Battle of the Bulge Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5481 - 5779 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Battle of the Bulge
Fee: none
Attractions: ruin, petroglyphs

A small cliff dwelling ruin can be found at the base of the towering wingate cliffs that climbers have named the Battle of the Bulge Buttress in the Indian Creek Recreation Area of Bears Ears National Monument northwest of Monticello, Utah. Several petroglyphs can be found nearby on the same level as the ruin and on two sides of a boulder down near the highway.

To get there find your way to Newspaper Rock on Highway 211 and measure about 4.3 miles to where there is a large pull off on the west side of the road. The pull off is also about 1,100 feet past the Donnelly Canyon parking area where climbers congregate to access the Battle of the Bulge and Super Crack buttresses.

After crossing the highway from the pull off look for a couple of cairns that mark the start of the trail up to the ruin and climbing area.

The route up to the ruin follows an old constructed trail where flat rocks have been placed to form steps that take a lot of the work out of climbing the moderately steep slope. The trails construction might date as far back as the time of the Civilian Conservation Corp.

The ruin is perched on a flat slab of rock that forms a small bench right up next to the high wall without any overhang to protect it from the elements.

Climbing up to the same level as the ruin reveals that there is a little more to it than what it appears from below.

It seems more than likely that the less than conveniently located ruin, with its commanding view of the valley below, was meant as a redoubt.

It's not too hard to walk along the base of the cliff as it wraps around into Donnelly Canyon. About 250 feet in that direction there are a couple of petroglyphs. We didn't explore all the way around the cliff on this trip so there might be more than what we found.

There is a boulder all the way back down the mountain near the highway that has some interesting petroglyphs on two of its sides.

On one of the sides there are at least 3 anthropomorphic images, a couple of bighorn sheep and several geometrical shapes with lots of small dots.

The bighorn sheep and what might be an atlatl lend a hunting theme to the boulder.

 On the side that faces away from the highway there are some bighorn and maybe deer tracks.

Here is a closer look at some of the tracks. Looking at this side of the boulder as an easel you can see that the long line of thin tracks might represent the deer that travel in the seclusion of the trees along the course of Indian Creek and the other tracks as those of bighorn that travel from here, across Indian Creek, and up Titus Canyon. Although we haven't noticed any bighorn right here there was some recent scat on the lower part of the trail leading up to the ruin.

The Battle of the Bulge Ruin is visible from the highway but it is well camouflaged and far enough away that it's not likely to be seen by passing motorists. There is another similar ruin a short distance away at the Supercrack Buttress. While it isn't too difficult to climb up to this ruin with its constructed trail it does require enough effort that when combined with more than a dozen other sites along Indian Creek you are sure to be fairly worn out by the end of the day. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.