Come Visit Bluff, the Edge of the Universe

Get out There and See the Country. (If you feel like it...)

Get out There and See the Country. (If you feel like it…)

If you’re looking for adventure, as well as an outrageously amazing culture, Twin Rocks can help you find that, too.  At Twin Rocks, we’re locals, and we have plenty of tips for you to enjoy Bluff, our home.  If you’re into it, our home offers any kind of backcountry adventure you can image.

Take off from Bluff to the west and discover the incomparable Cedar Mesa. Driving the exciting Mokey Dugway on Highway 261 or coming in from the north on Scenic Byway Highway 95, leads to some of the most beautiful canyons anywhere!

The trailheads for these canyons are accessed by dirt roads, and some may require four-wheel-drive. Exploring the canyons can be as short as a day hike or, for the more adventurous, provides opportunities of up to a week or more of hiking through spectacular scenery while investigating Ancestral Puebloan ruins from a culture of a thousand years ago.

Some of the canyons offer arches and bridges carved by millions of years of erosion and slickrock trails for smooth walking. There are many dramatically different canyons offering opportunities for return visits to see them all.

And, there is the glorious San Juan River.  It is one of the creators of the Grand Canyon.

A word of caution: The archaeological sites are VERY FRAGILE. Climbing and pulling on the walls is forbidden as is taking ANYTHING from the site including artifacts and other remains. Please take the time to learn about the Anasazi and the proper protocol for visiting these sites.

Explore

Surrounding Bluff are still more canyons and mesa-tops to explore. These areas can be easy day hikes from roads just outside of town and offer more rock art panels, ruins and just great views of the amazing desert landscape. Explore on bicycles or motorcycles.

Drive throughout the Four Corners region and visit the sites that bring the world to Bluff.  Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands and Hovenweep are just a few of the National Parks, Monuments, Navajo Tribal Parks and State Parks that attract visitors.  Experience serenity, beauty and natural wonder.

The photographer, budding archaeologist or sightseer will enjoy the landscape of the entire region.

One of Bluff’s most popular spots is the BLM Sand Island Camping Area. It is the put-in for the famous San Juan River trips in the region. Even if not taking off on a river trip, be sure to stop and see some of the most telling examples of rock art. From ancient times, many cultures have left their mark and told their stories on the painted walls along the San Juan corridor. Then spend one day, or many, traveling the river known for the steepest gradient in North America!

A fast moving river without technical whitewater, it is a challenging trip with opportunities to view layers of geological formations and to visit fascinating rock art and ruins on short hikes along the way. Whether traveling all 84 miles to Clay Hills take-out for a multi-day trip or just doing the 26 miles to Mexican hat – in one day or a few – the San Juan features a trip that is enjoyable for the entire family. From senior citizens to kids with water-fight buckets, everyone enjoys trips through the scenic canyons of the San Juan.

Adventure

Mountain bike enthusiasts will find a pleasant diversion from slickrock trails here in Bluff. There are many dirt roads taking off just outside of town that lead to wonderful views, interesting archaeology and just great rides.

Only 25 miles north of Bluff are the Abajo Mountains offering a cool break for the summer visitor and even backcountry skiing in the winter. The 10,000 feet of elevation there showcases lakes for fishing and easy access by paved and unpaved roads for spectacular vistas and shady picnics.

Come visit Twin Rocks, and then explore our home!

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The Great Kiva in Bluff, UT

Ancient History in Bluff, UT

Ancient History in Bluff, UT

After you’ve stopped by Twin Rocks Café, and you’ve perused the beauty in Twin Rocks Trading Post, take a walk up the winding hill just behind us.  It’s there you’ll see the Great Kiva in Bluff, UT.

By the late 1000s, a powerful new cultural sensibility swept across the Mesa Verde region, which includes the canyon-rich landscapes of southeastern Utah.

Deriving from New Mexico, this “Chacoan Phenomenon” featured bold architectural elements: great houses, great kivas, and roads. Bluff Valley’s social center was relocated to the north side of the river onto a hilltop that overlooks the entire valley. This new community center, the Bluff Great House site, included a multi-story masonry great house and an enormous subterranean great kiva.

