rokerthon 2!

It was COLD out there, and since Al Roker was there to report the weather, I can tell you exactly how cold it was, 28 degrees!  (And that’s straight from the weatherman’s mouth!) Brrr!  But I think we were so excited that the temperature really didn’t bother us much for the first hour and a half or so.

Photo from the Broadcast of Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Photo from the Broadcast of Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

We quickly learned that you had to have a wristband to be allowed down on the main level of the monument during the broadcast.  We didn’t have wristbands at that time but as the Utah part of the forecast was about to start, someone from the Today Show came up and said that since we were holding signs, we could go down to the main level.  Whoo hoo!  We made it!

Each state had a group who were there to preform during the broadcast, and from Utah it was Noteworthy- a female a cappella group from BYU, who we ended up standing behind.  While we didn’t make the front row and you could only see our faces a couple times, we were standing directly behind Al so our signs were in the entire shot, which I think was what was most important to us anyway.

Here are LINKS to two clips of the broadcast on the Today Show’s website…

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

Rokerthon 2 at the Four Corners Monument

As the morning progressed, Al would broadcast live for a few minutes, then there would be a break for about 20 minutes or so.  There was a huge tent set up with heaters inside (we got to go inside after it was over and have breakfast!) and as far as I saw, Al never left the monument to go warm up between broadcasts, which I was impressed with.  During the breaks Al spent quite a bit of time talking to the audience, and I saw several people come up to him and give him gifts; a backpack from Osprey– a Cortez, CO based outdoor gear company, a turquoise necklace, and the blanket that he had wrapped around him in the photo above, to name a few.

At one point Al was near us taking photos with some of the audience and as he started to walk away I called him and asked if he’d take a photo with me.  He said yes and we stood side by side for a photo, but unfortunately right as Lyndie was taking the photos, a couple people jumped in front of us to take a selfie with Al in the background, so none of the photos turned out.😦

Sunrise over the Four Corners Monument during Rokerthon 2

Sunrise over the Four Corners Monument during Rokerthon 2  Photo: Lynne Shumway

It was an extremely cold and early morning, but we were all so glad we made the trip down to the Four Corners Monument for Rokerthon 2!  On top of getting to help welcome Al Roker to our area and getting our signs on national TV, we also got to catch a little bit of the Leonid Meteor Shower on the drive down and watch a beautiful sunrise from the Four Corners Monument.  And all of this before 7:00am!  Not a bad way to start the day in Utah’s Canyon Country!

Click HERE to read my previous blog entry on the Four Corners Monument.

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

Posted in Four Corners Monument, Things to do for FREE!, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon

In the past few years House on Fire Ruin in Mule Canyon has become a very popular destination for hikers and photographers, but I think few who visit are aware of the nearby Cave Towers Ruins located across the highway and just down the canyon.

A few months ago my husband was out on Cedar Mesa for work and saw tons of cacti in bloom so we decided to go back out there that weekend with our son to try to catch at least a little bit of it.  Spring in the desert is such an amazing thing to see- the first spring we lived here we just happened to catch the peak of the blooms by accident, but it was such an amazing experience, we’ve made a point to seek it out every spring since.

It turned out that our timing was great and we saw lots of different types of desert flowers.  And of course, we were also at Cave Towers, which is an awesome archaeological site right on the rim of Mule Canyon!

Cushion Buckwheat- Cedar Mesa, UT

Cushion Buckwheat- Cedar Mesa, UT

Barrel Cactus- Cedar Mesa, UT

Barrel Cactus- Cedar Mesa, UT

Prickly Pear Cactus- Cedar Mesa- San Juan County, UT

Prickly Pear Cactus- Cedar Mesa- San Juan County, UT

Evening Primrose- Cedar Mesa, UT

Evening Primrose- Cedar Mesa, UT

Firecracker Penstemon- Cedar Mesa, UT

Firecracker Penstemon- Cedar Mesa, UT

Yucca in Bloom- Cedar Mesa, UT

Yucca in Bloom- Cedar Mesa, UT

When we take our son out hiking, we don’t call it ‘hiking’.  I hated hiking as a kid- it sounds like work.  We say that we’re going on an ‘adventure’, and so far he loves it!  I’m sure this isn’t the only reason he likes hiking- I think the more important factors are that we always pick shorter hikes (nothing longer than 3 miles round trip) and we always have LOTS of snack breaks.  (Gotta keep that blood sugar up!)

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon- Cedar Mesa

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon- Cedar Mesa

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon, UT

Throwing Rocks in the Potholes at Cave Towers- Mule Canyon, UT

Cave Towers- Mule Canyon, UT

Checking out the Reflections- Cave Towers- Mule Canyon, UT

Snack Break at Cave Towers- Cedar Mesa, UT

Snack Break at Cave Towers- Cedar Mesa, UT

Watching Lizards- Cedar Mesa, UT

Watching Lizards- Cedar Mesa, UT

Cave Towers- Cedar Mesa, UT

Cave Towers- Cedar Mesa, UT

There are a total of seven towers along the rim of the canyon- some are on the east side, and some on the west.  Most of them are little more than piles of rubble, but one tower on the west side of the canyon still has a large section of wall standing with a doorway intact.

There are also ruins in some of the alcoves and overhangs of the walls of the canyon.  To see these, just walk out along the west rim and look across the canyon to the east wall.  We didn’t walk out far enough to see any of these on this visit, but we’ve seen them on previous trips out there.

Cave Towers is a great place to spend the day exploring, or even to just make a quick stop when visiting one of the more well known sites nearby like House on Fire Ruin.  While there are a lot of ruins in the area, round tower ruins are pretty unique, and definitely worth a visit!

Directions:

Just south of Blanding, turn right (west) on Hwy 95. Follow this road for approximately 19 miles and turn left on an unmarked road between mile markers 102 and 103.  There will be a gate that you can open and go through, just be sure to close it behind you.  If you do not have a high clearance vehicle, you should pull over when you start to see the road getting rough. (You will see some wider spots where others have pulled over and turned around)

High clearance and 4WD vehicles can drive up the road almost all the way to Cave Towers.  Whether you walk or drive, the distance from the gate to the trailhead is only about .5 miles, so it’s really a very short walk to/from the canyon rim and the towers, no matter where you park along the road.  The trail to the towers isn’t a developed or marked trail, but if you just walk southeast from the end of the road, you will come to the rim of the canyon and the towers are very easy to see from there.

**I wanted to share this informative video put out by Friends of Cedar Mesa, which is just one in a series of ‘Visit With Respect’ videos that they’ve created.  In the excitement of visiting a new ruin, it can be easy to forget how easily ruins can be damaged by people and even by our favorite four-legged hiking companions. These videos offer helpful tips on how to ensure that our amazing archaeological sites like Cave Towers, can be enjoyed by future generations.  If you’d like to view the rest of the videos in their Visit With Respect series, please click HERE.

Distance from House on Fire to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:

For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386

Or e-mail us at: info@utahscanyoncountry.com

Posted in Blanding, Flowers, Hiking, Ruins, Things to do for FREE!, Things to do with kids, Travel, Utah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments