Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) once lived across all of Southeast Utah and the four corners area. Today it’s a pleasure to visit the ruins and rock art they left behind. From tiny piles of potsherds to massive cliff dwellings what remains makes us marvel at these prehistoric inhabitants. Blanding, UT is in the heart of Anasazi country and these are some suggested nearby sites to visit.
Anasazi Ruin Sites in Blanding, UT
There are two excellent places to visit when you are in Blanding. It’s easy to visit both in a half-day or less.
Edge of the Cedars State Park is located within the city limits of Blanding, UT. It features a museum and interpretive center as well as a partially restored Ancient Puebloan village. The ruin even has a restored kiva with a ladder you can climb down. Edge of the Cedars has regular visiting hours and is only closed on a few major holidays.
It’s easy to find the park by following the signs facing both directions on US 191. There is an entrance fee at this state park.
Little Westwater Ruin is an undeveloped site in Blanding, UT. Turn west from US 191 (Main Street) onto 1600 South Street at the south end of town. The road becomes Ruins Road and ends in about 2 miles at a parking area with views of the ruin located across the creek bottom.
With good binoculars, you can see a lot of details of the ruins. If you want a bit of exercise you can hike to the ruin. Although the canyon is steep, it’s an easy hike down to the bottom and up the other side.
Sites Along Utah Highway 95
Just south of Blanding UT 95 heads west from US 191. Passing through Bear’s Ears National Monument, the road crosses Comb Ridge and the northern end of Cedar Mesa. It then passes Natural Bridges National Monument before heading toward Lake Powell and Beyond.
UT 95 runs past canyons and mesas that hold thousands of sites. The following sites near Blanding are easy to find and interesting to visit.
Butler Wash Ruins on UT 95 southwest of Blanding, UT is a great place to stretch your legs. The Butler Wash Ruins access is a well-signed parking area on UT 95 at mile marker 111. This is 10.5 miles west of US 191. A well-maintained 1/2-mile trail leads to a fenced interpretive area overlooking the ruins. The Butler Wash Ruins was once a small community and it’s a great place to see Anasazi ruins in a natural setting.
Target Ruin, sometimes called Bullseye Ruin, is in Upper Butler Wash on the eastern side of Comb Ridge. The hike to the Target Ruin is easy and access is simple as the trailhead is roadside on Utah 95.
The hike is fairly short and this ruin can easily be visited and explored in a couple of hours or less. There are a number of nearby ruins in Upper Butler Wash and you will likely want to spend time really exploring the area. Ballroom Cave Ruin is a short walk from Target Ruin and is very interesting.
Mule Canyon Ruin, also known as Mule Canyon Indian Ruin, is a partially developed and restored Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruin located on UT 95 at mile marker 101 – 20 miles west of US 191. A large paved parking area and vault toilets make this a welcome stop and even hurried travelers can get a better understanding of the area and its earliest inhabitants.
Cave Canyon Towers goes by many names including; Cave Tower Ruins, Mule Canyon Towers, Seven Tower Ruins, and Five Tower Site. The site features crumbled towers perched around the head of Cave Canyon – a short steep side canyon of Mule canyon. This undeveloped site is accessed near mile marker 102.5 on UT 95 and is a great place to observe towers constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi).
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center works to conserve archaeological sites and the cultural heritage of the ancestral Pueblo people by preserving and protecting important archaeological sites, artifacts, and other archaeological resources. Crow Canyon promotes public awareness through educational programs, research projects, and community outreach initiatives. Learn More about Crow Canyon Archaeological Center