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   Lime Canyon
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     7 Kiva Ruin
     N. Fork Road
   Slickhorn Canyon
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   Arch Canyon
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Comb Ridge
  Procession Panel
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  Upper Butler Wash
    Butler Wash Ruin
    Ballroom Cave
    Target Ruin

Canyon of the Ancients
  Lowry Pueblo
  Ruin Canyon
  Montezuma Creek

San Juan River
  16 Room House
  Sand Island Panel

Canyonlands N.P.
  Island In The Sky District
     Aztec Butte

Hovenweep N.M.

Other Cool Places
  Little Westwater Ruin
  Moki Dugway
  Milk Ranch Point
  Whiskers Draw
  Moki Dugway

 
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7 Kiva Ruin - Road Canyon

     7 Kiva Ruin is found in Road Canyon, a significant canyon draining toward the East off of Cedar Mesa. Road Canyon is a very popular canyon that offers hikers excellent scenic, wilderness and 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
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.

     As we unloaded and prepared to start our hike we were approached by a guy who had just hiked out of the canyon. He was camped at the trailhead and was searching for a ruin that had an elaborately painted ceiling (natural rock colors, not human painted) but had been unsuccessful in finding it. He wanted us to look for “his” ruin and, even though he had spent hours unsuccessfully looking for it, he tried to give us elaborate instructions about where to look. He told us that his name was Joe and he was from the area and spent a lot of time hiking and searching for ruins.

     We dropped over the mesa rim and started descending quickly. We dropped a couple of hundred feet and walked through the creek bottom, traveling downstream. I thought I heard someone yelling but figured I was hearing the wind. The sound continued and Stan heard it too. It was Joe yelling at us from the rim high above trying to get us to look for “his” ruin. Stan and I ignored him and quickly turned the canyon corner leaving him behind. Jim was trailing at this point and he later reported that Joe was following us for some time continually yelling 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.  

     We continued down canyon to Seven Kiva Ruin. This was a very interesting ruin with several kivas having their original roofing intact, making this a great place 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 in but we made good time. Arriving at the rim we found Joe’s truck was still in the parking area but, thankfully, no sign of Joe.

     Since 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 Ruin or 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.  


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