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Cedar Mesa

Hiking Upper Johns Canyon on Cedar Mesa

Johns Canyon originates on top of Cedar Mesa at 6,600 ft. from there it slashes down through Cedar Mesa for about 12 miles until it reaches the San Juan River at 3,850 ft. There are three distinct sections of Johns Canyon. The upper section is typical Cedar Mesa canyon terrain. The middle stretch gets broad and flat with a road through it and the lower canyon entrenches again. While all sections have attractions, this article focuses on the upper section of the canyon.

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Comb Ridge

Procession Panel on Comb Ridge

The Procession Panel is a well-known Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) petroglyph located just below the summit of Comb Ridge. Access is from San Juan County road #230 which runs the length of Butler Wash connecting UT 163 in the south to UT 95 in the north. The trailhead is about 7 miles north of UT 163 or 14 miles south of UT 95.

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Comb Ridge

Butler Wash Anasazi Ruins

The Butler Wash Ruins is a widely visited Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) site located off Highway 95 southwest of Blanding, UT. Although the ruin has not been restored, the area is partially developed. The Butler Wash Ruins access is well signed with the parking area right on the highway. There is a well-maintained 1/2 mile trail to a fenced observation point, complete with interpretive signs, that overlooks 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. Access to the observation area is easy but accessing the ruin is much more difficult and not encouraged by officials.

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Canyonlands

Aztec Butte – Canyonlands National Park

Aztec Butte rises above the Island In The Sky plateau in Canyonlands National Park. It’s a prominent landmark visible for miles and must have been well used by the Ancestral Pueblo people who once occupied this region. This entire area was heavily used by various native peoples and there are some ancient granary ruins on the top of the butte.