Over the past month or so we have been traveling along Utah Highway 95 between Hanksville and Blanding, Utah. In this installment we will look at a couple of actual signed points of interest along the southern portion of the route. No off-road travel or way finding required! Best of all, between the two attractions there is a free campground with huge shady cottonwoods and those famous red sandstone cliffs of Utah serving as a scenic backdrop!
If you are RVing from Hanksville to Blanding, the first of our two stops is Mule Canyon Ruins. Unlike typical Anasazi ruins in this area that are located in the canyons under cliff ledges, Mule Canyon Ruins is located above the canyons and contains surface dwellings. This site is believed to have been occupied starting around 750 AD reaching its peak somewhere between 1,000 and 1,150 AD. The site contains a paved parking loop suitable for any sized RV, restrooms, easy trail access to the ruins and interpretive signs. Entry is clearly signed from Hwy 95.
After spending a night at Comb Wash Campground or any of the numerous boondocking sites up and down the wash from the campground, our next stop is Butler Wash Ruin. This ruin is a typical Anasazi cliff dwelling. It was built and occupied about 1200 AD. At the site you can view living areas, storage and four ceremonial structures known as kivas. This area also contains a large parking loop for easy RV access, restrooms, but a less accessible trail. Hiking distance to and from the ruin overlook is one mile and takes approximately a half hour over an uneven rocky trail. Interpretive signs along the trail identify native vegetation and how it was used by the Anasazi. The viewpoint features a fenced overlook and additional interpretive signs. The entrance to the site is also clearly signed from Hwy 95.
Both attractions are free along with the campground, no passes or permits required. A free campground and attractions is my kind of adventure in RVing!
If you go:
You will find the turnoff to Mule Canyon Ruins at: N37 32.413 W109 44.720
You will find the turnoff for Comb Wash Campground at N37 30.684 W109 39.232 From the turn, travel south on well graded (dirt) Comb Wash Road (suitable for any RV) for about 200 ft. to the campground. The campground features vault toilets, fire rings and picnic tables.
You will find the turnoff for Butler Wash Ruins at N37 31.316 W109 37.950
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Duane McDade says
I too have been looking at ruins in the area you addressed. There are a series of ruins down the Butler Wash. You can get a handout at the Fort in Bluff. I am leaving Bluff tomorrow in a 34 ft Motor coach pulling a car. My GPS is avoiding 95 but my RV atlas reflects it as an acceptable RV route. Care to share your opinion?
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
You should be fine on Hwy 95, I have traveled it twice with an extended cab truck with an 8ft bed and 27ft travel trailer (50ft overall length). While it may not be the fastest route (some short grades and curves), it is extremely scenic. Be sure to hike back to the “House on Fire Ruins” while in the Butler Wash area.
Dave Helgeson - Adventures in RVing says
FYI – Make sure your GPS doesn’t try to route you up Hwy 261 where it intersects Hwy 95. There is a section of Hwy 261 known as the Moki Dugway which is a old section of gravel mining road with hairpin turns and steep grades.