River House Ruins

River House Ruin
AKA: Snake House

Cedar Mesa
Anasazi Ruins & Petroglyphs

           River House is awesome because you get the trifecta - pioneer history, Anasazi ruins and rock art. Best of all it's an adventure the entire family can enjoy.

          Pioneer History: the route retraces part of the route traveled in 1879 when a group of Mormon pioneers began the now famous Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition. This route visits the historical San Juan Hill and the Barton Trading Post.

          Anasazi Ruins: River House is one of the better and more photogenic Anasazi ruins to be found in Cedar Mesa.

          Rock Art: An easy 1 mile hike along the base of a sandstone cliffs will allow you to visit literally hundreds of petroglyph panels containing several thousand individual figures.

Circle of Friends:
          River House 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"

River House Anasazi Ruins

General Information:
          River House Ruin is a fun adventure suitable for the entire family. The ruins are impressive and well presserved. The ruins are accessible year round in good weather. This route also visits one of the largest panels of rock art that I know of, it is massive. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints. A GPS is useful in verifying you are on the correct route and in locating specific ruins. Navigation for this route is easy.

Shauna at River House Shauna and Stormy at River House

Trailhead Information:
          A four wheel drive vehicle is required to reach River House. A stock four wheel drive truck or SUV should have no problem driving right to the Anasazi ruins. Camping is available nearby.

Anasazi Petroglyphs Barton Trading Post

          San Juan Hill - This is the obstacle that finally broke the Hole-in-the-Rock Emigrants. By the time the 236 emigrants reached the base of the hill in the spring of 1880 they had defeated many miles of rugged terrain. Elizabeth Morris Decker, in a letter to her parents, wrote a vivid account of the trek "...the roughest country you or anybody else ever seen; its nothing in the world but rocks and holes, hills and hollows. The mountains are just one solid rock as smooth as an apple." The brave pioneers cut dugways and blasted roads through the slickrock and cut a passable trail through the dense cedar forests. On the north bank of the San Juan River the weary, hungry, and discouraged travelers finally reached the solid rock wall of Comb Ridge and San Juan Hill. According to Lemuel H. Redd Jr, who drove a horse team up the hill, the steep, slick grade took its toll on the exhausted animals and men. Many of the horses went into "spasms and near-convulsions" as they battled for footholds on the upward climb. When it was all over "the worst stretches [on the hill] could be easily identified by the dried blood and matted hair from the forelegs of the struggling teams." The pioneers reached the present site of Bluff in April 1880 and set to work establishing a new community.

River House aka: Snake House

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