Cave Towers

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5947 - 6036 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 1 hr. 15 mins.
Facilities: none
Trailhead: Cave Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan ruins, cliff dwellings
 


View Cave Towers in a larger map

The Cave Towers are located on the south side of Highway 95 between Blanding, Utah and Natural Bridges National Monument. If you have visited the roadside Mule Canyon Ruins then you might remember reading that the tower there was in direct line of site with a tower about 1 mile away. There are actually multiple towers at this site along with other pueblo structures on the rim of the canyon as well as cliff dwellings built into pretty much every alcove within the canyon. The canyon where these ruins are located is a short stub of Mule Canyon that is called Cave Canyon. You may also hear the ruins referred to by the name of Cave Canyon Ruins, Cave Canyon Towers or Mule Canyon Towers. We have one map that has the site labeled as the Cave Towers. Until someone puts up a sign it will probably remain the place with many names.


Like most of the sites in the area there isn't a sign. You will find the turnoff on the south side of Highway 95 about halfway between mile markers 102 and 103. The turnoff to the House on Fire ruins on CR 275 is a little further west on the right side of the highway and the Mule Canyon Ruins are past that also on the right side. If you get to either of those turnoffs then you have gone too far.


Most vehicles should be able to drive in on the road for a quarter mile or so and find a place to park. From wherever you park begin hiking further along the road. The road will drop down toward the head of Cave Canyon changing from sand to slickrock and then back to sand once again.


As you near the drainage above the canyon you are probably hiking through an area that was once farmed by the early inhabitants. The faint traces of check dams can be seen in several places. From the head of the canyon you will find ruins both to the left and to the right.


To the right there are several towers and rubble piles.


If you hike past the towers to the rim of the canyon you should be able to pick out the remains of cliff dwellings on various levels along the east wall of the canyon.


A good pair of binoculars and a telephoto lens for taking pictures come in handy.


The trail on the left side of the spillover has more towers and a few partial standing walls.


Just like on the other side of the canyon if you continue past the ruins to the rim you can get not only a good view of the canyon but a better view of some of the cliff dwellings along its sides.


This ruin is nestled in an alcove beneath ...


... this one.


These ruins are further away in the recesses of the west wall of the canyon.


This is a shot of the very large cave at the head of the canyon. If we would have had more time we may have been more adventurous and made our way down for a closer look at the cave and some of the other ruins. There were no signs forbidding it. Signs or not it goes without saying that it is illegal to dig, deface or collect artifacts so don't do it.


After visiting the Mule Canyon Ruins and reading how they may have had a tie with other ruins in the area and have been able to communicate with each other from their watchtowers it makes it even more interesting to visit the Cave Towers site. With a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope you can see just how extensively populated the area really was. If you think about it, every single young man of the time probably knew the exact location of every eligible young lady within 100 miles. And if they had towers they probably also had enemies. Although each tower may also have had openings with which to mark the solstice or other calendar events giving the towers a dual purpose. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.