Round Trip Distance: .3 miles
Elevation: 6124 - 6157 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Mule Canyon
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan ruins, wheelchair accessible
View Mule Canyon Ruins in a larger map
The Mule Canyon Ruins are located about 20 miles west of Blanding, Utah. The ruins made by ancestral Puebloans consist of a structure with a dozen rooms, 2 kivas and a tower. One of the kivas and possibly some other rooms are hidden out of site below ground.
This very short excursion sits right next to Highway 95. The paved trail forms a loop around the ruins.
There is one main block of rooms that have been partially excavated. At some sites they generally excavate the whole thing and then put back enough dirt to help support the walls while leaving enough of the walls sticking up above the ground to give a good idea of what is there.
There is a tower that was once probably 2 stories tall. It is not known what the main function of the tower was. It may have been used for solar observations or perhaps for communications. The tower is within line of sight of the Cave Tower Ruins about 1 mile away.
Within the kiva there is a tunnel that connects to the tower which raises speculation that the tower may have been used for religious purposes. Of course, there is nothing to say that kivas and towers didn't serve dual purposes either. The kiva also has a tunnel that connects it with another kiva that is below ground.
The kiosks at the site detail a wealth of other information along with an artists depiction of how the ruins would have originally appeared.
The Mule Canyon Ruins are just a little bit different than some other archaeological sites and help to increase the understanding of the lives of their inhabitants. The site is right next to Highway 95 and has a toilet so if you happen to be in the Blanding area, maybe visiting Hovenweep or Natural Bridges you might consider another brief stop along your way. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.