Spring On Cedar Mesa

So once again I have spent the last few weeks taking trips into the canyons of Cedar Mesa in search of ruins. I still can’t say that I have found all of the ruins I have been searching for but I did manage to find a few nice sites none the less! I started out the spring by returning to look for Cave 7, the historically significant site where Richard Wetherill identified the presence of the Basketmaker people. This trip I finally made it to Cave 7, of course it was midday and the light wasn’t great for photos so I am not posting any from that site. However, the nearby ruin site named Pastel Alcove Ruin is a beautiful ruin to shoot.

A small ruin perched high up on the canyon wall in Southeastern Utah.

A small ruin perched high up on the canyon wall in Southeastern Utah.

Since I found Cave 7 and Pastel Alcove Ruin I decided to move my ruin search to a new area, Natural Bridges National Monument. I actually had never really spent a lot of time in this part of Cedar Mesa until these last few weeks and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of ruins and the beauty of the area. On my first trip in the area I decided to hike from Sipapu Bridge to Kachina Bridge, this was a nice taste of White Canyon, which runs through Natural Bridges and contains the three natural bridges that the park is famous for. After doing that hike went for a bit longer one the next day, from Sipapu Bridge into the brush-filled reaches of Burch Canyon. That hike was great and there some nice ruins along the way, but I have to say that Burch Canyon is a beast not to be taken lightly. It’s filled with brush and definitely feels more like bush-wacking than canyon hiking.

None the less, I did find a few nice ruins and the small stream running through the canyon was beautiful.

The face of Horsecollar Ruin in Natural Bridges National Monument

The face of Horsecollar Ruin in Natural Bridges National Monument

The next trip that I took to Natural Bridges was even more successful. I have to admit that I had some help from a friend in finding these ruins which I had been looking for. The ruin is known as Remnant Ruin due to the small remnant of a pictograph that hangs above it, and the pictograph is known as Red Bear Panel, otherwise known as Red Dog Panel. Personally I think I’ll go more for Red Bear Panel, but each to their own on that one! There was also a small ruin right underneath Red Bear Panel and I thought it was interesting that among the ruins were a couple of old cut trees. On these trees there were some old metal tags that I am assuming must have been placed there to identify them as artifacts of some sort, or possibly to identify them when they studied them for tree-ring dating. Does anyone have any idea what purpose exactly those small, metal, numbered, tags might serve?

This ruin is commonly referred to as "Remnant Ruin" due to the remnant of a pictograph that hangs above the structure.

This ruin is commonly referred to as “Remnant Ruin” due to the remnant of a pictograph that hangs above the structure.

A pictograph painted on the wall of a large alcove in Natural Bridges National Monument. The meaning may never be known but it will forever bring us closer to these ancient inhabitants of the Four Corners.

A pictograph painted on the wall of a large alcove in Natural Bridges National Monument. The meaning may never be known but it will forever bring us closer to these ancient inhabitants of the Four Corners.

I also hiked into another ruin in the Natural Bridges area named Bigfoot Ruin. Apparently there is a large footprint near one of the doorways in this ruin and that is how the ruin was named. However I couldn’t find the footprint for the life of me! Guess I’m gonna have to go back and look again for that one.

I have to say that this ruin was really fun for me to shoot. I’m not sure what exactly made this ruin so interesting to me, whether it was the time of day and the light that was bouncing in the alcove or if maybe it was just the interesting structures that this site possesses. Either way it was a lot of fun shooting Bigfoot Ruins.

A nice ruin named, Bigfoot Ruin, located deep in a remote canyon in Natural Bridges National Monument.

A nice ruin named, Bigfoot Ruin, located deep in a remote canyon in Natural Bridges National Monument.

The remains of a nice ruin in Natural Bridges National Monument. This ruin is known as Bigfoot Ruin, due to a footprint in the mud next to one of the doors.

The remains of a nice ruin in Natural Bridges National Monument. This ruin is known as Bigfoot Ruin, due to a footprint in the mud next to one of the doors.

I can’t wait to get back and explore some more canyons in Natural Bridges, I’m sure there are many many more secrets waiting to be discovered!

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5 thoughts on “Spring On Cedar Mesa

    • Hi Tyler,
      I will send you an email shortly with a reply! Thanks for checking out my blog and I appreciate your efforts. It took me about a year of slogging around the area to find the location!

    • Hey Ryan, really loved your photos. I’ve been to Cedar Mesa about 25 times, from Massachusetts no less, but have never seen the beautiful Bigfoot and Remant Ruins. I will be there again in October, could you help me out with some hints or coordinates? Thanks. travers00@yahoo.com

  1. Hey Ryan, great pictures. I live over in Cortez area and have been looking for remnant ruin and red bear for a while now. Dropped into a side canyon from highway 95 last year. Pretty sure it’s in that side canyon but didn’t find it. I’m a site steward over here in Canyon of the Ancients NM and spend most of my time searching for ruins and rock art. Its fun but frustrating too. If you have any advice on the Red Bear panel it would be appreciated.
    Gregg Esenwein
    Gesenwein@gmail.com

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