Bluff, Utah is an unassuming, sparsely populated little town in the southeastern corner of Utah. Although seemingly in the middle of nowhere, it’s surrounded by opportunities for adventure. Along with John and Pam, and Dave and Sue, we totally agree this is a place worthy of repeat visits. Not that we wouldn’t happily meet up with these fine folks anywhere in the U.S., or beyond!
John and Pam’s coach on the left, then Beluga and finally Betsy lined up at Cadillac Ranch RV Park
San Juan Hill
When we arrived in Bluff, our friends were waiting and ready to take us, the “jeepless travelers” for a ride along a narrow, sandy and rocky road to the San Juan Hills. They had been on this trip before, but because they are such thoughtful and nice friends they offered to share this fun trek with us – or perhaps it was another not-so-subtle hint that we simply must get ourselves a Jeep?
Upon our arrival we were reminded how incredibly tough and determined the Mormon pioneers who passed through this area were. Hole in the Rock tells the story of their crossing of the Colorado River, and this, the last obstacle as they climbed over what they called San Juan Hill. It’s a tale of faith and tenacity, all in answer to God’s calling.
We retraced the amazing path the pioneers traveled in 1879 – with wagons full of belongings!
Lewis was our leader and very proficient at “herding humans”
When the pioneers finally reached the top, they carved their thanks to God into the rock, as pointed our by our red-shirted historian
“Here’s a wagon track,” says Dave. “There’s one over here, too,” says John. “Help me find a track, Lewis,” says Steve. And Lewis asks “What are my crazy friends doing on top of this cliff?”
The wagon wheel ruts remain on the rocks almost 140 years later – incredible!
Can you spot Sue exploring near the trailhead way down there?
Lewis searches for mom as some cowboys ride through the area
From below the route taken by the pioneers’ wagons is clearly visible
Remains of the Barton Trading Post
Steve and John contemplate the remains of a waterwheel platform, circa 1880
140 year old logs
River House Ruins
Just half a mile or so further down the “road” we stopped to check out a stabilized ruin by the San Juan River, appropriately called River House Ruins. It was occupied by Ancestral Puebloans between AD900 and the late 1200’s.
Ancient ruins under assault by modern machines
These ruins are inaccessible to most people, therefore in pretty good condition
Soot marks indicate a kitchen area
The River House Ruin is also known as The Snake House, due to a huge snake pictograph on the back wall
Pottery fragments were everywhere
Three men and a dog having a serious discussion
The scenery in the area
San Juan River
Do you see the feathered cliff dweller I spotted?
Another way of visiting the ruins – bring your own horse!
Homeward bound after yet another awesome trek
If not for our friends, we could not have enjoyed this wonderful place – thank you!
Next up: More Bluff explorations