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Butler Wash Ruins

Bears Ears National Monument

Colorado Plateau, Utah

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Butler Wash Ruins

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  • Trailhead at sunrise.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Views from Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Interpretive signs line the trail. Here is one about the juniper tree.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Navigating the slickrock trail at Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Cairns to show you the path.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • There are round and square Kiva at Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • The ruins at Butler Wash are large and well preserved.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • The beautiful Butler Wash with its cottonwood trees lining the creek bottom.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Signs at the overlook provide information about the residents.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • Butler Wash.- Butler Wash Ruins
  • A small granary tucked away into a nearby alcove.- Butler Wash Ruins
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Decently preserved. Large ruins. Interpretive signs.
Cons: 
Can get very hot in summer.
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Region:
Colorado Plateau, UT
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Just east of the water pocket fold known as Comb Ridge in Bears Ears National Monument sits an ancient ceremonial complex. Butler Wash ruins is a smaller version of the famous Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde, and its remains are similar to those of the iconic circular Kiva. There are also square Kiva here, which were used by the Kayenta people. This potentially means that various cultures came from around the area to worship here. There are several individual rooms, and a plaza at the site probably dates back to around the 12th century. A few nearby granaries were used for food storage and were placed into natural alcoves for added protection, but like others it was suddenly abandoned a few centuries later. Often attributed to the Anasazi people, we now know that Ancient Puebloan is a more accurate description.

A short half-mile walk through the desert landscape takes you to the lookout. The last few hundred feet is on open slickrock that has reinforced cairns along the way to lead you in the right direction. You can access the ruins directly, but it takes a fair amount of scrambling and route finding, and it is not recommended by officials. Most people view the ruins from across the chasm behind a small fence with a bench. This is one of the main attractions in the area because of its large size and easy access compared to many of the other ruins that require longer hikes or off road vehicles to reach. The hike is short, but it can get extremely hot here in the summer. Bring some binoculars if you have the chance.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

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