Roadside Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4919 - 4946 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Roadside Ruin
Fee: $30/vehicle
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan granary

The Roadside Ruin is a short trail within the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The trail leads to an Ancestral Puebloan granary that is tucked away beneath an overhang in a cliff. The Needles District is well off the beaten path. To get there you either drive south from Moab, Utah for 40 miles or north of Monticello, Utah for 14 miles and turn west on Highway 211 and drive for another 35 miles. Highway 211 ends in the Needles District so there is nowhere to go from there except back the way you came. With all that said, the Needles District is well worth the effort especially if you really like desert hiking.

Upon leaving the Visitor Center in the Needles District the Roadside Ruin is the first trailhead that you come to. This short trail is suitable for children of all ages. There isn't much of any shade on this hike and like anywhere else in this area it can get pretty hard to take for very long when the temperatures get up around 100F.

Roadside Ruin is an interpretive trail with 10 stations along the way that correspond with information in the trail brochure available at the trailhead. Hike the trail in the counterclockwise direction by taking the right fork so that you will come to each station in the order of the trail guide.

The trail crosses the sagebrush flats and enters a shallow draw that leads to the ruins.

The Roadside Ruin is remarkably well preserved. This particular granary was accessed from the top rather than through a door in the side. That makes a person wonder how they managed to keep rodents out of it. Perhaps they put the grain inside a clay pot and sealed it up before putting it inside of the granary. The information available in the brochure and the trailhead kiosk suggests that these granaries were only used to store items while they were being gathered at which time they would take their cache with them and return home.

The Roadside Ruin is a good trail that will help you get acclimated to the desert environment of Canyonlands. At the same time you get to learn about items that the Ancestral Puebloans made use of and you get to see a well preserved granary. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.