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Mule Canyon Towers Ruin is one of only a few ruins on Cedar Mesa (outside of Hovenweep National Monument) where tower ruins are found. Along the rim of Mule are 5 to 7 towers (depending on what exactly you count as a tower), while just below the rim are several ruins and panels to visit as well. There is debate on what the towers were actually used for, with some believing they were for defense, and some believing they were used for religious ceremonies. With easy access, unique ruins, and plenty to see, this is a side trip not to miss while passing through.
Visiting the towers is easy and suitable for most, with less than a five minute stroll from the 4x4 trailhead to the ruin. The ruins below the rim require a bit of scrambling to visit. Generally only 4th class if you choose the easiest path.
Take highway 95 to milepost 102.2, which is 102.2 miles south east from Hanksville, or about 23 miles west of Blanding. To reach the trailhead from Blanding, go south out of town a couple of miles and turn west onto highway 95. Follow highway 95 for about 20 miles.
A gate and side road on the south side of the road lead to the ruins. From the highway to the ruins is about 0.5 miles, but very rough, with several slickrock steps that will likely stop low clearance vehicles. Parking at the gate and walking the road is a good option for those with low clearance vehicles.
Visiting the Tower (5 minutes)
From the trailhead, follow the old road/trail a few minutes to the rim of Mule. The towers are visible both to the left and right, with the most well preserved towers being the closest. An old unmarked grave and spring are also visible right at the head of the canyon.
Visiting the Ruins Below the Rim
Before visiting the ruins below the rim, walk the right (south) rim a few minutes to get a good view of where the ruins are on the north side of the canyon.
Getting down the first level is the hardest. On the north side of the canyon, near the closest tower to the head of the canyon, is a scramble down spot with a pile of rocks at the bottom. This is class 4, and easy with a spot, but make sure you are comfortable coming back up the same way.
Once down the first level, there are ruins immediately at the bottom of the down climb. To visit the other ruins, work down the loose social trail one level and follow it down canyon to many other good ruins and panels.
Return the same way, or there is an elegant route out by going up a level from the biggest ruin and traversing up canyon and out a weakness on a corner. (a few cairns, easy to find from below)
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