Split Level Ruin

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4727 - 4820 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Split Level Ruin
Fee: none
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan ruin, rock art



The Split Level Ruin is located in the Butler Wash area of Comb Ridge near Bluff, Utah. The east side of comb ridge in inundated with narrow canyons that give the long ridge the appearance of a comb. It seems that most all of these canyons contain ruins and other signs of habitation from ancestral Puebloans and others.


The hardest part about hiking in the Butler Wash area is finding the correct trailhead. We have created a map that shows how each trailhead relates to the others to hopefully make that task a little easier. If you click on the picture you can print the full sized copy and take it with you. The distances may be off by 1 or 2 tenths of a mile by your own measurements but they should be close enough to get you to each trailhead. We calculated the measurements from the spot where we turned off the pavement on Highway 163 to the turnoff along the Lower Butler Wash Road that leads to the trailhead. We didn't include the distances from there to the actual parking area which usually was less than a quarter mile.


As you drive north on the Lower Butler Wash Road after passing the road that leads toward the Cold Spring Ruin, just over 7 miles from Highway 163, you will come to a major fork in the Butler Wash Road. Stay to the left at this point. If you come to the spot where the roads rejoin each other you will have passed the turnoff to the Split Level Ruin trailhead. The easiest way to spot the turnoff for the Split Level Ruin is to watch for what looks like an old jeep road that crosses the wash and continues on the other side heading westward toward the ridge. The road is closed where it meets the wash and although there is no trailhead you should see these brown mylar trail markers.


Hike through the wash and follow the double track toward a grove of cottonwood trees at the mouth of the canyon coming up on the left.


It is easy to get confused when you reach the trees because the road turns to the right heading away from the wash. Look for a trail marker on the left side of the road and pick up the trail that heads into the wash.


The wash eventually enters the mouth of the canyon. There should be at least one more trail marker and maybe a 'who passed this way' sign. When you get to a bend that is bordered on one side by a really cool looking alcove you will know for sure you are on the right trail.


A little further and the trail passes an area on the right with a pair of painted hands pictograph.


And a little past that there is an alcove on the left with a very puzzling object cut into the bank of dirt that fills its mouth. This alcove faces toward the north away from the sun. While it shows some signs of activity north facing sites like this don't seem to have been favorable places to build.


The Split Level Ruin makes good use of a double alcove. There is a trail that follows the cliff on the right side of the trail where you will find numerous petroglyphs and one or two faint pictographs. Near the east side of the lower level ruin there are numerous metates ground into several boulders as well as sharpening grooves and a few more interesting petroglyphs.


One particular panel has 3 pregnant figures as well as several others, a spiral and a couple of bear paws that may be clan symbols.


Very interesting spiral or concentric circles with wings.


Even more curious are some green and white circles to the west of the upper level structures.


Another view of the two levels taken from the west looking back. There is a kiva between this spot and the largest of the remaining walls.


The Split Level Ruins has some very interesting and slightly unique rock art. There are also various examples of pottery with one shard that we saw that was as black as coal. And besides the ruins and rock art the canyon itself is a fun little hike. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.