Archaeological research suggests that the site remained in use for about 200 years. The site itself was the southern terminus of an extensive network of great houses and prehistoric roads that stretched from the San Juan River to the foot of the Abajo Mountains in the north. By the mid-1,200s, this great alliance had fallen apart, and the Puebloan people moved south to inhabit the landscapes of the Rio Grande, the Zuni Mountains, and the Hopi Mesas.

All of this plus good food and terrific art.  What more could you want?

Ellen Meloy — Our Writing Angel of the Four Corners

Favorite Local Writer

Ellen Meloy, Bluff’s Favorite Local Writer — We Miss You.

Author Ellen Meloy lived in Bluff, and she left the earth far too early.

She captured our home here as few other writers have.  And so, why use our words, when we can give you hers about this, our desert home.

“…in the desert there is everything and there is nothing. Stay curious. Know where you are—your biological address. Get to know your neighbors—plants, creatures, who lives there, who died there, who is blessed, cursed, what is absent or in danger or in need of your help. Pay attention to the weather, to what breaks your heart, to what lifts your heart. Write it down.” ~E.M. November 2004

When travelers come into Twin Rocks, they often ask us directions, the history of the land, about Navajo people. They want to know how we can live here, the epicenter of nowhere and everywhere. We should simply print out Ellen’s words and hand them out to our guests.

We could also say that her advice works just as well if you live in New York or L.A.  You are still part of the natural world, and it makes sense to know your heart’s address, no matter where you live.

When researching her last book, she wrote, “…During my recent journeys this history (of land) felt foreign and unnervingly off-the-Map, even as I lived in its heart. Gaze out from the mesa, and you will meet my duplicitous lover. You will see eternity, a desert that like no other place exudes the timelessness of nature as the final arbiter. Scrape off our century, and you will find its usurper, pressed into a nugget of inorganic matter, the single greatest threat to the continuity of life. The history inscribed itself on the Map’s most alarming folios; ignoring it was no way to earn Home.”

Come visit us at Twin Rocks.  Read one of Ellen’s books. Understand that when you come here, you, too, will see eternity. What a blessiing, Ellen.  Thank you for your words.

The Crew at Twin Rocks.

Things to do on Your Way to Twin Rocks

Visiting The Grand Cyn

Things to do on Your Way to Twin Rocks

1) See the Grand Canyon in Arizona

2) Head to Mesa Verde in Colorado

Now, for a tighter view, we give you things to do while in Utah, and every one is just a whisk away from Twin Rocks Trading Post!

1) Hovenweep National Monument:  (970) 749-0510    Isolated, spectacular ruins of square, oval, circular and D-shaped towers.  Primitive camping, no potable water.  Amazing!

2) Wild Rivers — Right here in Bluff! (800) 422-7654    Boat trips down the ancient San Juan River where you’ll visit petroglyphs and plenty of amazing wildlife and sites with no access except the river.

3) Edge of the Cedars State ParkBlanding, UT.  (801) 678-2238    Rare basket collection.  One of the finest displays of ancient pottery in the Southwest.  A restored Pueblo ruin.

4) Goosenecks State Park:  8 miles north of Mexican Hat.    The San Juan River looks like a green snake as it curves back on itself at the bottom of a 1,100 foot canyon.  Camping.

5) Monument Valley Tribal Park:  (801) 727-3287    Fantastic orange-red-neon rock formations that have been made famous by countless of western movies.  It’s also the place Forrest Gump stopped running!

6) Arches National Park:  (801) 259-8161    This has the greatest density of rock arches in the world — 1,500 have been catalogued.  This is truly one of the hearts of red rock country.

7) Canyonlands National Park:  (801) 259-7164    Canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires.  The area is primitive and wild and mind-blowing.

8) Capitol Reef National Park:  (801)  425-3791    Contains the unique Waterpocket Fold and the Fremont River. Go wild with the sheer number of petroglyphs, fossils and eerie rock formations.

9) Natural Bridges National Monument:  (801) 259-5174    Natural bridges, hanging gardens, ancient ruins, hiking, primitive camping and a scenic drive.  Terrific.

Anywhere you go for a trek through the Authentic Southwest, you are just a buzz away from Twin Rocks.  A cool porch will welcome you.