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

Seven Kivas - Cedar Mesa, UT

87 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southeast
3.3 of 5 by 4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,098 feet
Elevation Gain -648 feet
Accumulated Gain 700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.4
Interest Ruins & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
12  2016-09-08 Steph_and_Blake
20  2015-04-29 big_load
30  2013-10-19 CannondaleKid
25  2008-05-18
Valley of the Gods
Author CannondaleKid
author avatar Guides 43
Routes 137
Photos 20,503
Trips 1,903 map ( 15,629 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Canyon Country - Monticello BLM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr → Any
Seasons   Autumn
Sun  6:06am - 6:18pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Short hike that can take hours
by CannondaleKid

Likely In-Season!
Overview: The Seven Kiva ruin is in Road Canyon in the Cedar Mesa Plateau of Utah. The ruin itself is situated along the north wall of Road Canyon and consists of the remains of seven kivas. This site is commonly referred to as an 'extensive' ruin site, at the time we visited the site two of the kivas were relatively complete while the others were in various states of destruction. And while there are chains to denote areas off-limits, by the amount of footsteps where they didn't belong I don't doubt the destruction is being hastened. As far as artifacts, other than a few dried cobs of corn there aren't any to be found.

Warning: Temperatures may reach 110 degrees in the summer so plan accordingly.

The ruins are very delicate so be careful, do not walk on the roofs of the kivas and stay out of the structures. It is easy enough to take photos by holding your camera through an opening without disturbing the structure. There are chains to stay behind, so please respect them and stay out of those areas.

History: While this area is steeped in history, I couldn't begin to touch the surface so I won't even attempt it. For those interested in 'digging' deeper a web search will provide plenty of information.

Hike: While there are two routes to Seven Kivas this description is the short hike for folks without the means or time to hike all the way in from the west end of Road Canyon.

From the trail-head on the along the south rim of Road Canyon you will drop down some 500 feet relatively quickly along a meandering path marked reasonably well with rock cairns and of course tons of footprints. It doesn't always work following the tracks of others as some deem to have gone off on a tangent. If it isn't wet, near the bottom I'd recommend walking down the slick-rock instead of the winding trail. We figured it out on the climb back up and it saved time and distance. As long as you pay a reasonable amount of attention you'll make your way down without getting lost. That said, it's pretty hard to get lost on this hike... first you simply descend to the bottom and once there you turn right and follow the canyon floor a few miles until you see the ruins on your left.

When you reach the ruin follow the signs and climb up from the right side, paying attention to avoid walking through the midden pile. As noted above,

The return trip is just a matter of following the same route back.

Water Sources: Seasonal

Camping: BLM permit is required for hiking as well as camping.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-10-25 CannondaleKid
    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 Reviews
    Seven Kivas - Cedar Mesa
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    My husband and I drove out to the trailhead on an early fall day and found we had the hike to ourselves. The initial part of the hike involves switchbacks down into Road Canyon. Once on the bottom you hike downcanyon in an easterly direction. I thought at one point I could see a granary high up on the canyon wall on the left, but I couldn't find it on the way back. :cry: I should have dropped a waypoint and taken photos while I could see it. The bottom of the canyon was grassy and an easy walk to the Seven Kivas site. The site is very fragile, so please be careful where you step if you visit it. We saw some small pieces of pottery and a few corn cobs. The hike out was simply a reverse of the way in.

    Wild asters
    Seven Kivas - Cedar Mesa
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    After a long day at Fallen Roof and the Citadel, I still wasn't done with Road Canyon. Seven Kivas awaited below for the next day. First I had to hike back to the stashed car and reclaim my campsite up the road. Too late. Somebody beat me to it, but there was another good site there, and I sort of liked the idea of having people around. After switching maps and downing a bunch of Gatorade, I spent the last hour of daylight exploring a wash that will eventually connect Road Canyon to Lime Canyon. (That accounts for the first few photos in this set).

    After a twilight meal and a death-like sleep, the sun rose and I rushed off to my slickrock parking spot and the roadwalk to the TH, which accounts for some of the extra miles and AEG. Almost 700 feet of the AEG happens in the first quarter mile, which is a scrambly but well-marked drop from the rim that would be pretty easy for a two-pound rock that doesn't care about its knees. The ruin is a little farther down-canyon than my info led me to believe, so I spent an extra half hour climbing around looking in the wrong (but interesting) places.

    The ruin finally came into view, just as I was positive I'd gone too far. I dropped my pack and took scores of pictures. The battery was near depletion and dust coated the lens, but I must have done something else that messed up most of them, so you'll be spared photo overkill.

    After absorbing every possible detail, I continued down-canyon about a mile to petroglyph panel I had read about. It covers one side of a large boulder that sits above a plunge pool that's deeply carved enough to get permanent shade. It may have been reliable year-round.

    After lunch in the shade of an overhanging ledge, I headed back up-canyon, which was starting to get pretty warm. Between the heat and the hurry, I started running out of steam. Fortunately, a little bit short of the exit, there's a cool, green, shady area filled with what looks like horsetails. I plopped down and took a short nap, possibly without snoring or drooling. In half an hour, I was fully refreshed, enabling me to scramble up the wall 15 minutes faster than I had come down. I took another break on the rim, letting the wind cool and dry me before finished the road walk to the car.

