Navajo Rocks Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4593 - 4693 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Comb Wash Road MM 6.8
Fee: none
Attractions: Cliff dwelling, rock art

The Navajo Rocks Ruin is located west of Blanding, Utah near Comb Wash. The site includes the partial standing walls of a cliff dwelling as well as some rock art and a variety of pottery shards. Although there isn't a trail that leads to the ruins the site is marked on the USGS 7.5 minute map of the area.

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 6.5 miles to where a road branches off on the right heading toward the wash. Between UT-95 and this spot the road crosses a few washes that have very sandy sides 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.

There are several primitive campsites that make good places to park. From wherever you start hiking keep following the road until you reach the wash.

Once in the wash the easiest spot to climb out on the other side is near a partially buried tire that is in the middle of the wash. We hacked a path through the brush to make it a bit easier.

Once on the opposite side of the wash climb the hill so that you can see what lies beyond.

Off in the distance, less than a half mile away, there is an outcrop of Navajo sandstone. From here only the top of the rocks are visible but that is enough to aim for.

A couple of shallow washes keep you from being able to hike a perfectly straight line to the rocks but they are easy enough to get around after which you can get back on course. Once you arrive you will find the ruins on the west facing side of the rocks

The ruin incorporates a large boulder into its design and that is what has probably stabilized it enough over time for any of it to still be standing. A short ledge is the only thing that has kept cattle grazing in the area from rubbing up against the walls.

Be sure to also check out the alcove next door to the ruin. Judging from the height of some of the pictographs it appears to have 4 or 5 feet of sand blown into the cavity so it might be hiding some walls below the surface. Remember that it is illegal to excavate or to disturb the site in any way.

The pictographs include buffalo, dogs and a couple of images that look like horses. There are also a few petroglyphs that include circles and concentric circles.

Among the shards of pottery are monochrome, corrugated and two types of brown or red that aren't in this photo but that resemble styles that we have seen further south in Arizona. Everything was left as it was found for others to study for themselves.

We saw one other set of footprints in the area that looked like they may have been left within the last year. Just like the nearby Yellow Rock Ruin we were unable to find an official name for this site. Our unofficial name was picked because the ruin is in Navajo sandstone and the horse pictographs are probably Navajo or Ute in origin. The Utes were known to use wet charcoal for drawings so who knows. Without a trail to follow the Navajo Rocks Ruin might be challenging for some to find without using a GPS but hopefully the accompanying map and the following slideshow will help. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.