Ruin Rock

Round Trip Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5747 - 6040 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Kachina Bridge
Fee: $20/vehicle
Attractions: ruins, petroglyphs

Ruin Rock is located near Kachina Bridge in the Natural Bridges National Monument west of Blanding, Utah. The site has at least 3 small ruins that include granaries and a large panel of petroglyphs that are in excellent condition. The ruins and petroglyphs are viewable with binoculars from the Kachina Bridge overlook but a short hike is necessary to get close enough to take any photos.

To get there from Blanding drive 4 miles south of town on Highway 191 and turn right onto Highway 95. Continue by following the signs for Natural Bridges National Monument for about another 40 miles. For turn by turn directions enter Natural Bridges National Monument into your driving app and download the directions for offline access as you will eventually lose your cell phone signal. Once you arrive at Natural Bridges follow the park road to the Kachina Bridge trailhead.

From the parking area follow the well built trail that descends into the canyon to Kachina Bridge. This trail includes many rock steps that form short sets of stairs and handrails along some stretches of slickrock. The adventuresome trail with the beautiful canyon scenery make the Kachina Bridge trail one of the best short hikes in Utah.

It isn't necessary to hike all the way into the bottom of the canyon to get to Ruin Rock. A short distance after the Owachomo Bridge Loop trail branches off on the left you will be on about the same level as the bench below Ruin Rock. All you need to do is follow the bench in that direction. You should be able to spot the places where the trail crosses patches of dirt. Be sure to make use of the already existing trails and not create any new ones.

For most of the short distance you will be walking on slickrock and using Ruin Rock as your compass to determine the best route. Do not erect any cairns of your own. If the Parks Service ever wants to mark the trail (doubtful) they will do that themselves.

The ruins and petroglyphs are on a higher level than the bench and the ruins disappear from view the closer you get to Ruin Rock. There are a couple of places where it is possible for an intrepid hiker to scramble up to the ruins but most people are going to find it beyond their comfort or skill level.

These photos of the ruins were taken several hundred feet away.

This ruin was built using a boulder for part of its wall. The boulder obscures most of the ruin from view. At one time there was another room or granary to the right of the boulder and yet another about 20 feet away for which only a small rubble pile remains.

The petroglyphs stick out like a large billboard and are visible from both the overlook up above and Kachina Bridge down below to those that know where to look.

The petroglyphs date mostly back to the Basketmaker periods.

The weapons in use at the time were atlatls that were used for throwing spears or darts.

Notice the 4 dancers in this photo. The top 2 appear to be male and the bottom 2 female. The images are very similar to many others in the area like those found at the Dancers and Men on the Bus panels.

We hiked around to the backside of Ruin Rock and found a couple of places to scramble up but they didn't look much better than those on the south facing side. The main attraction at Ruin Rock are the petroglyphs and they can be seen just fine from below so there's no real reason to attempt scrambling up to the ruin level other than it looked pretty cool up there. We also marked on the map a nice ruin with lots of pictographs that is near Kachina Bridge in the mouth of Lower White Canyon that could be done in conjunction with Ruin Rock and Kachina Bridge. As far as Ruin Rock goes, if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.