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Moonhouse, UT
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Overview: Moonhouse is one of the most spectacular of the cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people located in the southwest. While not the largest, its interior paintings and stunning setting make it one of the favorite locations for outdoor mavens and Anasazi-lovers in the Cedar Mesa backcountry. Recently the BLM has changed the access regulations for Moonhouse and McCloyd Canyon, which allows me to write this with a clear conscience.


Warning: The drop into McCloyd Canyon from the rim is steep and treacherous. It requires slickrock traversing skills and the ability to get up and down pourovers. The same applies to the climb back up to the ruin on the north side of the canyon. As with any southwestern canyon, do not enter when there is a possibility of rain. Flash floods can turn a dry canyon bottom into a raging, cliff-to-cliff torrent.

History: Some 800 years ago or so, the residents of what is now called McCloyd Canyon came together to build a complex of what would be a habitation area, storage area, and ceremonial center. Buildings were constructed, tucked up underneath the sandstone cliff ledges. Studies of the area show that McCloyd Canyon has a higher concentration of ceremonial structures like kivas than the rest of the canyon system. It indicates that the ancient residents viewed Moonhouse as a religious center and not just any other residence.

Inside Moonhouse's walls reside some of the most interesting Pre-Columbian structural paintings in the New World. They appear to show the changing phases of the moon as it goes through one complete cycle.

Hike: The hike starts at the old drill pad on the south side of Snow Flat Road. Cross Snow Flat Road and follow the old mining/logging road to the north. This road meanders easily through the pinon-juniper forest for a bit over a mile before coming to the rim of McCloyd Canyon. This point provides you with the first view of Moonhouse across the canyon. There is an embayment on the south side of McCloyd Canyon, near where you first hit the rim. There are usually cairns there - this is your route down. The slope is steep so be sure of your footing and your footwear. Part of the way down the slope there is a pourover of about four feet. There is usually a pile of rocks at the base of the pourover so it is easy to get down, but be aware that it may not be present.

After climbing down the pourover, proceed to the bottom of the canyon and head upcanyon about 50 yard. On the north side of the canyon, a foot trail branches off and rises up the cliff to the ruins. The first glimpse of Moonhouse is amazing. Take your time to explore the center set of ruins before exploring up and down canyon for further remains. Please respect the BLM signs that have been erected asking you not to enter into any of the rooms - though at the last visit I made, you were still able to get behind the facade wall. Once you have finished exploring, return to your vehicle by the same route which you came in on.

Water Sources: Creek is occasionally flowing, but bring all you need.

Camping: Not allowed except at the Snow Flat Road trailhead.
Description 7 Triplogs  2 Topics
RatedFavorite  
Wish List 5
 Region
 
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 Canyonlands, UT
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,806 feet
Elevation Gain 375 feet
Accumulated Gain 122 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.91
Interest Ruins & Seasonal Creek
Author PaleoRob
Descriptions 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 36
Location Grand Junction, CO
Photos
Viewed All Mine Following
95  2016-05-23
Moon House Ruins - Cedar Mesa
CannondaleKid
11  2016-05-08 AZLOT69
63  2015-04-26 big_load
22  2012-06-20 MtnBart01
25  2012-06-20
Keet Seel etc
MtnBart01
25  2008-05-17
Cedar Mesa
Randal_Schulhaus
49  2007-05-28 PaleoRob
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Backpack   Connecting Only
Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Apr → Early
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:04am - 6:21pm
Dogs not allowed
Route Scout
import queue
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Seven Kivas - Cedar Mesa
3.4 mi away
2.9 mi
700 ft
Owl Creek to Nevills Arch
4.1 mi away
8.6 mi
1,160 ft
Owl Creek - Fish Creek Loop
4.1 mi away
16.3 mi
1,929 ft
Upper Road Canyon
5.2 mi away
6.0 mi
600 ft
Bullet Canyon - Grand Gulch Loop
8.3 mi away
26.0 mi
20 ft
Grand Gulch - Bullet to Government Trail
8.3 mi away
22.0 mi
1,346 ft
[ View More! ]
Flora
Claret Cup Cactus
Devil Claw Cactus
Engelmann Prickly Pear
Fremont Cottonwood
Munro's globemallow
Geology
Cross-bedding
Culture
Chihuahuan Polychrome Style
Kayenta Anasazi Building - Unknown Function
Kayenta Anasazi Dwelling
Kayenta Anasazi Storage Building
Mesa Verde Anasazi Building - Unknown Function
Mesa Verde Anasazi Storage Building
I see a bad moon rising...
by PaleoRob

