Yellow Rock Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 0.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4749 - 4828 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Comb Wash Road MM 2.2
Fee: none
Attractions: Cliff dwelling

The Yellow Rock Ruin is located near Comb Wash in the Cedar Mesa/Comb Wash area west of Blanding, Utah. The site consists of a single, near perfect, room that sits on a ledge overlooking a scenic wash. Sharpening grooves on the same ledge near the ruin are also indicators of some of the early activity of the sites ancient dwellers as well as a nearby rock shelter. Even though the ruin is less than a half mile from a county road it is seldomly visited.

To get there from Blanding head south on US-191 for 4 miles, turn west on UT-95, toward Natural Bridges National Monument, and after another 14 miles turn left, or south, onto Country Road 235, the Comb Wash Road.

After passing through the Comb Wash Campsite keep going for another couple miles to where a road branches off on the left and there is room for one or two vehicles to park. The road crosses a few washes that have very sandy banks that 2wd vehicles will probably have to get a run at to make it back up the banks. If the crossings are rutted out they will require careful driving or a mid to high clearance vehicle.

Maps show an old well road here but it has been decades since it was used and mother nature has pretty much completely reclaimed its route. The idea is to cross the road from where you parked and begin hiking through the sage toward the white rocks in this photo.

After a few hundred feet you should be able to find where the remnant of the road passes through a notch in the hill. This old rig road leads straight toward the wash below the ruin and then follows the wash up to a drill site. It is hard to pick out the road at first but the further you follow it the more obvious it becomes.

After the old road climbs up the little hill and passes through the notch it cuts across a sagebrush flat toward the band of white rocks up ahead.

As the trail approaches the wash it passes by a rocky outcrop with a distinct yellow surface on one side. The ruin is easily visible across the wash from the yellow rock. We couldn't find an official name for the ruin or a map that has a name for the wash so until we do come across a different name we are referencing it by this prominent 'yellow rock' feature that is nearby.

It takes a little scrambling up some slickrock to get onto the ledge where the ruin is nestled under an overhang that provides it with a natural roof. There isn't a sign that says keep out like there are at some other places but it should really be understood that you should not only keep out but don't even touch or lean upon the walls.

We were able to hold our camera in the doorway and snap a lot of photos both with and without the flash and have some of them come out well enough to get a good look at the interior. The cavity that the ruin is built over is much larger than it appears from the outside. It looks big enough to live in but perhaps it was only used as a storage room or granary.

We recommend taking some extra time to hike around the boulders along the ridge. It is quite a bit of fun going through the various passageways that give it a playground feel. There is even an arch to find in the area.

This is one of the nearby rock shelters. Notice the rocks that were stacked in the gap between the boulders.

The Yellow Rock Ruin is marked on the USGS 7.5 minute map for the area. We converted its location on the USGS map to its GPS coordinates and used that coupled with the old drill road that was also on the map in order to hike right up to it. We probably could have found it with the map alone but the geocaching method can also be fun. For those that are looking for an easy hike to a very nice site the Yellow Rock Ruin is well worth the effort. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.