Monday, September 9, 2019

Pioneer's Travel Guide to River House Ruin.

River House Ruin/Rincone Trading Post/San Juan Hill Via the Pioneer Trail

River House Ruin is located near the San Juan River on the west side of Comb Ridge. The ruin has multiple one and two story rooms, granaries, a kiva, petroglyphs and pictographs.  

Location from Monticello is 58.6 miles; travel 50.7 miles south along Hwy 191, continue on Hwy 163 for 3.1 miles which goes through the Comb Ridge pass.  ¼ of a mile, make the first left onto County Road 2351.

CR 2351 is part of the Hole in the Rock Pioneer Trail and the attempt to find a way over the Comb Ridge.  The entire trail is mainly sand, crossing into and out of several dry washes, and climbing several steep hills for almost four miles.  There are green wooden posts with a covered wagon painted on to mark the trail.

The first informational board is a short history of this section of the pioneer trail; the second will tell which way to go when encountering the first fork in the road; go left and follow the curve around the bushes.  4/10ths of a mile down is Navajo Spring; the pioneers sent out scouts to see if this was a viable way up and over Comb Ridge.  

4 miles is another divide in the trail; the one to the right leads down to the San Juan River and ends.  The trail left turns into pure stone; a series of uneven "steps" upward that leads to the San Juan Hill, Rincone Trading Post and River House Ruins trails.

Total Mileage: 4 miles to the trailheads for River House Ruin, Rincone Trading Post and San Juan Hill.

Total Mileage to River House Ruin is 4 miles.   

Difficulty: Easy for Hiking; Vehicle: 4-wheel drive with high clearance is a must; independent 4-wheel suspension is suggested for the uneven “steps” leading to the trailheads. 

Admission: Free

Camping: Allowed; pack out what has been packed in.

Pets: Allowed; owners are expected to clean up after pet (s).

Facilities: None; nearest town (Bluff) is 12.4 miles.

Rincone Trading Post was established in 1880 by William Hyde, he later partnered up with the Bartons.  Read the interesting history pertaining to the Rincone in the book, Comb Ridge and its People, by Robert S. McPherson.

Location is two (2) miles along the trail to River House Ruin.

San Juan Hill is the location the pioneers finally chose to move their wagon train upward and over the Comb Ridge.  Wagon wheel tracks and chiseled foot holds for animals can still be seen on this very steep, rocky trail.

Location of trailhead is 1.5 miles along trail to River House Ruin.

Bring lots of water, snacks and a picnic; this is an all day excursion and worth every moment.

Mary Cokenour

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