Cedar Mesa and its canyons offer unique opportunities for exploring in a remote, primitive and wilderness-like setting. Part of the Bears Ears National Monument, the Cedar Mesa area was inhabited by Ancestral Puebloans between 700 and 2,000 years ago with many ancient dwellings, farming areas and rock art sites still remaining to be explored. If you visit, please treat everything you find with care and respect. Most canyons and cultural sites can only be reached by hiking or backpacking.
Cedar Mesa offers the adventurous visitor a chance to practice outdoor recreation skills and Leave No Trace techniques in a rare primitive setting. Except for a few sites along the State Route 95 corridor, the Kane Gulch Ranger Station, the Bullet, and Fish and Owl trailheads, you will not find vault toilets or picnic tables. There is limited seasonal drinking water available during business hours at the ranger station, but no trash receptacles. Mesa top car camping is primitive and is often accessed along roads requiring high clearance vehicles. Hiking is on slickrock canyon ledges and along wash bottoms and primitive foot paths. There are no constructed trails or directional signs along the hiking routes. No wood or charcoal fires are allowed in any of the Cedar Mesa canyons.
Map and Directions
Access to the area is from State Highway 95 (SR 95) between Blanding and Hite, or on SR 261 between SR 95 and Mexican Hat. The Kane Gulch Ranger Station is on SR 261 about four miles south of the junction with SR 95. The Grand Gulch trailhead is located adjacent to the Kane Gulch Ranger Station, which has a paved parking lot and restroom. Dirt roads lead to many trailheads at the heads of canyons and at the mouths of some canyons draining off the east side of the mesa into Comb Wash. Many of these roads can be recommended only for high-clearance vehicles.
Things to Know
Permits are required for hiking and backpacking in the canyons of Cedar Mesa. Day use permits may be obtained at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station or at trailheads. During the spring and fall, permits for Moon House Ruin are only available at the ranger station. Overnight backpacking permits must be obtained on the morning of the trip at the ranger station. Advance overnight permits may be reserved up to 90 days prior to your trip through the BLM Monticello Field Office by calling (435) 587-1510.