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Kane Gulch to Junction & Turkey Pen Ruins

Difficult
 4.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A beautiful canyon hike highlighting two of the many Anasazi ruins found in Cedar Mesa.


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Map Key

9.4

Miles

15.1

KM

Loop

6,425' 1,958 m

High

5,861' 1,786 m

Low

1,249' 381 m

Up

1,249' 381 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

64%

Max Grade (33°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views

Family Friendly Though long, the fantastic ruins, creek crossing, and cool rocks make this fun for kids.

Please Respect and Protect archaeological sites: Stay on trail, help prevent damage. Don’t move artifacts, let everyone enjoy the discovery. Stay out of ancient buildings and off walls, they are fragile! Report looting and vandalism: 1 800 722 3998

Overview

Explore fascinating Anasazi ruins and a beautiful canyon in an isolated setting.

Description

Starting right out of the ranger station, cross the road and enjoy easy hiking in the desert wash. Pass through tall tunnels of grass until the canyon starts in about a mile. There's an unusual stand of aspen trees here, which would normally require a much higher elevation. But they have survived in this micro-climate as clones of the same tree for 11,000 years!

At 2 miles, the canyon opens to a huge bowl and pour-over. The canyon becomes much deeper here, with imposing walls on each side. You'll cross the stream many times, but the trail remains easy (though not always easy to find - look for cairns!).

At 4 miles, you come to an major side canyon to the right and a huge grove of cottonwoods. Look up to the right on the cliff and you'll see the Junction Ruins - perched under a huge overhang with excellent natural protection. Below the cliff is the "midden," or trash heap. Yep, this is where they threw the trash from the ruins above. Tons of broken pottery sherds litter the ground. Respect the area and do not disturb the remains. There are fun ruins to explore on ground level as well as the higher ones, which you cannot access.

Back on the trail, continue .7 miles to the Turkey Pen Ruin, with more houses up high on the cliff. Down below are many houses and a kiva that you can explore. The highlight here is a set of sticks that have stood for nearly 1,000 years and appears to be a pen to hold turkeys. Excellent petroglyphs line the wall, making this an exciting destination for all.

The Kane Gulch Trail continues for many miles, but this is the turn-around point for this hike.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#4

in Cedar Mesa

#2696

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in Cedar Mesa

#146

in Utah

#2,696

Overall
20 Views Last Month
4,995 Since Oct 5, 2016
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Photos

Looking up at the upper, inaccessible Junction Ruins
Oct 5, 2016 near Blanding, UT
Beautiful canyon leading to Anasazi ruins.
Oct 5, 2016 near Blanding, UT
Cool rock in the wash!
Oct 6, 2016 near Blanding, UT
How did they get to their homes???
Oct 6, 2016 near Blanding, UT
The amazing Turkey Pen is still standing hundreds years later.
Oct 5, 2016 near Blanding, UT
An enormous boulder split in two and left this slot
Oct 6, 2016 near Blanding, UT

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Check-Ins

Nov 1, 2018
Jordan Bernhardt
9.4mi
Oct 2, 2016
Nick Wilder