Utah is the home of some of the most intriguing locations in the world; Cedar Mesa is no exception. The geologic and human histories of the area can only be compared to the layers of an onion because they are complex and overlapping.
Cedar Mesa is a spiritual place that visitors should enter only if they respect the culture and historical underpinnings of the Ancient Puebloans. Unlike other large ruin-filled locales — such as those found at Chaco Canyon or Mesa Verde — the ruins of Cedar Mesa offer hikers solitude and, in our opinion, a greater understanding of what day-to-day life was like for the people who thrived in the Four Corners region a millennium ago.
Cedar Mesa, including its infamous Moki Dugway, Comb Wash, & Comb Ridge, was the basis for the unforgettable chase scene in Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang. Please use caution when traveling on the roads and trails within the area. Many of the roads have significant washboard and erosion problems. The majority of the roads are only passable in 4 X 4, high-clearance vehicles. Moreover, whatever you do, make sure that you’re prepared. Bring plenty of water, sun block, and an eagerness for adventure.
We recommend that you visit Cedar Mesa in either the fall or spring. The red rock country is far too scorching hot in the summer. Moreover, ice and piercing winds hinder travel through the canyons of Cedar Mesa during the winter. As is true anytime you travel in canyon country, be aware of the possibility of flash floods. Assess the surrounding terrain, observe if there are storm clouds dropping rain in locations upstream from you, and locate high ground if necessary.
If you are interested in purchasing the best hiking guide for the area, A Hiking Guide to Cedar Mesa, is far and away the number one resource out there. It offers detailed hike descriptions, detailed trailhead descriptions, and specific GPS points for just about every established hike that you can engage in while within the deep confines of Cedar Mesa’s canyons. Yet, Tassoni, the author of the book, respects the integrity of the ruins, petroglyphs, and pictographs by not providing GPS information on their whereabouts. Like Tassoni, we will not provide specific information about the location of any of the remaining footprints of the Ancient Puebloans.
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