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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Explore the Moon House Ruin

moon house ruinHiking conditions are great right now in the low-elevation deserts of southern Utah. Mountain areas throughout Utah picked up snow last week, and will pick up more this weekend as another storm approaches, but deserts around Zion Park, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase and Moab are dry and pleasant.

I hiked in the Monument Valley area last weekend and enjoyed a great trip. We pushed into a remote area on the edge of Cedar Mesa, to an interesting Anasazi (Ancient Puebloan) ruin complex. As you can see from my photos, the ruins are spectacular. Many of the structures are well-preserved and show how these ancient Native Americans used local stone, motor and timber to create large buildings housing several families.

The Anasazi people thrived for hundreds of years in the rugged canyons of the Four Corners area. The canyons here are so remote and rugged, modern man finds the area inhospitable. Today people like to explore the canyons using 4X4 vehicles, technical climbing gear and the latest backpacking equipment. We play here but we don't live here. Hundreds of thousands of acres of remote canyon country in SE Utah is totally uninhabited by modern man.

I am fascinated by the ancient ruins, the rock art, and by the people who created it. Why did they choose to live in this harsh environment? How did they raise families on the edge of sheer cliffs? Why did they migrate away from this area, simply walking away from their homes and belongings?

There are hundreds of fascinating ruins and rock art sites in this area. As a hobby, I seek them out and photograph them. I'm getting quite a collection.

People occasionally ask me to publish exact directions so they can find these sites. Some request GPS coordinates. I'm not going to post specific directions on this website but I'm happy to share information with people who convince me they will be responsible when they visit these areas.

Many of these ruins have stood for over 1,000 years. Sadly, many are now being destroyed by enthusiasts who "love them to death." It is important for people to learn about the rules and regulations governing these priceless relics. Visitors are not allowed to climb into the structures or to touch rock art. Some enthusiasts have damaged ancient rock art as they try to make rubbings, to duplicate the image on paper they can take home. The rule is look, take photos but don't touch.

A group of individuals were recently arrested and charged with plundering artifacts from this area. Their cases are now progressing through the court system. Removing artifacts, even simply taking pottery shards, is a serious crime.

These ruins represent a significant part of America's heritage and culture. Many are located in remote backcountry spots where there are no rangers on patrol. It is up to us to protect them. The best way to do that is by educating people who want to explore here. See these pages for more information.

Ruins and Rock Art in the Monument Valley/SE Utah Area
Searching For The Wolf Man (Rock Art)
Cedar Mesa Backcountry Permit Information


  • At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Utah Blog Admin said…

    It's fine to quote us if you give us attribution.


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