Arch Canyon Ruin |

Cedar Mesa

Roadside Attraction Arch Canyon Ruin - Cedar Mesa Roadside Attraction Arch Canyon Ruin
Cedar Mesa

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments


TICKS & TODOS: 7 Todo Lists / 3 Ticks
RATING: Roadside Attraction
MAPS: Hotel Rock, UT
NOTES: High clearance vehicles can drive right to the ruin, those in low clearance vehicles may have to walk to last 1/4 mile.
Fri Hi:82 Lo:51 Sat Hi:79 Lo:50 Sun Hi:81 Lo:51 Mon Hi:76 Lo:50 Tue Hi:71 Lo:48
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Arch Canyon Ruin is a family friendly roadside attraction. Most vehicles can drive within 100 feet of the ruin, others may need to walk the last 1/4 mile. The ruin itself is somewhat vandalized, but still an interesting visit. The views in all directions for the ruin are magnificent. This is a good stop if in the area, or passing through.

On my first visit, I stopped at the first ruins. Good, but not great. After, I had several people e-mail me that better ruins were to be seen, just up the canyon. Alas, I finally got back to check them out. From the Fenced Ruins, there are several other ruins within a short hike that are very good and well worth seeing. Some are calling these "Beaver Pond Ruins", but the locals refer to all three sets on the map simply as the Arch Canyon ruins. A great place to spend an afternoon.

If you have a bit of extra time, Walnut Knob Panel is worth the hike and starts from the same trailhead.

Getting There

Note: Accessing the trailhead crosses Tribal Lands, posted no trespassing. The road is legal to travel, however please be respectful and do not park, camp, or hike on the tribal lands.

Begin at mile post 107 on highway 95. This is 107 miles south east of Hanksville, or about 18 miles south west of Blanding. To reach the area from Blanding, travel south out of Blanding about 3.5 miles to the junction with highway 95. Go right onto 95 about 14 miles to mile post 107.

  • Turn off highway 95 north onto San Juan County road #205. ( 12S 618724mE 4152478mN / N37° 30' 42" W109° 39' 24" )
  • 2.3 miles - Go left into Arch Canyon. Park anywhere here. ( 12S 617906mE 4156079mN / N37° 32' 39" W109° 39' 55" )
  • There are several camping spots here. High clearance vehicles can continue into Arch Canyon about 1/4 of a mile to the well signed ruin on the right.


Rock Art and Historic Site Etiquette
Rock art and historic sites are fragile, non-renewable cultural resources that, once damaged, can never be replaced. To ensure they are protected, please:
  • Avoid Touching the Petroglyphs: Look and observe, BUT DO NOT TOUCH!
  • Stay on the Trails: Stay on the most used trails when visiting sites, and don't create new trails or trample vegetation.
  • Photography and Sketching is Allowed: Do not introduce any foreign substance to enhance the carved and pecked images for photographic or drawing purposes. Altering, defacing, or damaging the petroglyphs is against the law -- even if the damage is unintentional.
  • Pets: Keep pets on a leash and clean up after them.
  • Artifacts: If you happen to come across sherds (broken pottery) or lithics (flakes of stone tools), leave them where you see them. Once they are moved or removed, a piece of the past is forever lost.

As with all historical artifacts, please don't touch, or climb on the ruins. Good camping at the mouth of Arch Canyon makes this a great place to spend a weekend. If in the area, Hotel Rock and the Walnut Knob Petroglyph panel are great to visit as well.

Above the fenced ruins, are two other ruins and panels just up the canyon. The easiest way to visit them is to hug the bank and walk upstream from the fenced ruins, escaping out to the right onto slickrock slopes as soon as you can. It is a bit of a thrash but short-lived. The first set of ruins is obvious and has a great panel. For the next set, follow the social trail north-west along the cliff to the somewhat hidden ruins.

Most will not want to re-visit the willow thrash, it is easier to return from the second set of ruins by heading cross country directly south to the rough 4x4 track and following it back. Still have more energy? Go up the 4x4 track 10-15 minutes to the second place the road makes a left-hand bend. There are ruins here on the right a short distance off the road. Follow the social trail.


Printable Maps:
Fenced Ruin

12S 617343mE 4156323mN

N37° 32' 47" W109° 40' 18"


12S 617206mE 4156446mN

N37° 32' 51" W109° 40' 23"


12S 617123mE 4156573mN

N37° 32' 55" W109° 40' 27"


12S 616216mE 4156801mN

N37° 33' 03" W109° 41' 04"


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