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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Beautiful canyon hike. Stunning ruins.

Cons

Remote location. Not well-marked. Rough road.

Trailhead Elevation

6,318.00 ft (1,925.73 m)

Net Elevation Gain

539.00 ft (164.29 m)

Features

Historically significant
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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