Butte Ruins

Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6275 - 6362 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Farmhouse Spur MM 1
Fee: none
Attractions: Cliff dwellings, petroglyphs

The Butte Ruins are located about a half mile past the Farmhouse Ruins in the Ruin Park area of Beef Basin. Gathered around a prominent butte can be found the remains of a number of cliff dwellings and rock shelters as well as a nice panel of petroglyphs.

To get there follow the directions to Beef Basin as found in the post for the Farmhouse Ruin. Reset your odometer at the information kiosk as you turn right onto CR 119. The turnoff from the Ruin Park Road (CR 119) to the Farmhouse Ruins is at the 3.7 mile point from the Information Kiosk at the main junction. If you have just visited the Castle Ruins it will be the second road on the left. The first road being the CR 111 extreme 4wd route that travels back over the divide into Middle Park where it reconnects with CR 119 near the main junction.

After turning off of CR 119 there is a fork on the right after a short distance that leads to a small ruin. Near the 0.4 mile point another fork comes up where there is a water trough on the  right side of the road. Take the right fork as though going to the Farmhouse Ruin.

Continue past the Farmhouse Ruin for a half mile going straight at the first junction where another road branches off on the right that leads to what we call Ruin 7. The last quarter mile of the road past the Farmhouse Ruin gets rough and may or may not require 4wd plus a little more ground clearance. For those that would rather hike that portion there are good places to park right before the road gets rough. Hiking from there will only add about an extra mile or so to visit the Butte Ruins and Ruins 6 & 8. Whether on foot or driving the trailhead for the Butte Ruins is on the left near the half mile point past the Farmhouse Ruin. There is a brown mylar BLM marker at this junction with a number of different stickers including one that says "Respect America's Resources".

The prominent butte can be seen across a wash about a quarter mile south of the trailhead. All that is needed is to pretty much start hiking in that direction finding whatever route looks best to get across the wash and up the small hill on the opposite side.

The obvious ruins are facing east on a bench about half way up the shoulder of the butte. It takes a little scrambling to get up to that level but several suitable routes can be found.

Once you get up on the bench you will discover there are even more ruins on all 4 sides of the butte. Nothing but short stub walls remain for most of them. The rooms in this photo are beneath a shallow overhang on the north side of the butte.

On the west side of the butte there once stood a ruin made of the flattest rocks that was braced between 2 outcrops of sandstone. Some of the roof beams are still found within the fallen walls.

From this vantage point on the west side of the butte what we call Ruin 6 is visible a short distance away. Ruin 8 can't actually be seen until you hike right up to where it is found.

The remains of several more rooms and rock shelters are scattered around the south facing side of the butte down at ground level. The rock shelters are all among the boulders at the very base of the cliff.

The panel of petroglyphs are located at the base of the cliffs near the southeast corner of the butte.

 The figure in the center of this photo looks to have the head of a bighorn sheep but it might just be our imagination. Once we got the idea in our heads it was difficult to see anything else.

Nice examples of pottery are also to be found. (Be sure to leave all artifacts where they are and do nothing to disturb the ruins.)

The Butte Ruins turned out to be one of our favorites to visit even though they are in no where near as good condition as many others in the area. It probably had more to do with the exploration of the area around the butte where it seemed we found something else at every turn. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.