Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mapping Montezuma Canyon Road - More Accurate, More Details, More Secrets Revealed!

While doing more research about Montezuma Canyon and sites along the road itself, I came across three photos of "Honeycomb Granary".  Only one person listed a mile marking of its location which I found out was very, very wrong; never would have found it with his misinformation (it is NOT 3.4 miles north of Perkins Road - CR 206).  So, on Sunday, April 27th, Roy and I decided to go on another ride along Montezuma Canyon Road; this time to find what we'd found already, find new sites and to map them out accurately.  We began at the Monticello Welcome Center and traveled exactly five miles on Route 191 South to CR146; just past mile marker 67 and there is no sign indicating Montezuma Canyon Road or CR 146.  We made the left onto the road, stopped at the cattle guard and reset our odometer to zero, and the adventure begins!

The best way to write this up is to post the new map and the sites are marked with a red capital letter inside a red diamond.  Underneath the map will be the Legend explaining what each letter is indicating: mile marking, name of site, a brief description.  Now to be able to get the entire legend onto the backside of the map when I printed, I needed to use a print size of eleven and couldn't write out every little detail.  Let me give you a good hint here; you will not see many of the items if you simply continue to drive, not stop and not leave your vehicle.  Many are higher up the line of vision than vehicle level; if you don't stop, get out and look, then don't be complaining that the map is wrong and you can't find things.  Oh, the mile markings are accurate if you follow the directions from the above paragraph; if you begin off Perkins Road - CR 206 however, you'll have to do a little math to figure it all out.

The Map -

The Legend -


From the Monticello Welcome Center on Main Street (Route 191), it is five (5) miles south to CR 146; just past mile marker 67.  Reset your odometer to zero after you turn onto the cattle guard.  The entire road is 33.2 miles long; graded dirt and gravel with many twists and turns; average speed is thirty (30) miles per hour.  CR 146 is a San Juan County road; No Trespassing signs indicate private property east and/or west of the road itself.

Legend: each letter corresponds to its location on the map; (E) means facing east; (W) means facing west.

A - 5 miles; Abandoned Homestead and Cave Ruins (E).

B - 6 miles; Tracks Carved into Rock Face Leading Upwards to a Cave (E).

                     Tree Limb Snaking Up Wall Face (W).

C - 8 miles; Roadside Ruins and Home Built into Sandstone Hill (W).

D - 9 miles; Home Built into Sandstone Hill (W).

E - 10 miles; Vineyards (E and W).

F - 10.5 miles; Cowboy Cave (W).

G - 12.8 miles; Ladder Along Rock Face (W).

H - 14 miles; Small Cave Ruin Up on Wall (W).

I - 14.5 miles; ATV Trail Leads Up to Mesa Top; eventually to Long Canyon Road (CR 190) (W).

J - 15.4 miles; Wagon Rod Ranch aka Dalton Ranch; county road continues through property      

                         that is (E) and (W) of road; no trespassing on either side of road.

K - 17.5 miles; Indian Brave Rock Formation (W).

L - 20.6 miles; Small Cave Ruin (W).

M - 21.3 miles; Rock Art of "The Sun God" and "The Hand" (W).

N - 22.2 miles; Ruins (W).

O - 22.5 miles; Honeycomb Ruin and Granary (W).

P - 22.6 miles; Arch Formation (W).

Q - 23.2 miles; Riverbed; easy to moderate hike into back canyon (W).

R - 23.6 miles; Bradford Canyon Ruins; a dirt trail loops to ruins and back to CR 146; ruins are behind a chain link fence (W).

S - 23.8 miles; Deadman Canyon Road (CR 2381); leads to Bradford Canyon Road (CR 202) which is an ATV trail, or to Alkali Point Road (CR 204) (W).

T - 25.2 miles; Dirt Trail to Cliff Ruins; dead ends at corral or loops back to CR 146 (W).

U - 25.6 miles; Slick Rock Dried Riverbed (E and W).

V - 26 miles; Three Kiva Pueblo; self guided; maintained by the BLM (W).

