7 Kiva Ruin is found in Road Canyon,
a significant canyon draining toward the East off of Cedar Mesa. Road
is a very popular canyon that offers hikers excellent scenic,
archaeological experiences. 7 Kiva Ruin is a well known site that is
listed or referenced in all of the Cedar Mesa Hiking Guides
listed in our book reviews
. The most detailed
instructions on how to find 7 Kiva Ruin are found in Peter Tessoni's A
Hiking Guide To Cedar Mesa
I am not going to provide precise
directions here but I will say that 7 Kiva Ruin can be reached through
either of the two main trailheads into Road Canyon. The
shortest trail to 7 Kiva Ruin is from access 2 which is located at
the end of a short but rough access road that branches off from
SJ 239 (San Juan County road) about 6 miles from UT261.
However, access 1 (Just N of SJ
239 at mile 3.4) takes you past some excellent ruins and scenery before
reaching 7 Kiva Ruin. Which access you use will depend on the length of
hike you are planning.
7 Kiva Ruin in Road Canyon
7 Kiva Ruin is easily
spotted from the canyon bottom and if you are observant you
should have no trouble finding the ruin as you find your way into the
ruin be sure to avoid walking through the midden pile. These ruins are
delicate so please be careful. Never walk on the roofs of the kivas and
stay out of the structures.
7 Kiva Ruin is one of the first ruins I
visited on Cedar Mesa and on my first hike into Road Canyon I had an
unusual encounter with a ruin-seeking hiker. I described the experience
in my hiking diary for the day.
unloaded and prepared to start our hike we were approached by a guy who
just hiked out of the canyon. He was camped at the trailhead and was
for a ruin that had an elaborately painted ceiling (natural rock
human painted) but had been unsuccessful in finding it. He wanted us to
for “his” ruin and, even though he had spent hours unsuccessfully
it, he tried to give us elaborate instructions about where to look. He
that his name was Joe and he was from the area and spent a lot of time
hiking and searching for ruins.
dropped over the mesa rim and started descending quickly. We dropped a
of hundred feet and walked through the creek bottom, traveling
thought I heard someone yelling but figured I was hearing the wind. The
continued and Stan heard it too. It was Joe yelling at us from the rim
above trying to get us to look for “his” ruin. Stan and I ignored him
quickly turned the canyon corner leaving him behind. Jim was trailing
point and he later reported that Joe was following us for some time
down from above.
Thank goodness it’s not often that you find someone so insistent on
telling you to hike for their pleasure and not for yours.
continued down canyon to Seven Kiva Ruin. This was a very interesting
several kivas having their original roofing intact, making this a great
to see how the kiva roofs were constructed. Following our
exploration of the ruin we
retraced our steps. Of course, it is harder hiking out (up) than going
we made good time. Arriving at the rim we found Joe’s truck was still
parking area but, thankfully, no sign of Joe.
this hike occurred on my first visit to Cedar Mesa and into Road Canyon,
I was unaware that the ruin Joe was searching for (known as Fallen Roof
Ceiling House Ruin) is one of the most photogenic and photographed
Cedar Mesa ruins. The ruin is in Road Canyon but
is much closer to access 1 than access 2 where Joe was searching.
In short, 7 Kiva Ruin is a great hike. It
can be accessed
from two different points allowing for different hike lengths and is a
highly recommended hike for those interested in visiting back country
ruins. It is in Road Canyon which is one of the great canyons for
hiking and visiting ruins.