Left Hand Draw

Round Trip Distance: 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5536 - 5638 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: 2 Story/Left Hand Draw
Fee: none
Attractions: pueblo, cliff dwelling

The main branch of Whiskers Draw, in the Bears Ears National Monument, west of Blanding, Utah, drains an area between Comb Ridge and Cottonwood Wash. This post is for a sprawling ridge top pueblo and a cave ruin that are both located near each other in a left branch of the main draw.

To get there turn north off of UT-95 onto the Cottonwood Road.  At the 6.2 mile point go left onto the Elk Mountain Road. At the 9.1 mile point from UT-95 turn left onto CR#229 the Whiskers Draw Road. Continue on the Whiskers Draw Road for 2.5 miles before turning right for another 8 tenths of a mile as described in the post for the 2 Story Moki House.

While the trail to the 2 Story Moki House begins from this same spot by continuing up the road on the right the trail up the Left Hand Draw starts out right beside where our truck is parked in this photo.

The trail leading up the draw is hard to distinguish in places so you have to do your best to follow along starting in the wash and then mostly a little higher up on the right bank to get around places where it is choked with brush. In less than a half mile you will come to a fork in the wash where there is a distinct trail that climbs out of the wash and up onto the sagebrush covered bench between the 2 forks.

As soon as the trail begins climbing out of the wash you will probably begin noticing shards of pottery scattered about on the ground.

After hiking another hundred feet or so the amount of pottery and lithic scatter becomes greater and shallow depressions begin appearing. The depressions are all that remain above ground of the rather extensive pueblo that once occupied the ridge between the two washes.

One of the rooms sits on a little knob overlooking the wash on the west side of the ridge.

From this vantage point, and others, you can spot a cave with a thick growth of trees and brush in front of the entrance. A keen eye might be able to notice from this distance ruins within the very dark cave.

Without too much trouble you can find your way down off of the ridge and across the wash to the cave. You might also discover another pueblo room or two in the process as there are a couple of rooms that kind of hang off of the side of the ridge on that side. The cave can be entered on its far right side with the least amount of brush in the way.

These photos might not show it but at one time the inside of the cave was like one big structure of adjoining rooms of all sizes. From the many small excavations it is obvious as you explore the cave that either Wetherell and his crew or pothunters from a more recent time looted the ruins of their treasures.

This portion of the walls still shows a coating of white paint or plaster.

Here is a design that looks a little like a dragonfly, or maybe two, etched into the plaster.

 Here you can see another wall behind the long white wall. There are small rooms built between the two walls.

A few images of rock art can be found on the back wall. Here is a negative image that was made by scratching away the soot. There are also a few wet charcoal images.

This is one of the larger pieces of pottery that was scattered about in the dirt. Be sure to leave this and other artifacts right where you find them. It is illegal to remove artifacts or to do any digging or excavating or anything else that might damage the ruins or disturb the sites.

For those that are already in the area visiting the 2 Story Moki House it makes a lot of sense to also take in the pueblo and cave ruins that are only a short distance up the Left Hand Draw. Sites like the pueblo require you to imagine for yourself what they must have looked like originally but it is very interesting to contemplate how the ridge would have appeared in its heyday covered with the many rooms of the pueblo. I suppose the same thing could be said for the cave or any other site for that matter. Further exploration in the area would undoubtedly reveal even more sites but as far as the ones here go if you would like to see them for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.