W - 27.4 miles; Formation Up on Hill Similar in Structure to the Seven Sailors at Valley of the Gods (E).

X - 28.2 miles; Cliff Dwelling; located on private property; no trespassing (E).

Y - 29.6 miles; Ruins (W)
Dirt Trail immediately past leads to ground level Ruins and Rock Art possibly depicting the pioneers coming to San Juan County (W).

Z - 32.4 to 32.6 miles; Rock Art Along Bottom of Walls (W).

AA - 32.9 miles; Dirt Trail Leads to Corral; Rock Art Behind Corral; more Rock Art and Carvings  South of Corral (W).

33.2 Miles - Perkins Road (CR 206); west to Blanding; east to Hovenweep National Monument or  

This can't get any simpler to follow, but you could always hire me as a guide; I don't come cheap though.

Now to give you some eye candy of many of the new sites we've found; of course all the other photos of sites you'll have to read about in this blog.  Simply click on the UTAH tab at the top, scroll down to San Juan County and look up all posts with Montezuma Canyon Road (CR 146).

Local Road Committee; talk to them nice and they will moooove over for you.

Mile 6; tracks up the rock face (E)

Mile 6; snaking tree limb (W)

Mile 20.6; small cave ruin (W)

Mile 22.2; Ruins
Mile 22.2; side view of Ruins

Mile 22.5; Honeycomb Ruin and Granary

Mile 22.5; Honeycomb Granary

Mile 22.5; Honeycomb Ruin

The textured roofing of the ruin and granary are definitely the handiwork of Mother Nature.  There are two speculations about the causes though; the first is simply natural erosion; the second is the broken and petrified remnants of mud swallow nests.  Once you get down to mile mark 32.9, you will see a colony of mud swallow nests underneath the ledges as you look up at the Rock Art.

At mile mark 22.6, we found this unusual arch like formation, and nearby is the second photo of the overhang where the walls look like someone sliced off the rock with a knife.  Mother Nature's artistry is amazing!


Mile 23.2; dried out river bed perfect for hiking to a back canyon

We only hiked about a half mile in, but it continues on much further from what we could see ahead.  We weren't prepared for a long trek; but next time it'll be a fair amount of bottled water in backpacks, and a picnic meal to enjoy along the way.  Did you even doubt there would be a next time!?!

No wild roses along the way, but do stop and take time to appreciate the flowers growing up from the sandy soil amongst the rocks.

Desert Paintbrush

Nakedstem Bahia (sunflower family)

I would love to say that this is the end of our adventures along Montezuma Canyon Road, but that would be a bold faced lie.  Roy and I are looking forward to finding more sites along the road itself, and hiking into the canyons beyond.  Till then...

Mary Cokenour


  1. Thank you! I have only rolled through this canyon once and am planning a second visit. Very informative. And I appreciate your sense of humor too (Road committee "Mooove".) Thanks again!

    1. When you come back to the Monticello, UT area, don't forget to stop at the Welcome Center and ask for me! I would love to meet you.


    2. My Dad and I hiked Coal Bed Canyon in 1989. We found several small structures under overhangs and the ground level remains of a community that had included a kiva. Are you familiar with this canyon? I am planning a trip summer if 2020 to visit there again.
      Thank you,

    3. Hi David, It's been awhile since we've been able to travel around the area. Yes, we have been to Coal Bed, but didn't get much hiking down; mainly stayed on the road to map out what was along it.
      Thanks for the tip, hope to do more adventuring this year!

  2. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post. for more info

  3. There is one place where a side canyon comes in and sort of standing by itself is a high point with steep sides. I called it the Citadel and found it after the Marines when I was still thinking and looking at everything sort of tactically. It has a view up the main canyon and the side canyon and on top were what looked like defensive walls and toward the bottom were two holes in a vertical sandstone wall where it looked like logs had been inserted to create a maybe woven roof at one point.

  4. Oh, did you take any photos? If so, please email to me, and maybe I can tell if I've seen the same place or not. Thanks!