Petrified Forest National Park is a remarkable place where visitors make new discoveries at every turn. World-famous for its plentiful and beautiful petrified wood, the park is in northeast Arizona in the spectacular Painted Desert. The park is split by Interstate 40 which makes it very easy to access. Interstate travelers can have an amazing visit in an hour while those who have more time will find many interesting experiences.
Kane Gulch is the most popular entrance into Grand Gulch which is the large canyon system that bisects Cedar Mesa. Cedar Mesa is the best place to find undeveloped archeological sites in wild settings and Grand Gulch offers amazing canyon-hiking and Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) explorations. Kane Gulch is the most up-canyon entry point for exploring Grand Gulch and the majority of backpack trips into Grand Gulch use the Kane Gulch trail.
Junction Ruin is probably the most visited ruin in Grand Gulch. It’s an interesting Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) site located in Grand Gulch right at the junction with Kane Gulch. Kane Gulch is the most popular access to Grand Gulch so it stands to reason that Junction Ruin the most visited ruin in the canyon. The trail to the ruin is easy and Junction Ruin is a great place to get exposed to the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruins of Grand Gulch
Turkey Pen ruin is a well-known Anasazi ruin in Grand Gulch. It’s an easily accessible Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) site located a short distance down canyon from Junction Ruin. Junction Ruin gets its name because it sits at the intersection of Grand Gulch and Kane Gulch. The Kane Gulch trail provides easy access, making it easy to visit both Turkey Pen Ruin and Junction Ruin in a single-day hike. However, it’s even better if you can visit as part of a multi-day backpacking trip.
Todie Canyon ( also called Toadie Canyon) is an east-side tributary to Grand Gulch that provides a lesser-used access into Grand Gulch. The canyon is quite short, only about 1 3/4 miles in length. The trail down Todie Canyon into Grand Gulch is a pretty tough hike and this is not a popular route into Grand Gulch. However, it’s a great place to hike along the rims of both Todie Canyon and Grand Gulch.
Sheiks Canyon is a short, steep side canyon that enters Grand Gulch between Todie and Bullet Canyons. Sheiks Canyon is not shown on the maps or described in the Cedar Mesa Travel Guide that the BLM provides to visitors. However, it’s fairly well-used access into Grand Gulch. It’s mostly used by day hikers seeking the well-known Green Mask rock art panel.
The Mule Canyon Ruin, also known as the Mule Canyon Indian Ruin, is a fully developed and restored Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruin located on Utah 95, southwest of Blanding, UT. Utah 95 is a primary route through SE Utah’s canyon country and even hurried travelers can get a better understanding of the area and its earliest inhabitants by visiting.
The Cave Canyon Towers Ruin goes by many names including; Cave Tower Ruins, Mule Canyon Towers, Seven Tower Ruins, and the Five Tower Site. The ruin features the remains of towers perched on both sides of the head of Cave Canyon. Cave Canyon is a short steep side canyon on the west side of Mule canyon. The site is easily accessed from Hwy 95 and is a great place to observe a tower constructed by the Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi).
Mule Canyon is located on the north end of Cedar Mesa about 20 miles west of Blanding, UT. Mule Creek cuts a deep canyon through the mesa as it travels eastward to empty into Comb Wash. The approximately 12 mile long drainage begins above 7,800 ft and drops to 4,800 ft in Comb Wash. Utah 95 runs close to Mule Canyon for most of it’s length and the highway provides easy access to a number of Mule Canyon hikes.
7 Kiva Ruin is in Road Canyon which is a significant canyon draining eastward off of Cedar Mesa. Road Canyon is a very popular with hikers because it offers excellent scenic, wilderness and archaeological experiences. 7 Kiva Ruin is a well-known site that is listed or referenced in all of the Cedar Mesa Hiking Guides listed in our guide book reviews. The most detailed instructions on how to find 7 Kiva Ruin are found in Peter Tessoni’s A Hiking Guide To Cedar Mesa.