Ballroom Cave Ruin

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5183 - 5359 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: West Butler Wash
Fee: none
Attractions: Ruin, rock art




Ballroom Cave is located in West Butler Wash near Blanding, Utah. The site contains 3 caves with ruins that date back 700-800 years when the Anasazi inhabited the area. A defensive wall with peep holes for keeping watch on the comings and goings in the valley below is also present.


To get to the trailhead from Blanding drive 4 miles south on Highway 191 and turn west onto Highway 95 toward Natural Bridges National Monument. Continue for another 10.2 miles and park at the pullout on the righthand side of the road immediately after crossing the bridge over Butler Wash and right before the sign for the Butler Wash Indian Ruins.


From the parking area pass through the gap in the fence where there is a trail register to sign before beginning the hike.


The trail makes about a 20 foot drop where it continues along the normally dry wash.


Tall grass and cottonwood trees are plentiful as the trail heads up the wash.


Butler Wash runs along the east side of Comb Ridge which blocks out the late afternoon sun. These photos were taken about 3 hours before sunset.


Stay on the main trail until just past the 1 mile point where there are trail markers pointing out the route to the Ballroom Cave Ruin.


A short climb is required to get up from the wash to the level of the ruin.


The caves are tucked away out of sight behind the rubble piles. The defensive wall, with all of its peep holes, can be seen stretched out across the boulders on the left hand side of the picture. The wall is somewhat reminiscent of the one at Moon House although not nearly as elaborate.


The best place to start before looking around it to pull the notebook out of the BLM's ammo box and give it a quick read. It has a lot of good information about the site and the activities that would have occurred there.


Most of the items that would have given archaeologists a better understanding of the site and its population had been pilfered long before they had a chance to examine them.


We didn't venture below ground although it appeared to be allowed. There were a few areas that were fenced off but the cave in this picture wasn't one of them. There are also some pictographs that we didn't get good pictures of on this trip.


West Butler Wash has at least 3 more ruins. We will have to return at a time when the sun is still on the east side of Comb Ridge to explore the rest of the canyon. West Butler Wash is a lot different to hike than most of the other areas of Cedar Mesa where the canyons are much deeper and more rugged. It also has more cottonwood trees shading the trail from the summer sun. The Ballroom Cave Ruin is a relatively easy to get to site that is worth visiting when in the Blanding area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.