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Delicate Arch

Arches National Park - Like Nowhere Else on Earth

Corona Arch

Moab Utah - Surprises Around Every Corner

Comb Ridge

Cedar Mesa - Feel the Wildness

The Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon


Shash Jáa Unit

The Shash Jáa Unit includes an area south of Elk Ridge that encompasses the Bears Ears buttes, then curves east to include Mule Canyon, Arch Canyon, and Butler Wash. The monument then narrows to the south, roughly following Comb Ridge to the banks of the San Juan River. Within its borders are ample opportunities to recreate and enjoy solitude laced with glimpses of past cultures. To get there, travel south from Blanding to the turnoff to Highway 95. Take Highway 95 west for about 10 miles (16 km) to the eastern border of the Shash Jáa Unit.

Things to see

Bears Ears formation

Bears Ears formation: The Bears Ears National Monument is named for the twin buttes located at the north end of Cedar Mesa. This formation stands high above the horizon, making it a landmark that can be spotted from far away. A good view of the buttes can be had as you drive along Highway 95, near the turnoff to Hwy 261. From the east, this will be about 32 miles (51 km) west of Blanding, Utah. Coming from the west, it is about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the turnoff to Natural Bridges (UT 275).


Butler Wash Ruins - Photo Bob Wick/BLM

 Butler Wash Ruins: This hike is accessed directly off U.S. Highway 95, about 14 miles (22 km) from Blanding, Utah. It is signed and the parking area is on the north side of the highway. The parking area is paved and pit toilet facilities are available. The hiking trail winds its way across some small washes and over slickrock before reaching an overlook of a cliff dwelling, 0.5 miles (.8 km) across the canyon. Round trip hiking distance is 1 mile (1.6 km), and travel time is approximately an hour. It is an easy to moderate hike.



House on Fire - Photo by Bob Wick/BLMMule Canyon: A permit is required to hike either the North or South Fork of Mule Canyon. Permits can be obtained at the trailhead or at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station. The fairly easy trail along the South Fork of Mule Canyon leads to ancestral Puebloan structures, including House on Fire. From Blanding, Utah go south to Highway 95. Follow Highway 95 for about 19 miles (14.4 km) to milepost 102. Just past the milepost, turn north (right) onto graded County Road 263. Across the cattle guard on the left are a bulletin board and fee station (where you get get a permit). Drive 0.25 mile (.40 km) north to the trailhead (where the road goes over Mule Canyon). There is no constructed trail, but the route follows the creek bottom by a commonly used footpath. In about 1 mile (1.5 km) you will see House on Fire. Other structures are also visible along the trail. 

Mule Canyon Ruins: The Mule Canyon Ruins include a well-preserved 700-year-old surface pueblo and a restored kiva. This site is directly off of U.S. Highway 95, about 20 miles (32 km) west of Blanding, Utah. It is well-signed and the parking area is on the north side of the highway. Interpretive signing and vault toilets are provided. The site is handicapped accessible.

Sand Island PetroglyphsSand Island petroglyphs: The Sand Island petroglyphs are located in the BLM’s Sand Island Recreational Area along the banks of the San Juan River, 3 miles(4.8 km) west of Bluff, Utah. SIgns at the recreational area will guide you to the rock art panels. Sand Island also has toilets, campsites, drinking water, a boat ramp, and day-use area.





Comb Wash Campground: This is the only campground within the Shash Jáa Unit. The camground offers primitive camping at designated sites. There are vault toilets, but no water. Note that this area is sandy and can be impassible when wet.The campground is on the south side of Highway 95 at the bottom of Comb Ridge, about 14 miles (22.5 km) west of the intersection of Highway 95 and Highway 191.

Dispersed camping: Dispersed camping is allowed in much of the monument (except where it is prohibited), including along Butler and Comb Wash roads. Camp in well-established sites within 150 feet of designated routes. Please do not create new campsites. The use of portable toilet systems is encouraged. Please pack out all trash. Overnight camping in Cedar Mesa canyons requires a permit. Visit the Cedar Mesa Permit web page for information.

Nearby camping: The campground at Sand Island Recreation Area is just outside of the monument borders at the southern end along the San Juan River. The campground has toilets, picnic tables, fire grates, and drinking water. Campsites are $10 a night and are first come, first served. There are two group sites that may be reserved in advance on Recreation.gov. 

Bears Ears Main Page     Bears Ears FAQs web page    Indian Creek Unit web page


Respect and Protect

For more detailed information, contact:
BLM Monticello Field Office 365 North Main | 435-259-2100
or the Forest Service, Monticello Ranger District 432 E Center Street | 435-587-2041