Overview: Moonhouse is one of the most spectacular of the cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people located in the southwest. While not the largest, its interior paintings and stunning setting make it one of the favorite locations for outdoor mavens and Anasazi-lovers in the Cedar Mesa backcountry. Recently the BLM has changed the access regulations for Moonhouse and McCloyd Canyon, which allows me to write this with a clear conscience.


Warning: The drop into McCloyd Canyon from the rim is steep and treacherous. It requires slickrock traversing skills and the ability to get up and down pourovers. The same applies to the climb back up to the ruin on the north side of the canyon. As with any southwestern canyon, do not enter when there is a possibility of rain. Flash floods can turn a dry canyon bottom into a raging, cliff-to-cliff torrent.

History: Some 800 years ago or so, the residents of what is now called McCloyd Canyon came together to build a complex of what would be a habitation area, storage area, and ceremonial center. Buildings were constructed, tucked up underneath the sandstone cliff ledges. Studies of the area show that McCloyd Canyon has a higher concentration of ceremonial structures like kivas than the rest of the canyon system. It indicates that the ancient residents viewed Moonhouse as a religious center and not just any other residence.

Inside Moonhouse's walls reside some of the most interesting Pre-Columbian structural paintings in the New World. They appear to show the changing phases of the moon as it goes through one complete cycle.

Hike: The hike starts at the old drill pad on the south side of Snow Flat Road. Cross Snow Flat Road and follow the old mining/logging road to the north. This road meanders easily through the pinon-juniper forest for a bit over a mile before coming to the rim of McCloyd Canyon. This point provides you with the first view of Moonhouse across the canyon. There is an embayment on the south side of McCloyd Canyon, near where you first hit the rim. There are usually cairns there - this is your route down. The slope is steep so be sure of your footing and your footwear. Part of the way down the slope there is a pourover of about four feet. There is usually a pile of rocks at the base of the pourover so it is easy to get down, but be aware that it may not be present.

After climbing down the pourover, proceed to the bottom of the canyon and head upcanyon about 50 yard. On the north side of the canyon, a foot trail branches off and rises up the cliff to the ruins. The first glimpse of Moonhouse is amazing. Take your time to explore the center set of ruins before exploring up and down canyon for further remains. Please respect the BLM signs that have been erected asking you not to enter into any of the rooms - though at the last visit I made, you were still able to get behind the facade wall. Once you have finished exploring, return to your vehicle by the same route which you came in on.

Water Sources: Creek is occasionally flowing, but bring all you need.

Camping: Not allowed except at the Snow Flat Road trailhead.
© 2011 - 2017 hikearizona.com

-
    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.

    Permit $$
    Special Use


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Mexican Hat, drive north to the junction with UT261. Take 261 to Kane Gulch Ranger Station, 7 miles past the Snow Flat Road turnoff. Obtain a permit for the Moonhouse Recreation Management Zone, and drive south to Snow Flat Road. Turn onto Snow Flat Road (impassable when wet) and drive for just over 8 miles, crossing slickrock and dirt until coming to the drill pad on the right (south) side of the road. You are driving through a bunch of sage, so the drill pad is very obvious - a clearing in the sage with a tree nearby. There is a trail register on the north side of the road, and the old logging road next to it - the location is easy to find.
    page created by PaleoRob on Jan 12 2011 7:44 pm
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