Moab History & Museums: Mule Canyon Ruins in Utah

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Mule Canyon Ruin

Mule Canyon Ruins exhibit Anasazi architecture untouched by modern man. Hike in the pinion-juniper forest along the creek and seek out ancient clues from the past.

  • Fall and spring are the best times of year to visit Mule Canyon.
  • Be sure to obtain a permit at the self-serve post at the trailhead.
  • See ruins that have never been excavated or restored.


Located southeast of Blanding, UT, Mule Canyon Ruins are marvelous examples of the Anasazi culture. These Anasazi habitation sites consist of both above-ground and below-ground dwellings. They lived in the area for about 550 years dating between 750 AD and 1300 AD.

Location & Information

Head south from Moab on Hwy 191 to Blanding. From Blanding, continue south along Highway 191 till you reach Highway 95. Drive east on Hwy 95 for about 1/2 mile to San Juan County Road 263 (Arch Canyon), and then north on that road for about a third of a mile to the parking area.

Fall and spring are the best times to visit this area. Summer temperatures can reach beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

You need a permit from BLM to day hike here which can be obtained from the self-serve post at the trailhead.

For general information, contact the BLM San Juan Field Office at 435-587-2144.


In order to see the remote ruins, you need to hike up the canyon. Wear shoes that can get wet as there are stream crossings. There is an obvious trail in the canyon bottom. The first ruin, “House on Fire,” is about 1.25 miles from the trailhead. This ruin is famous for its beauty when the sunlight is just right in the canyon. Several more ruins are located in the next 4 mile stretch up canyon.

If you are a backpacker, you can camp in Mule Canyon. The total mileage is about 10 miles round trip. A good place to camp is about 3.7 miles from the trailhead at a junction. There are several side canyons to explore the further you go. The further you explore, the more ruins you will see. There are at least eight ruins.

Fun Facts

The ruins are mostly found on the north side of the canyon. During winter months, the north side receives the most sunlight.

This area has not been excavated or restored. What you see is what was left behind. Please leave everything as you found it in order for other folks to enjoy.