Fragile Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6644 - 6707 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: 1.4 mi. north of kiosk junction
Fee: none
Attractions: cliff dwelling

The Fragile Ruin is located in the House Park area of Beef Basin northwest of Monticello, Utah. Within a quarter mile of San Juan County Road #104/BLM Road 88 the well hidden ruin can be found within an alcove that sits above a shallow wash.

When driving toward Beef Basin from the south the Fragile Ruin will be the first of the areas many sites. With no trailhead marker it is very easy to drive past the ruin without knowing it is there. A GPS with a waypoint for the trailhead can be indispensable but with or without that you will want to zero your odometer as you turn off of CR #107/Forest Road 88 onto CR #104/FR #93 and measure ~7.7 miles. After crossing the boundary of the Mani La Sal National Forest and entering the area managed by the BLM the road remains CR#104 but also becomes BLM Road 88.

If stopping at the Fragile Ruin on your trip out of Beef Basin zero your odometer at the junction kiosk as you turn south back toward civilization.

Measuring from the kiosk junction there will be a road on the left at the 0.7 mile point that leads to a few primitive campsites and the small Cave Ruin. At the 1.2 mile point the road to the Turner Cabin and pictographs branches off on the right. Around the 1.3 mile point there is an old road, that now looks like a wash, on the right that leads to the Fragile Ruin. The route to the Fragile Ruin is no longer drivable. At this point the main road isn't quite wide enough to pull over out of the way to park but if you drive another 100 feet or so there is a water diversion track where it is easy enough to back into and get out of the way.

Once found the former road makes route finding to the alcove easy enough.

The old road which is now a sandy wash isn't much fun to hike up so following along either side might be more preferable.

At the end of the road find your way down to the wash where you can scramble up the opposite side to the alcove.

The most prominent aspect of the alcove is the seemingly loosely fitted walls that remain of a moderately sized room.

The entire alcove appears to have been well used from one end to the other with hints of rooms and work areas still remaining.

The BLM has added supports in an effort to shore up the yet standing walls. Be sure to give a wide berth to all the walls and supports. It's surprising that cattle were able to be kept out of the alcove that is so low and easily accessible.

The natural beauty of the Beef Basin area and the nearby Needles District of Canyonlands National Park can be enjoyed both along the long drive and all of the various trails.

This final photo shows well enough the spot where we suggested to park to get off of the road and out of the way. The Fragile Ruin is one of those that most people probably only visit when they find they have a little extra time. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.