Natural Bridges National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • View climbing to the top of cliff ledge
    View climbing to the top of cliff ledge
    by BruceDunning
  • Three towers at the right of cliff face
    Three towers at the right of cliff face
    by BruceDunning
  • CAnyon view is Wow
    CAnyon view is Wow
    by BruceDunning

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Natural Bridges National Monument

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    Bluff Preserved Village

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 26, 2009

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    Log home and barn
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    Bluff was founded in 1880, by 200 Mormons settling here to farm crops. There are still descendants in the town today. The log/wood village homes are from that first era. Later they built more elaborate homes. Many Victorian homes are preserved in town that were built 1886-1905 Also a lot of prehistoric sites are in the area. They have preserved the original town where settlers lived in log cabins and had commerce there. This museum is only open when volunteers are available, but you can walk through the homes and see the insides. The picture of the Victorian home is of 1898, and still lived in today. The town got control form Navajo Indians who ranched here by using Utes to fight them. Later mining made the town grow, and later cattle grazing gave it some boost in wealth.
    Bluff is on Hwy 191 and 15 miles south of Blanding and only has about 50 residents and a motel.

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    Mexican Hat

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 26, 2009

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    The hat sitting on a pedestal of rock
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    A town of only about 50 people; all in retail trade and service to tourists is a drop off point for travelers and buses going to Monument VAlley 22 miles south, or Natural Bridges 45 miles north. It is wide open spaces and the sheer rock faces along the perimeter is great scenery. Near the bridge is a motel and restaurant and gift shop and convenience store combined. The colorful hills, or mountains surrounding this town is the highlight. You can walk up to the hat, which the town was named after and I did. The views are wonderful from there to the river below.
    The name comes form the balanced rock near the San Juan River, about 2 1/2 miles north of town on Hwy 163. It looks like a Mexican sombrero hat; right? The town got a start in 1908 when Goodridge came here and staked out an oil claim. Not much was found. Now it is a tour stop to stay overnight, and river rafting around here. They float down from Bluff, about 20 miles east.

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    Blanding-Edge of Cedars Park

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    Sign to enter the museum
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    Indian ruins are in the back of the museum building. Inside the building is the depiction of the evolution of the Indians and the geology of this area. It is an archeological repository. The museum itself seemed rather "stale" and not that great in my opinion. The fee of $5 was not paid by me since I noted the visits may be only 10 minutes, and I have seen scores of Anasazi ruins so far on the trip.

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    Blanding Dinosaur Museum

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    Entrance to the museum
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    This is a very delightful museum that few people attend for lack of knowing its hidden wonders inside. The museum is a contribution of a paleontologist couple that over many years of searching have brought back some remnants from around the globe. They also created some of the dinosaurs from historical information obtained. This is a workshop for them, even though retired now. Their name was Czarks.
    Admission is only $2.50 for adult and $1.50 for seniors; best deal ever. It is open April 15th thru October 15th from 9-5 daily

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    Goosenecks State Park

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    SAn Juan River carved an entrenched path through the rock walls over millions of years as the ground rose up. The river continued its old path and cut through the rock. A wonderful view of the "necks" is on display at the edge of the landing. The overlook is 1000 feet down and only one section has a guard rail. You can walk down the trail a bit for better lookout view/dangerous to do so, though.
    It is located on a side road 5 1/2 miles south of Moki Dugway on Hwy 316 for 5 miles leading to the park. The road is narrow but paved. Way down there are river rafters taking a break

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    VAlley of the Gods Road

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    Hwy 261 entrance by God's B&B home
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    A road can be entered from Hwy 163 and 13 miles west of Bluff, or from Hwy 261 and nine miles from Mexican Hat. It is a rough, has some steep dips and goes across creek beds (wet) and also has a washboard road. It is advised to have GOOD suspensions before taking the full 17 mile ride. I went in off the Hwy 261 side for about 5 miles, and that was enough. I was getting bumped and ground and the poor SUV was crying to stop the shaking. The road, to say the least is not well maintained by BLM, like a lot of them BLM manages. If you take the turn off on Hwy 163, you come to a creek shortly afterword, and again the road sucked. I guess the adventure in a 4WD is the fun, but still bumpy for sure and slow going drive.

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    Moki Dugway

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    Description of the dugway
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    This is a section of road on Hwy 261 to the south of Natural Bridges Hwy 95 road. It is a 3 mile section that has not ever been paved for reasons it is tough to maintain and maybe the thrill of tourists trying to be scared of taking the ascent/descent of 1200 feet variation and 11% slope. This used to be a road used for trucks hauling out zinc minerals from the area, and never got paved after digging mountainside route in 1958 by Texas Zinc Mining Co. There are some areas where you could stop briefly for a picture of the overview, but others, do not do so because a vehicle may be coming the other way and bearing down the roadway. Utah does not put up guard rails in many places so the hang on to the edge is right in your face.
    A dugway is definition for a road going through high land and dug out of the landscape formation' or path scraped out of steep hillside. They have about 10-12 switchbacks to travel this winding section of road

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    Muley Point

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    View of hte mesa and valleys
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    These are river pictures from the overlook unto the SAn Juan Basin at the Cedar Mesa flat top. The river has carved out deep crevices over thousands to millions of years. While the ground rose up, the river continued to carve its path through the usual course before. That ended up in cutting an entrenched deep ruts into the rock walls as seen today. On clear days you can see John's CAnyon features and 50 miles around even to Monument Valley south.
    The 5 miles road to get to the end is rough and bumpy, and some rock maneuvering at places. If it has rained lately, getting through this gravel road may be difficult. The location is 28 miles south of Natural Bridges on Hwy 261, and 13 miles NW of Mexican Hat from Hwy 163 to Hwy 261 and up through Moki Dugway first.

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    Butler Wash

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 16, 2009

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    Canyon overlook to the IndiaN ruins
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    There are four dwellings & kivas under rock ledges along a canyon that I really do not know how they ever got up to the houses. The cliffs are daunting and steep straight up. Hanging on to the side of the cliff edge, I noted that it is a huge drop down. Located at mile marker 110.9, the hike can be easy for 1 mile round trip one way, or steep rock climbing for some of the way may be difficult The dwellings can be visited but an experienced climber is the only one that should even try.

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    CAve Towers

    by BruceDunning Written Oct 16, 2009

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    View climbing to the top of cliff ledge
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    There is a rock canyon and high rising mountains where there are 3 of seven towers standing out on the rock cliff edge. The view is fantastic, but getting to it is not easy if you try to drive. I had the reliable 2WD SUV, and it did not want to take the risk of ruining the undercarriage on rocks and humps in the road, which also was very sandy. So after 1/2 mile, I parked and walked into the canyon edge. It was about 1 mile walk, and a nice hike to follow the road, which really is like a path, and even then not much of one. It was nothing but rocks and big ones to drive over. NOt for me, and it looked like not may tried based on the few tire tracks in the area.
    The access to the Cave Towers is through a gate onto a dirt road at mile marker 101.4, and just before the Mule CAnyon ruins at MM 102 on Hwy 95

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