    There was still time left in this day, so it's off the next site ...
    Seven Kivas - Cedar Mesa
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We planned on doing this short hike the last day of our trip in May but after a week of 12-mile hikes we were too tired and said, oh well, next time. Well, it's the last day again, only this time we had broken up our week mixing it with long hikes, short hikes and mountain biking so it was time to git 'er done!

    Only one problem... last trip we had the Cherokee which would easily have gotten us to the rim trail-head, but due to a bad oil leak at the last moment we took the Honda Fit. So... let's see how far along Cigarette Springs Road we could get with the Fit, a vehicle low enough to knock over a standing pack of cigarettes.

    Well, nothing to do but give it a shot and see. Thankfully due to the government shutdown the road hadn't been traveled much since it was graded after the last heavy rains so we were able to drive the 6.2 miles to the spur road. For the most part it was smooth silty sand except for a few very rocky spots where we had pick our path carefully, crawling past them. When we reached the spur road it was quite obvious we weren't going any farther so parked the Fit there.

    Since we're starting at the spur road we'll have an extra 1.6 miles round-trip so we kept a fast pace along the very rough road. At the trail-head we weren't sure exactly where to begin. Although there are two trails, one down to Seven Kivas and one along the rim to The Citadel, there were no signs for either trail. With a number of folks camping nearby, there were footprints going in all directions and who knows which lead to the trail. I'd drawn a very rough route on the GPS so just started walking in the general direction of the rim. Within moments we found some cairns leading downward and so we began the descent. Some parts were obstructed by either boulders or brush and it wasn't very obvious where we were going next. And of course there were a number of creative trails which ended at dead-ends so we had to be vigilant. But of course all we had to do is descend to the canyon floor so whichever way one took, you'd eventually get there.

    Once on the canyon floor we turned right and followed the winding canyon to the ruins. This part was quite easy, even with a few pools of water to skirt around. At just under 1.5 miles as you approach a wide curve to the right, look straight ahead and up slightly and there are the ruins. At first glance it seems like the ruins are completely ruined. Of course being kivas they don't stick up above the ground so you had to look closer.

    While two of the kivas are more-or-less intact, from photos I'd seen in the past I felt a bit of a let-down. I must have been spoiled by the number of the extensive, more intact ruin sites we've visited in the last year. Ok, take the photos... we started late, added the extra 1.6 miles, it's time to head back and hit the road home.

    Although it is a steep climb, it felt much easier on the ascent, partly because we had already come this way and since it was dry, we took the optional route up the slick-rock in a few spots, saving time and effort. About halfway up we encountered a Dad with a girl and boy, maybe 7 & 9 years old. They seemed to be having a tough time... Dad wasn't in best shape and was helping the girl over the obstacles. He asked us is this the Citadel Trail? to which we replied it was not, but rather the Seven Kivas Trail. At that, the boy got pretty irate. He wanted to see the Citadel! At that point we parted ways and continued climbing while they kept going down. Good luck!

    A few minutes later we looked back down and saw the three well of the trail and near a dead-end drop off a boulder. Oh well, it's not our job to save everyone from themselves.

    On the last part of the climb we saw the back of a pickup sticking out over the rim, which gave us the idea to aim directly for it and cut off about a tenth of a mile the way we came. It worked great and we were back on the spur to the car.

    Upon driving from our parking spot the 100 feet back toward Cigarette Springs Road I managed to get the Fit hung up on a rock that appeared flat as I approached but had a 4" drop on the other side. Tracey was not happy her Fit was being hung out to dry. Hey, no big deal, all I had to do was get out, place a few rocks under the front tires, back up and take another path. Now with more than a bit of trepidation Tracey is making doubly sure I'm not going to repeat that little escapade. I wanted to keep mind occupied on something less troubling so told her to shoot a video of our trip along the road. Be forewarned, the video isn't pretty... :scared:
    Four-wheeling a Honda Fit video:

    I posted all but a few photos here on HAZ but the balance are here:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Blanding, UT: Take Utah Route 95 west towards Natural Bridges. After passing Comb Ridge, turn south on UT261. Stay on UT261 until reaching Cigarette Springs Road, where you will turn left.

    From Kayenta, AZ: Take US163 north through Monument Valley and Mexican Hat. After passing through Mexican Hat, make a left onto UT261 (signed for Natural Bridges and Lake Powell). This route is not recommended for RVs or vehicles towing trailers, as it switchbacks up the sheer southern escarpment of Cedar Mesa in three miles of dirt road. It is passable, generally even in winter to passenger cars. After gaining the summit, head north on UT261 until reaching Cigarette Springs Road, where you will turn right.

    Follow Cigarette Springs Road (San Juan County Road 239) 6.2 miles to the spur road, wher you will turn the left. While driving very carefully you may make it to the spur road, the .8 mile spur road to the trail-head is definitely high-clearance. There is plenty of room to park here at the spur or the trail-head.
    page created by CannondaleKid on Oct 25 2013 6:52 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker