Cedar Mesa

House on Fire Ruin

Wrapping up the trip on our last full day in Bluff, our goal was to make a visit to one more of the very popular and fantastic Anasazi ruins.  House on Fire ruin is one of many located in Mule Canyon on Cedar Mesa to the north of Bluff.  This is another very well preserved ruin and is located a short approximately one mile hike into the canyon.  

This ruin gets its name from the unusual erosional patterns in the sandstone roof that appear as flames when illuminated by reflected sunlight.  We arrived here in the late afternoon, but I'm thinking that the early to mid-morning might be a better time to get the best light for this effect. Nevertheless, as the sun ducked behind the ridge to our backs, this was still a spectacular scene.

The hike in was quite scenic, as the trail followed along a small stream.  Lots of wildflowers and other vegetation complemented the rock formations along the way.  Fall color was also apparent in some of the leaves along the trail.

If you look carefully, these handprints in the sandstone can be seen near the ruins.  Luckily, Bob knew just where to look.  Otherwise, we may have never noticed these.

One last look down at the trail before heading back to Bluff for our last night.  Our trip was almost over at this point.  I hope you have enjoyed reading along and seeing some of the images I captured along the way.  Check back for a final wrap-up and to see what's next...


Fallen Roof Ruin

Cedar Mesa Plateau is home to amazingly well-preserved and the largest concentration of Anasazi ruins in the Four Corners region of the Desert Southwest.  The last leg of our trip was spent in the small town of Bluff, Utah, with numerous easily-accessible sites nearby to visit.  We started our first full day there with a trip up Highway 261 through the Valley of the Gods, to the top of the mesa, and on to Cigarette Springs Road where we would eventually park at a trailhead for a short hike to Fallen Roof Ruin.  

Sometimes referred to as Three Room Ruin (for obvious reasons), this site has really withstood the test of time as well as the numerous visitors over the years.  One of the most striking features, and the origin of its namesake, is the large slabs of sandstone that have peeled off from the overhanging canyon and fallen to the ground below.  

Upon close inspection of the site (actually when Bob pointed it out), one can see handprints on the sandstone roof left behind by the former inhabitants.

It was a perfect day for the hike into Road Canyon for our visit to these ruins.  After paying the requisite day-use fee, the hike begins in a pinyon and juniper forest, and slowly descends to the canyon floor.  There was no shortage of beauty along this trail, and plenty of stops were made to grab some shots along the way.  

This cactus seemed to be growing right out of the rock

After spending a little time at Fallen Roof Ruin, we made our way further down canyon along the cliff face.  A number of ancient granaries and small rooms were visible in alcoves eroded into the Cedar Mesa Sandstone.