register help

West Bench Pueblo, AZ

Guide 11 Triplogs  1 Topic
  0 of 5 
no permit
45 11 1
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,080 feet
Elevation Gain -20 feet
Avg Time Round Trip -1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.4
Interest Ruins
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2008-06-09 PaleoRob
5  2008-04-30 PaleoRob
4  2007-09-26 PaleoRob
20  2007-07-18
Houserock Valley/Paria Plateau
18  2007-05-02
Paria Plateau
10  2006-09-13 PaleoRob
9  2006-07-27 PaleoRob
7  2006-06-01 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 225
Photos 5,981
Trips 1,093 map ( 2,433 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   May, Oct, Apr, Sep → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:35am - 7:33pm
0 Alternative

Ruins for ruin addicts
by PaleoRob

remove free decal offer
West Bench Pueblo is a ruin that only true ruin-lovers are going to enjoy. It has none of the overarching grandure of Mesa Verde's or Canyon de Chelly's cliff dwellings, nor any of the secretive, hidden beauty of Cedar Mesa's ruins. Instead, West Bench is now a low hump of juniper and sage-covered ground, with an old ATV trail cut through part of it. There are no exposed walls, no doorways, no vast views across sweeping plains. The PJ forest crouches in close around the rubble sitting at the base of the Vermillion Cliffs, revealing its ancient secrets slowly, to those who want to come and discover.

From the parking area to the right of the sign - see directions below - follow the rutted main dirt road (BLM 1100) to the left of the sign. It is possible to drive up the road further, but there's no good place to turn around further up. After the road crosses a gully, an old ATV track breaks off to the left. Follow the ATV track. It will parallel BLM 1100, but is thankfully blocked off to traffic now. After apx. 100 yards along the ATV track, you'll notice small scatterings of potsherds, stone flakes, and eventually some shaped sandstone slabs. This is the begining of West Bench Pueblo, a Virgin Anasazi settlement. There's not much I've been able to find much written on the site itself, but judging from some of the potsherds, including some painted, redware, and decorated corrugated sherds, I'm guessing its a late Pueblo III village. It was likely single-story, but fairly large. The ruin continues out into the PJ scrub, and further exploration will show you that there's more than what meets the eye on the surface. You can continue up the ATV track to the point where it reconnects to BLM 1100. If you follow BLM 1100 for about another 100 yards, you'll see a post with a plaque that says, "Archeological Site" and some other basic facts. That's about the furthest extent of the ruin, so head back down BLM 1100 to the parking area or walk back through the ruin track for a second look. Remember that cryptobiotic soils are present in the area, so do not disturb them.

Check out the Triplogs.

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

2006-06-04 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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Flagstaff, take US89 north to the junction of US89/US89A. Turn left onto US89A, and follow it, passing the Vermillion Cliffs. Just before climbing the Kaibab Plateau, just past a pavillion labeled "Forest Information", make a right onto BLM Road 1065, Houserock Valley Road. Follow HRVR N, passing the condor viewing ramada, crossing two cattle guards, and a large earthmover tire, until reaching BLM Road 1100 on the right. The sign for 1100 isn't on HRVR, its set back down 1100 about 100 yards. However, at the junction there is a yellow sign that says "Attention Arizona Deer Hunters" and provides hunting unit information. That' the turn. I've classified the road in as High Clearance, but there's a catch. HRVR is accessible to passenger cars, but 1100 is very rough and rutted. If you park your car at the junction of 1065/1100, simply hike the quarter mile down 1100 until you reach the parking area, and follow the above directions.

    If you have a high clearance vehicle, you can continue down 1100. Soon after leaving HRVR, it forks. Both of these forks rejoin, but unless you have some seriously cambered vehicle, stay to the left. Soon after, the road will fork again at a sign, pictured above, welcoming you to Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Park in the large clearing to the right of the sign, and follow the hiking directions.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated
    help comment issue

    end of page marker