RATING: Moderate Hike
LENGTH: 4-6 hours
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
MAPS: Cedar Mesa North, UT; Pollys Pasture, UT
WATER: A few small springs until the junction with Grand Gulch where there is a good spring.
SEASON: Fall, Winter, Spring
Another one of the gems of Grand Gulch, Sheiks is often visited as a loop hike with Bullet Canyon. The loop is long, however, and those wishing for a shorter day hike may consider just visiting Sheiks as an out and back hike that makes for a reasonable 8 or so mile day. Those looking for an even shorter outing may just want to visit Yellow House Ruin. Yellow House Ruin is more or less a roadside attraction and takes 30-60 minutes roundtrip.
Near the junction of Sheiks and Grand Gulch are the famous Green Mask Ruins. The ruins themselves are good, but the Green Mask pictograph and surrounding panel are truly unique and stunning to visit. Very highly recommended.
The trailhead is reached off of highway 261, which runs from near Natural Bridges south to near Mexican Hat. From the north (highway 95/261 junction) go south about 8.5 miles to mile post 24.1 and 24.1 miles north of the junction with highway 163 if coming from the south. Reset your odometer as you leave the highway. Follow the road, County road 250 for 3.1 miles to a junction. Go right an additional 1.7 miles to the Sheiks Canyon trailhead. The road is generally passable by all vehicles to 1.4 miles, where a rough section will stop many. There is good camping at this rough spot.
Follow the social/cow trail as it follows the south (left) side of the drainage. In 5 minutes, it crosses over to the right to avoid a dryfall. Yellow House ruin is at the bottom of this dryfall, and can't be missed from the trail. It is a good ruin, complete with grass lashings.
Continuing down, follow the social trail. A small wall is visible on the right, but not worth the side trip. Not far below Yellow House, the trail passes a good granary just above the stream level. Continue down, keeping an eye on the right for a couple of walls of a very poor granary far on the right.
That is it for ruins until near the junction with Grand Gulch. Follow the stream bed down. As it begins quickly dropping and deepening, route find around the first obstacle on the left or right, then the rest of the boulder fields are passed via a social trail on the right.
Once through the boulders, the canyon levels out with a good spring. Green Mask ruin is easily visible here on the right, a few minutes up from Grand Gulch. (about 2 hours to here.) If your struggling to find the Green Mask, look up! It is high on the east side, near the spring with a large panel.
If not doing the loop with Bullet, wandering up or down Grand Gulch before returning is recommended. Down, in particular, has some good ruins within a mile or so.
|12S 589930mE 4145184mN||Sheiks TH|
|12S 589445mE 4145444mN||Yellow House|
|12S 589131mE 4145715mN||Wall|
|12S 588680mE 4145646mN||Granary|
|12S 588579mE 4145672mN||GranaryView|
|12S 586494mE 4145565mN||Green Mask Site|
|12S 585874mE 4145485mN||Cave Ruin|
|12S 585692mE 4145077mN||Ruin|
|12S 585250mE 4144869mN||Wall Ruin|