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Cedar Mesa Ruins

Friday – Sunday, June 9-11, 2017

Cedar Mesa Temple
The Temple of Cedar Mesa hidden in Bears Ears National Monument.

Typically I avoid visiting Cedar Mesa in June because of the hotter temperatures and especially because of the annoying cedar gnats (no-see-ums) that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. However, I made an exception this year since my friend Alan and his father would be visiting the area this weekend and invited me to join them. Our friend Jerry, who I met last year on a backpacking trip on the Arizona Strip was going to be there and my old friend John Mumaw, who I hadn’t seen in a few years, was also going to be stopping by.

I left work on Friday and drove down to our meeting spot and campsite in Comb Wash about an hour before sunset where I was able to catch up with John for a bit while we waited for Alan and Jerry to return from a hike. The temperature was starting to cool down when I arrived, the wind was not too strong, and there were no bugs around at this location, so it turned out to be a very nice evening. We stayed up much later than I typically do, but I slept well until the sun came back out and woke me up on Saturday morning. After coming up with a game plan for the day we visited a small granary and then headed over to Bluff for breakfast at the Twin Rocks Cafe. Unfortunately, John had decided that the temperature was going to be too hot for him to hike this afternoon, so he headed back home after breakfast. After parting ways with John we drove up onto Cedar Mesa and spent the rest of the afternoon hiking to a few ruins and exploring some small side canyons. We found a campsite on Cedar Mesa later in the evening, had dinner and went to bed earlier than the previous night. Unfortunately, the cedar gnats were out and annoying at this campsite. They were certainly not the worst I have seen, but I could have done without them and while it was still a bit windy this evening, it wasn’t enough to keep them away. On Sunday morning we slept in a little later than the previous day, Jerry made us breakfast burritos for breakfast and then we went off on one more hike to visit some very nice ruins before it was time for me to head back home. Here are a few photos from the weekend…

Blue Spiral Ruins

Blue Spiral Ruins

Overhang Granaries

Overhang Granaries

Front Step Ruin

Front Step Ruin

Alan taking a photo of The Temple.

Alan & The Temple

A very small granary we found while exploring.


Shelf Ruins

Shelf Ruins

T-Shaped Door

T-Shaped Entrance

At the edge of a canyon…

At The Edge

Sunlight Ruins

There was some nice color in this alcove…

Two Doorways

Alan taking a photo of the Blue Spiral Ruins.

Alan & The Blue Spiral

This granary had a very nice roof on it.

Intact Roof Ruin

A view from above.

Intact Roof

Glowing Doorway

Corner Room

Big Blue Spiral

Big Blue Spiral


Three Hands Granary

Three Hands Granary

All That Remains

I just loved how these structures were built up on this ledge. Very cool!

Top Shelf Ruins

Nice ruins in a big alcove.

Big Alcove

The Temple

The Temple

Alan took this photo with my camera since I couldn’t get across the narrow ledge to reach it.

Corner Storage

>> Cedar Mesa Ruins Photo Gallery


  1. Joan Watson
    Joan Watson June 14, 2017

    As always, your photographs are amazing and discriptive narrative so appreciated! We recently completed a two month trip beginning at home in Washington, traveling south on coast highway 101 to California’s Bay Area, then Red Rock Country and all the major parks with easy access ruins and petroglyths in Arizona and destinations north in Utah and beyond. Canyon De Chelly and Mesa Verde were the highlights, but all our stops were diverse and wonderful. Your blog offers opportunities for me to see so much more. Thank You!

    PS: I grit my teeth on numerous roads along cliff edges where canyon floors were far below, but The Hogback was a fright that I will never forget, double the impact! Even so, it was so worth getting to our destination attractions! I can only imagine the jeep trails you’ve traveled! Yikes!

  2. cooper
    cooper April 8, 2022

    great shots! – can you contact me on info?

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