Wilson Ranch Granaries

Round Trip Distance: 500 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5712 - 5806 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: N. Cottonwood/Wilson Ranch Rd.
Fee: none
Attractions: granaries

The Wilson Ranch Granaries are located along North Cottonwood Creek northwest of Monticello, Utah. Both granaries sit side by side sharing a sheltered ledge that is about 100 feet above the valley floor. It is a very short hike up to the granaries but the nature of the side of the hill increases the difficulty.

To get there first find your way to San Juan County Road 107, aka the Bridger Jack Mesa Road. The turnoff for this road is on Highway 211, as you head to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, right at 20 miles from US Highway 191 between Moab and Monticello. 

A short distance from the turnoff the road crosses the creek. This photo was taken during spring runoff. Normally the water is low enough that 2wd highway vehicles seem to cross with little or no trouble.

Right around 9.2 miles from Highway 211 turn left onto CR 180. At first this road is normally also suitable for 2wd vehicles. After a few hundred feet the road descends a dugout that is a little steep. There aren't any potholes from vehicles spinning their tires climbing backup up the dugout, and we have never had to use 4wd, but it is something worth mentioning. If you decide not to drive down the dugout you will only add about a half mile to your hike and would still be able to visit the granaries as well as the nearby Big Ruins and Little Ruins.

Go left at the bottom of the dugout where CR 108, the Wilson Ranch Road, meets up with the N. Cottonwood Road.

After another few hundred feet there is a side canyon on the left where the Big Ruins and Little Ruins can be found. Those that know where to look can actually see them from the top of the dugout. Any 2wd or low clearance vehicles will want to park here and hike the last little bit to the granaries. The N. Cottonwood Road at this point has been impassable due to being washed out. People have been getting around the washout by driving through the brush on the left.

Right around the corner from the side canyon the granaries can be spotted up near the rim on a ledge beneath an overhang.

There is less than 100 feet of elevation gain getting up to the granaries but it's a bit of a zigzag scramble getting around all of the talus.

The 2 granaries sit side by side on the ledge.

It's easy enough to get up to where you can look down into one of the granaries and see some of the remaining mortar. A person wouldn't be able to climb all the way up onto the ledge without causing damage to the ruins so please don't make any such attempts.

While the granaries are partially visible from the North Cottonwood Road there was really no way of being certain whether there were any petroglyphs or pictographs like those found at the nearby Big Ruins and Little Ruins without actually scrambling up the side of the hill for a closer look. Given more time and energy a person could search all the way around the cliffs on that level and perhaps find more things of interest. From what we saw it wouldn't be an easy undertaking. On the map that we are providing there are 8 more sites marked that are nearby to explore. We were able to find and photograph all but one. As far as this pair of granaries go if you would like to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.