Little Westwater Anasazi Ruin, UT

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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 0.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,635 feet
Elevation Gain 120 feet
Accumulated Gain 120 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 1.2
Interest Ruins & Perennial Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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17  2018-06-16 Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 63
Photos 2,548
Trips 184 map ( 820 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
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Preferred Oct, Apr, May, Sep
Seasons   Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:31am - 7:15pm
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Nearby Area Water
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tidy worthy visit
by Steph_and_Blake

Also known as Five Kiva Ruin, this cliff dwelling site sits in an alcove located in Big Canyon just minutes west of Blanding, Utah. The hike is short (less than 1 mile round trip), takes less than a half hour to complete, and has a moderate elevation loss and gain (as compared to other hikes to ruins on Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge).

The hike begins from the parking area by the red “Five Kiva Pueblo” sign. Even if you choose not to do the hike you can easily see the site by standing next to the sign and looking directly across the canyon (due west). While visible by the naked eye, a zoom lens or binoculars would enable you to see more details and discern one kiva from another.

If you want to reach the ruins the trail quickly starts descending to the canyon bottom. You’ll first make a brief scramble though a crack in the rocks, then you gradually pick your way down. It’s never terribly steep and Tevas or tennis shoes are suitably fine footwear. You’ll see a few different trails going down, all very near each other, so just pick the one that works for you.

In less than 10 minutes you’ll be at the canyon floor and you’ll have to cross a small stream that’s maybe 2 feet across. From there the trail continues across the floor and leads you up the the west side of the canyon. Simply follow the trail to the ruin.

We didn’t have high expectations for the site as we’d been told and had read that’s it’s pretty sterile and has been used as a party location by area teens. Yes, there was graffiti and modern “pictographs“, but we didn’t see any beer bottles or trash. And the site was more extensive than we thought based on looking at it from the trailhead.

The five kivas are easily made out, as are numerous, small rooms behind them. Most of the kivas had a niche in the side and the masonry appears to be of Mesa Verde style. I’ve read that there is evidence of occupation by both Pueblo II and II (which is beyond what our untrained eyes can detect). There are several metates in the north side of the alcove.

We saw no rock writing, corn cobs or pottery pieces at the site, but perhaps there would be below it. Despite the lack of such artifacts, the site was well worth the visit.

Return the way you came. Or, if you’re curious and have the time, explore up and down the canyon. There is at least two granaries and a smaller site in the immediate area that might be worth checking out.

Speaking from experience...If you happen to be towing a medium-sized RV with a full-size truck, you may want to drop the trailer in Blanding before heading to the trailhead. Either that or be prepared to make an 8-point turn (for which you’ll want a spotter to make sure you don’t back the trailer over the edge of the canyon!).

There was a small stream running during our visit and Blanding has seen a considerable drought this year. So, I’d think it probably runs throughout the year.

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2018-06-23 Steph_and_Blake
    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 $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    South side of Blanding, takeout 1600 Road, Ruins Road, west two miles to signed ruins at end of the road.
    page created by AZLOT69 on Apr 24 2018 4:05 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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