Pueblo ruin at the Mule Canyon site
The Mule Canyon Ruin was our first stop on the second day of our spring break road trip. These Pueblo ruins were first occupied about 750 AD, but were most highly used between the Pueblo II and Pueblo III periods, about 1000 to 1150. My photo shows part of the above-ground block of twelve rooms that are visible at the site. These rooms adjoin in an L-shape.
Diagram of the Mule Canyon ruin site.
Not far from the rooms are the kiva and tower that have been excavated and stabilized. The kiva is sheltered by a pavilion. The kiva was at one time connected to the block of rooms and to the tower by tunnels. Researchers have also located a pit house, trash areas, and a dirt kiva at this site.
View of the kiva looking toward the twelve rooms.
View of the kiva with the tower on the upper left side.
Kivas were common at Anasazi sites. Although there was not a visible kiva at the 16 Room Ruin we visited near Bluff, Utah, we read there was some evidence of a room there being used like a kiva.
The tower at Mule Canyon Ruin.
This tower structure would have been much higher. Interestingly, this tower lines up with another tower ruin (Cave Tower ruin) directly to the south. The exact purpose of the towers is unknown, although they may have served defensive or astronomical purposes.
Interpretive sign with building elevations shows what the ruins may have looked like.
Unlike larger sites, this site probably housed only a few families. Evidence shows that the Anasazi had virtually abandoned southeastern Utah by 1250 AD. This site may have fallen out of use several years earlier.
Early morning at the Mule Canyon Ruin site.
It was very beautiful the morning we visited Mule Canyon Ruin. We were the only people there. This is an easy stop along Hwy. 95, about 20 miles west of Blanding, Utah. If you are traveling to Natural Bridges National Monument from Blanding, take a few minutes to stop here. It is well worth it. The site is managed by the BLM. The sidewalk to the ruin makes this place very accessible to everyone. Signs on the north side of Hwy. 95 clearly mark the turn-off to the parking lot. Vault toilets are also available in the parking area.