Road Canyon Trail

Blanding, Utah 84511

Road Canyon Trail

Road Canyon Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Utah’s Anasazi sites are scattered over a wide area that extends all the way from Green River to the Arizona border, but the very best place to see them is on the Grand Gulch Plateau. Here the forces of nature have carved dozens of meandering canyons into the Cedar Mesa Sandstone where water is at least sporadically available. The soil is fertile, the winters are relatively mild, and there are many deep alcoves in the sandstone walls of the canyons that provided shelter for the prehistoric Indians. The Anasazis found the canyons eminently suitable for their way of life, and today virtually every canyon on the Grand Gulch Plateau contains the remains of their stone and mud dwellings.

Grand Gulch itself is the longest and best-known canyon on the Grand Gulch Plateau, and there are several interesting hiking opportunities in Grand Gulch. But many lesserknown canyons in the area also have a great deal to offer. If you are looking for some interesting Anasazi ruins in a canyon that also offers a degree of solitude then Road Canyon would be a good choice. The trail into Road Canyon is more primitive and much less traveled, but there are at least four well preserved ruins sites in the canyon and several others in varying stages of decay."

More Road Canyon Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Easy Day Hikes: Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Glen Canyon Region-3rd Edition (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison/JD Tanner/Emily Ressler-Tanner
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"Road Canyon is one of a half-dozen major canyons carved into the eastern flanks of Cedar Mesa and draining into Comb Wash. The canyon ranges from 100 to 400 feet deep, embraced by bulging walls of red-and-gray-banded Cedar Mesa sandstone that are sculpted into ledges, alcoves, sheer cliffs, and strange hoodoos. A seasonal stream fringed by a ribbon of riparian foliage, inviting benches shaded by a pygmy forest of pinyon and juniper, the canyon’s sculpted slickrock, and the quiet and solitude provided by its remote, off-the-beaten-track location offer ample incentives for visitors to seek out Road Canyon."
Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
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"Road Canyon not only offers natural beauty but has many well-preserved Anasazi ruins and rock art. Allow plenty of time for the hike, perhaps an entire day, since you may spend more time here than you expect while scanning hidden recesses for ruins. The ruins in Road Canyon (and those elsewhere on Cedar Mesa) are threatened by an increase in visitation. Simply walking around ruins can inadvertently cause irreparable damage to the site. Several exceptional kivas in Road Canyon have deteriorated significantly since the 1980s due to human impact. Before visiting any ancient ruins, please read the Leave No Trace section on pages 14–20 in this book. Walk softly when visiting ancient ruins and treat them with the respect they deserve. Begin at the road’s end and follow the trail as it winds through the pinyon-juniper woodland, gradually descending across the mesa top. Please stay on the trail here to avoid crushing the well-developed microbiotic soil crust. After about 250 yards the trail begins a gentle descent above a wooded draw carving into the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Here the woodland opens up to reveal the shallow upper reaches of Road Canyon below."

Road Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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Very easy hiking once you get down into Road Canyon. Fallen Roof Ruin and Seven Kivas Ruin are worth the effort!
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This was a great hike but I got differnt milage. The north turnoff to the trail head is close to 6 miles.
The seven Kivas Ruin seemed like 2-3 miles instead of 4 miles.
Here are my GPS coordinates:
Turn off from cig. springs rd (239)
N 37 23 16 W 109 52 56

Edge of canyon at drop in:
N 37 23 30.4 W 109 50 09.6

Snake grass part of trail
N. 37 23 28.2 W109 49 49

Seven Kivas (aprox)
N. 37 23 41.2 W 109 49 23
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I have hiked all over Cedar Mesa, but this 3-day trip takes the cake. We entered Lime Creek Canyon (LCC) at the head and looped back via Road Canyon (RC). LCC is seldom visited and we saw no one else on this trip. There are many ruins in LCC, but they are difficult to spot. The exit from LCC is via the obvious north tributary a few miles down. Find a spring in the north wall of the main canyon before you meet the trib (may be dry by summer) and get water there if possible. At the end of the trib there is a NW/NE split. Take the NE and find a way to the top (steep and tough with a full pack). Once out of LCC, head N/NE until you hit the road and walk east to the end and camp. Here you get eastern views and a nearby pour-off spring. The next day we took an E/NE bearing from camp and headed to the south tributary of RC. Enter this trib at the westernmost point and immediately follow the narrow sloping ledge right until you can descend a steep rockslide. Bypass a pour-off on the left at the end of the trib. As you ascend RC look for a tall solitary caprock at the end of a narrow peninsula (seen on 7.5-min USGS map). If you want to see the greatest ruin (location-wise) on Cedar Mesa, then that is your objective. Take the west trending trib canyon before the peninsula and find a way to the rim on the steep south wall. Then walk the mesa around the trib to the peninsula and friction down. Walk the narrow rock approach and scramble up to the Citadel Ruin under the caprock. Amazing. Find a narrow crack that takes you to the top of the caprock for the 360 views (careful). There is also a crack that descends to ruins below the Citadel (worthwhile). After camping close-by, we found a steep zigzag descent NW of the peninsula (took hours). It is easier and safer to return to RC the way you came. Seven Kivas Ruin is in RC as is a photogenic ruin near the exit to the trailhead. This eTrail is helpful for the challenging route finding in upper RC. Have fun.

Road Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
900 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
6.75 hours
Spring, summer, fall
6,305 feet
Trailhead Elevation
5,440 feet
Top Elevation
Hiking, Camping
Additional Use
Utah Trails; BLM, Monticello
Local Contacts
Cedar Mesa North (USGS), Snow Flat Spring Cave (USGS), Grand Gulch Plateau (Trails Illustrated #706)
Local Maps

Trail Log