Upper Butler Wash & Target Ruin - Cedar Mesa
LENGTH: 1 hour for the tourist ruins, 2-4 for the other ruins
MAPS: Hotel Rock, UT
HypeWith ruins dating from 500-1300AD, and easy access, Upper Butler Wash provides a great outing. This is a highly recommended hike that should be accessible to most anyone. Due to it's short nature, and easy access from pavement, this is also an excellent choice during inclement weather.
Note: Indian ruins are very old archeological artifacts, some dating back well over 1000 years. Please be very respectful when visiting them. Do not touch petroglyphs or pictographs, as this results in damage. Also, please leave any artifacts you may find as you found them. Without careful preservation, these site can be destroyed. Follow the old adage, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."
TrailheadTo reach the trailhead, go south out of Blanding about 3.5 miles until the junction with highway 95. Follow highway 95 about 10.6 miles until crossing a bridge over Butler Wash. This is the trailhead for the main ruins, park at a small pullout on the west side of the bridge. (just before mile post 111) To reach the tourist ruins, continue just past mile post 111, to a signed paved road on the right. Follow this a short distance to the trailhead where parking and pit toilets are available.
To reach the tourist ruins, simply follow the signed trail. It is a short hike, less than 1 mile round trip. There are some interpretative guides at the trailhead. Be sure to pick one up, as it provides great information about the area and the hike. The trail ends at an overlook where you can see several ruins down below.
Upper Butler Wash Ruins
For the upper Butler Wash Ruins, cross the fence on the north side of the bridge from the trailhead. There is a trail register here. Follow the well worn trail about 5-10 minutes to where the canyon and trail forks. Go left here, following the canyon bottom up canyon as it deepens and turns to slickrock. About 30-45 minutes from the trailhead, you will see ruins on the left. The first ones you come to are quite impressive. Just up canyon about 5 minutes from the first set of ruins is a second, equally interesting set of ruins. Be careful climbing the rickety ladder to reach them.
As you return from the ruins, watch for a side trail leaving the canyon on the right about 5 minutes down from the last ruin. This short side trail (5-10 minutes) climbs steeply up the bank, then levels out to a small side canyon. In this side canyon, on the north side, are some great ruins. They are not reachable from the ground. If you look closely though, on the west wall, you can see a target painted. These are often referred to as the Target Ruin because of this painting. Also notice in the slickrock below them 2 shallow holes. Presumably these where used to hold the bottom of a ladder in place for the Indians to access the ruins.
Return the way you came.