Another Secret Ruin

It doesn’t get much better than spending days wandering the canyons and gulches of Cedar Mesa, looking for rock art and ruins.    Sometimes you know exactly what you’re looking for, since many folks have been there before, and the site is hardly a secret.  Those sites are still exciting to find, because they’re either hard to get to or just plain amazing.  (The Big Man Panel in Grand Gulch is a good example of both: it’s hardly undiscovered, but it’s not particularly easy to get too.  But once you see it: wow!  It doesn’t matter that plenty of others have seen it too.)

Sometimes it happens that you write in your blog about a “secret ruin” and a reader comments and tells you about an even better ruin that you missed.  When that happens, you have no choice but to return to Natural Bridges National Monument and seek out the even better ruin.

So that’s what we did a few weeks ago.

The hike down to Sipapu Bridge is a fun hike, with three ladders to climb down, and incredible views the whole way.  We hiked past the first ruin that we saw last spring and kept going.  On one bend of the canyon we discovered some fairly old signatures, which was pretty cool:

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Not Ancestral Pueblan, though.  We kept going.

I was just beginning to wonder if my blog informer was correct when we turned a corner and saw the ruin.  Excellent!


This was a nice little ruin, but I couldn’t see a way to get up there.  There had to be more.

We followed the cliff face, and there it was: a beautiful little ruin full of ancient kivas.

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There was even a kiva with an intact roof!   There are a few others on Cedar Mesa, but it’s a pretty darned rare find.


There were intact small rooms along the edge of the ruin, and some great rock art – including a wonderful panel of hands that were created by blowing the dye through reeds.

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I saw one lone pot shard  in the midden area of the ruin.  I’m sure there were more (I hope so!) but I didn’t want to tramp all over the midden looking for them.


We ate lunch sitting on the “veranda” of the ruin, looking out at the same view the Ancestral Pueblans saw 800 years ago:




About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Hiking, Outdoors, Southwest hikes, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Another Secret Ruin

  1. avian101 says:

    Great pictures! I love all that stuff! Thanks Cindy for the tour! 🙂

  2. Deano says:

    Fantastic! Great to see very little in the way of vandalism too

  3. Natural Bridges NM is one of my favorite spots, a little gem of a park. Once we spent an entire day hiking and exploring down in the creek bed underneath the three bridges. There are numerous hand prints and pictographs down in the canyon that most people miss. It’s a magical place!

  4. TedG says:

    That is incredible! Thank you for sharing.

  5. 7feetnorth says:

    Wow, that’s really cool! It must have been neat to see that. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  6. This is a wonderful looking place…..walking in the footsteps of people long gone.
    It’s amazing to think of what was going on and the way that people were living in other places on earth, when these people lived within these evocative cliffs. Wonderful that there is so much organic material left

    • westerner54 says:

      It is amazing, isn’t it? I can always hear the kids running around, the women grinding corn, the men hanging out in the kivas discussing the important news of the day…

  7. I’m fascinated with this part of the country and the history, and I love your exploring. keep it up and keep posting!

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