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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Horsecollar Ruin Overlook, UT

60 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southeast
3 of 5 by 4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,128 feet
Elevation Gain 20 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.6
Interest Ruins
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2019-02-15 Stoic
23  2017-10-05
Natural Bridges NM
13  2011-05-17
Sipapu Bridge
16  2011-04-01
Sipapu-Owachomo Loop Trail
5  2009-05-19 hippiepunkpirate
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:03am - 6:25pm
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Short hike - big drop at the end!
by PaleoRob

Likely In-Season!
Nautral Bridges National Monument, in southeastern Utah, contains a wide variety and large number of ancient, prehistoric artifacts, dwellings, and art. Very few of these are easily visible by the general public. One exception to this, however, is Horsecollar Ruin. A well maintained trail, described elsewhere, takes intrepid hikers to the ruin itself. For those with limited time, or perhaps unable to make the trek to the bottom of the canyon, there is another option.

Horsecollar Ruin Overlook trail is a short trail that leaves from the signed Horsecollar Ruin parking lot along the main park drive. Leaving the parking area, the trail parallels the rim of Armstrong Canyon, just out of sight to the north. The trail rises gently up over a slickrock dome, and through a stunted Pinion-Juniper forest. The trail is sandy at times, but presents no real difficulties. After passing through the sandy area, you crest the slickrock dome and descend back towards the canyon rim. Armstrong Canyon stretches in front of you. The trail ends at a guardrail-enclosed viewing area.

Horsecollar Ruin lays small below you, to the center-left, in an alcove dwarfed by the caprock above. It is a typical Cedar Mesa Pueblo III period dwelling, built just prior to the abandonment of the Colorado Plateau by the Anasazi around 1300. Horsecollar Ruin gets its name from an unusual, unroofed structure that has two horse collar shaped doorways. No one seems to know what purpose this structure served. There is evidence of many fires being built in this structure. It differs from all known Anasazi kilns. Any ideas?

Another neat feature of Horsecollar is a square kiva, built without mortar, that still has its original roof. When first discovered, the kiva even had its original ladder poking out of the entry hole! There is no access into the kiva now, and the ladder is at the Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah.

Once you finish surveying the beautiful scene of the ruin and Armstrong Canyon below you, return to your car the same way you arrived.

There is no water on this hike, be sure to fill your water bottles at the Visitor's Center before leaving it.

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2007-12-24 PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Horsecollar Ruin Overlook
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Natural Bridges NM
    Day 2 of my 14-day found me in Natural Bridges NM. I set up camp, spent some time talking to the helpful rangers and then drove the loop hitting all the overlooks. The ruins were interesting looking from the rim, but there wasn't a way to get closer that I could sleuth out.Camp was a quiet night grilling a burger and turning in early. I don't sleep well in campgrounds -too many people and noises.

    Headed out to do the Sipapu-Owachomo Loop following the ranger's good advice and leaving my vehicle at Owachomo and hiking counter clockwise starting across the mesa near sunrise. I thought the mesa portion of the hike would be boring, but it was great. There were huge areas of cryptobiotic soil, the cedar pinion forest, animal sounds, slick rock areas. Nice way to start.

    The drop into Sipapu requires ladders, got to love a hike that requires ladders. I'd read a lot about this bridge in particular and enjoyed knowing the story as I descended. It is truly impressive to be under this formation.

    The hike along the bottom of the drainage was nice. The trail isn't maintained and can be difficult to follow sometimes as it crosses and recrosses the stream bed, but you can't really get lost. Its pretty lush with cottonwoods, willows, tamarisk and two very out of place spruce trees. Some potholes of water were easily easily worked around and surrounded by deer, coyote and bobcat tracks. The ranger had warned me of extensive muddy areas, but those had largely dried and the little remaining was easily avoided. The quietness was a physical thing. I stepped on a dried cottonwood stick and the resulting loud snap seemed a violation of local protocol.

    Passed one hiker going the other way before arriving at Kachina Bridge. The abutments of Kachina are just simply massive. A couple had dropped down from the overlook above. We exchanged pleasantries as I took my lunch in the shade of the bridge.

    I was mindful of the ranger's admonition to NOT follow the White Canyon Creek drainage NW. "The next stop is Lake Powell in 50 miles. You won't make it," he said. But the trail took me upslope and I worried I was headed for the overlook and almost dropped back into the drainage below, only to realize going up was required to avoid the 80' pour off between Kachina and Owachomo. The remaining hike to Owachomo was through a narrowing canyon with the sun in my face. The trail became fainter, harder to follow until finally I saw the bridge and knew the truck was close by.

    Stopped back at the visitor center to refill my water bottles and debrief the ranger on the trail. We swapped stories for a bit and then I headed back to camp for a nap in my tent cot and one more evening before pressing on the next morning.

    Permit $$

    Natural Bridges National Monument
    $6 per car (Good for 7 days) Entrance Fee

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Blanding, Utah, take Utah Route 95 west, following the signs to Natural Bridges National Monument. Turn left on Utah Route 275 (also signed for Natural Bridges). Enter the Monument, and stop at the visitor's center to pay the fee. Continue down the road to the T-junction and turn right on the one-way Bridge View loop road. Park at the paved turn-out, signed for Horsecollar Ruin, between Sipapu and Kachina Bridge trailheads.
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