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Road Canyon

Bears Ears National Monument

Colorado Plateau, Utah

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Road Canyon

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  • Fallen Roof Ruin.- Road Canyon
  • Gate and registration station 1 mile in on Cigarette Canyon Road.- Road Canyon
  • Trailhead for the Fallen Roof Ruin.- Road Canyon
  • Claret cup cactus in bloom.- Road Canyon
  • The trail drops down the side canyon.- Road Canyon
  • Potholes from the recent rains in the canyon.- Road Canyon
  • The ruin is just past this hoodoo that appears on the left.- Road Canyon
  • First view of the ruins.- Road Canyon
  • Hiking up the slickrock to the shelf is not too difficult, but be careful!- Road Canyon
  • Large pieces of rock have fallen from the roof of the ledge, hence the name.- Road Canyon
  • The ruins are in very good shape.- Road Canyon
  • The roof has an amazing color when lit by light reflecting from the floor and walls.- Road Canyon
  • Following the ledge past the first ruin.- Road Canyon
  • There are several small ruins and fragments along the ledge.- Road Canyon
  • Two interesting wood and mud structures at the end of the ledge.- Road Canyon
  • Detail of the construction.- Road Canyon
  • View along the canyon trail.- Road Canyon
  • - Road Canyon
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful canyon hike. Stunning ruins.
Cons: 
Remote location. Not well-marked. Rough road.
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Region:
Colorado Plateau, UT
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
539.00 ft (164.29 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,318.00 ft (1,925.73 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Cedar Mesa is a vast, mostly uninhabited region of over a million acres in southeastern Utah. This area has a very high concentration of ancient Puebloan archeological sites, many of which are very difficult to access or even find. Road Canyon has a few very beautiful and interesting sites that are relatively easy to locate and that do not require a difficult hike. The scenery in the canyon is quite nice and makes an interesting and pleasant hike in its own right.

About a mile from UT-261 on Cigarette Springs Road there is a makeshift gate and a BLM fee station. The side road to the trailhead is another 2.4 miles further on the left. From the trailhead, the trail goes northeast for about 0.3 miles until it enters a side canyon and drops steeply to the bottom of this canyon. Make sure you find the cairn and mark this point at the bottom of the canyon so you can find it on the way back. Follow the bottom of this canyon down until it reaches the main branch of Road Canyon, and follow this to the right. The path on the floor of either canyon can become clogged with debris, requiring a detour. Watch for an unusually shaped hoodoo high up on the left side of the canyon; the ruins sit about 100 feet up on a ledge about 150 feet past this hoodoo. It is a fairly easy scramble up this rock ledge to reach the site.

No one knows why the Puebloan people left the Four Corners area around 1250 AD, but there was a mass abandonment of the dwellings here. Theories gravitate toward some combination of changing climate, over-hunting, and competition with new migrant populations. Navajo oral tradition claims that their ancestors lived among the the early Puebloans.

This ruin is sometimes called the "Fallen Roof Ruin," and it is spectacularly photogenic. Photographers will want to arrive by mid-morning before the ruin is in full sun or choose an overcast day to shoot this beautiful ruin. As with all historic sites, the structures should not be entered, and nothing at the site should be touched or disturbed. Follow the ledge from this ruin to the right for another quarter mile to find a few partial structures and two interesting structures that are unusual in this area.  Retrace the track to return to the trailhead.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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