Spirit Cave

Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5732 - 5834 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Spirit Cave
Fee: none
Attractions: cliff dwelling

Spirit Cave is located a little southwest of Blanding, Utah at the head of a short canyon. The cave is a large ground level alcove beneath a spillover that has the remains of a dozen or so cliff dwelling type rooms and granaries tucked away in its recesses. Most all of the ruins are viewable from the wash above the alcove. For those wanting to make a closer inspection there are several routes that lead down into the wash.

From Blanding head south on US-191 for 4 miles and turn west onto UT-95 toward Natural Bridges National Monument. From the US-191/UT-95 intersection, aka Shirtail Junction, measure 1.7 miles and turn right onto San Juan County Road 288.

Continue on CR 288 for 0.4 miles and turn right. From here the road gets a little rougher. Careful drivers in passenger vehicles might have little or no trouble but if in doubt there is good parking on the left at this point.

After turning right measure another 0.3 miles to a large open area that serves as the trailhead.

There are multiple routes that will get you down the short hill to the bench above the alcove. Some of them require a good bit of scrambling but there are at least one that is an easy walking route.

Most all of the ruins are visible from the rim above the large semicircle alcove. There are multiple scrambling routes that will lead down into the wash for a closer view.

By walking around on the slickrock above the alcove a trail can be found on the east side that leads to a good walk in entrance to the wash. There are a few loose rocks but this route is the easiest, and appeared to be the most popular, that we saw.

The east side of the alcove is subdivided into smaller adjoining sections that each contain some ruins.

Some like this are still well intact. Be sure not to touch the fragile walls or try to enter any of the ruins.

The sandstone above the ruins on the east side of the alcove is heavily blackened from the many fires that were made for warmth and cooking.

A 2 story room that reaches to the top of the alcove still has one full standing wall where holes that once held logs for the between floors are visible.

 This photo was taken on a hot summer day. Air that passes up the wash gets caught beneath the overhand and becomes air conditioned making it very comfortable within the alcove.

At least one granary can be found beneath the alcove on the west side of the wash.

Spirit Cave is a nice collection of ruins that are close to town and within a mile of a paved highway making them an easy site to visit while in the Blanding area. The site has a peaceful atmosphere which might be one of the factors that led to its name. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.