Turner Cabin

Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6592 - 6647 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Turner Cabin
Fee: none
Attractions: Old ranch site, pictographs

The Turner Cabin is an old ranch house of sorts that is located in the Beef Basin Area northwest of Monticello, Utah. Within the alcove of a nearby spring, an hundred yards or so up a small canyon, there are a few faint pictographs and indications of an ancient inhabitation.

Making the long journey from Highway 211, on the seasonally travable San Juan County Road #107, turn right near the 25.6 mile point following the directions to Beef Basin. A medium to high clearance 4wd vehicle is recommended up to this point due to the remoteness of the area and the possible need to self rescue but it isn't always needed from current road conditions. Due to the higher elevation and shady north facing slopes the section of CR #107 between the Upper Salt Creek trailhead and this turnoff can be snowed in or extremely muddy between late November and early June.

After turning toward Beef Basin onto CR #104, aka Forest Road 93, aka BLM Road 88, the route descends into the House Park section of the Beef Basin area. Turn left onto the road that comes up near the 7.9 mile point of CR #104. If you come to the kiosk at the junction of CR #104 and CR #119 you will have gone about 1.1 miles too far.

Having turned left off of the Country Road 104 it is about 0.6 miles to the cabin and a few hundred more yards to the alcove of Turner's Spring and the pictographs. After managing the roads up to this point there should be little trouble driving at least another half mile of this side road.

As the road drops down to cross a wash, right before reaching the cabin, there is a rocky shelf that requires a high clearance 4wd. Being so close we decided to park and hike the remaining short distance.

The main section of the cabin is the traditional 12x12 foot square structure that homesteaders were required to build and maintain to gain title to the land according to the various Homestead Acts. That iconic 12x12 footprint leads us to believe that this was originally a homestead but not willing to take the time to research the fact we'll leave it as an assumption.

With a 55 gallon drum for a wood stove what other comforts would be needed to bring cheer and warmth to your humble abode and its dirt floors other than maybe the spring bed that sits in the corner. (The author of this blog actually owned a house some 50 years hence that half of the floors of which were well swepped dirt. Don't we all miss our dirt floors, arsenic wallpaper, lead paint, parlor buckets and outhouses that were the telltale tokens of those 'Good old days' that everyone seems to dream of with so little real knowledge of the actual circumstances.)

Behind the cabin there is an old corral which to the right of is a trail that heads up the small canyon.

As you head up the canyon stay to the right and endeavor to gain the bench that is on the same level as the alcove at the upper end of the canyon. There is some minor scrambling involved as you transition up the slope but nothing at all difficult if you seek out the most suitable routes. Those that make the mistake of traveling up the bottom of the canyon to the alcove will encounter many large boulders and other difficulties but will still find that reaching the alcove is not impossible.

Once the damp alcove is reached a very close inspection of the areas that are mostly above waist high will reveal a few pictographs. There are actually maybe a score to be found but most are too faded to be recognizable.

Reddish brown paint makes some of them easier to spot once your eyes get adjusted to the different shades and colors of the natural rock.

This is a handprint that is after a style that is not uncommon in the area. Microbes and natural forces are ever so slowly dissolving the very surface of the rock upon which the images were first created.

Where we parked and began hiking made a nice primitive campsite as well as a good place to leave the truck that was in nobody's way. There may have been several other such spots along the short road that leads to the cabin. For those that do want to camp in this area overnight be sure not to setup anywhere around the cabin or the spring. Also be sure to camp at an existing site and not create any new ones. There are no shortage of good places to camp in the Beef Basin area. As far as the Turner Cabin and its few faint pictographs go, if you would like to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.