Lower Mule Canyon Ruins

Lower Mule Canyon
Anasazi Ruins

Cedar Mesa

           Lower Mule Canyon contains several easy to access Anasazi (sometimes called Ancient Pueblo or Ancestral Pueblo) cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. These ruins are almost effortless to reach and require only a short stroll. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Circle of Friends:
          Lower Mule Canyon is part of the "Circle of Friends" program. Members of the "Circle of Friends" have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints, trailhead location and detailed maps. If you would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign up page.

"Circle of Friends"

Lower Mule Canyon Petroglyph Panel Lower Mule Canyon Ruins

General Information:
          Lower Mule Canyon requires a short hike. The route is suitable for adults, seniors and children of all ages. This is a vary nice group of ruins that are easy to access. The route is 1/2 mile each way with minor elevation gain. This is a desert environment, every member of your hiking party should carry a minimum of at least one liter of water. The ruins are accessible year round in good weather.

          A GPS is useful in verifying you are on the correct route. Navigation for this route is easy. Lower Mule Canyon is rated 1A I using the Canyon Rating System.

Lower Mule Canyon Ruins Lower Mule Canyon Ruins

Ancient Pueblo vs. Ancestral Pueblo vs. Anasazi:
          The word "Anasazi" has popularly come to mean 'ancient ones' but is considered by some to be a racist term. The word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." It is unfortunate that a non-Pueblo word has come to stand for a tradition that is certainly ancestral Pueblo. The term was first applied to the ruins of Mesa Verde by Richard Wetherill, a rancher and trader who, in 1888-1889, was the first Anglo-American to explore the sites in that area. Wetherill knew and worked with Navajos and understood what the word meant. The name was further sanctioned in archaeology when it was adopted by Alfred V. Kidder, the acknowledged dean of Southwestern Archaeology. Kidder felt that is was less cumbersome than a more technical term he might have used.

          Using the term Ancient Pueblo or Ancestral Pueblo is also problematical. Such usage obscures the observation that the Mogollon tradition is also considered to be ancestral to Pueblo peoples. Most archaeologists are tradition bound and continue to use the term Anasazi, which is prominent in their professional literature. Additionally, some archaeologists who would try to change the term have worried that because the Pueblos speak different languages, there are different words for "ancestor," and using one might be offensive to people speaking other languages.

Lower Mule Canyon Ruins

Trailhead Information:
This trailhead is accessible to all vehicles in dry weather conditions.

Lower Mule Canyon Ruins


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