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Cedar Mesa
  Grand Gulch
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         Turkey Pen Ruin
     Toadie Canyon
     Sheiks Canyon
   Mule Canyon
     Cave Canyon Towers
     Mule Canyon Ruin
     N.Fork Mule
     S.Fork Mule
   Lime Canyon
   Road Canyon
     7 Kiva Ruin
     N. Fork Road
   Slickhorn Canyon
   John's Canyon
   Arch Canyon
   Walnut Knob

Comb Ridge
  Procession Panel
  Wolfman Panel
  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

Camping Index
Camping in Anasazi Country
Anasazi Country Campgrounds
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Selecting a Tent Site
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North Fork Road Canyon

      Located in Southeast Utah, the North Fork of Road Canyon comes off Cedar Mesa and runs toward Comb Wash. Road Canyon is one of the popular places to find backcountry Anasazi sites and there are many possibilities for hikes into and around Road Canyon. The North Fork of Road Canyon is rarely visited and most of the the available guide books say little about it if anything at all about the canyon. The best way to access the North Fork Road Canyon is from the Snow Flat Road (SJ237) which descends from the top of Cedar Mesa all the way to Comb Wash far below to the East. What follows is a journal of a hike I took there.

     The North Fork of Road Canyon lies south of the Snow Flat Road and our plan was to find a good parking area and hike until we hit the canyon rim where we would find a place to drop in and hike until it seemed time to return. All of the roads on Cedar Mesa can be challenging but Snow Flat Road was very rough this trip. We drove slowly and carefully until we came to a steep downhill section carved into the cliff wall. About half way down this treacherous slope there was a giant boulder in the middle of
North Fork Road Canyon       Standing on the North rim of the North Fork of Road Canyon looking down canyon to the East. Comb Ridge can be seen as the faint line on the horizon.
the road. A quick look told us that there was no way to pass between the rock and the cliff wall to the right. However, it might be possible to squeeze by on the left. Of course, if there wasn't enough room on this side we would discover it by plummeting down the cliff. Fortunately my companion can be fearless at times and he told me to walk ahead and give him hand signals as to how much clearance he had on either side of the truck. The road was wide enough and after creeping by the rock I reentered the truck and we continued on.

      After driving about 7 miles we parked by the side of the road and headed off to find the canyon. We walked just about due South and soon hit the canyon edge. It was easy to find a place to drop down to a large ledge and we began to follow our ledge down canyon. This was a fairly tight canyon and we were on a good ledge. After only a few minutes we discovered a small set of Anasazi ruins that were easy to inspect. Several of the rooms were well preserved while others were quite deteriorated. However, there were a few interesting structures, including a small round granary that would have been inside a larger building and a very tight little granary perched high on the wall above.
Anasazi Ruin   Inspecting an Anasazi ruin in North Fork Road Canyon

 We continued to follow our ledge down canyon and soon were treated to the sight of the junction of two large canyons joining together (South and North Forks of North Fork Canyon?)  I was much intrigued by this area as the south facing wall of the South Fork looked like it had all of the right attributes for Anasazi occupation. Unfortunately, from where we were standing we could only speculate as to what that canyon may hold. To find out we would need to descend to the Canyon bottom where we would cross to the other side to get a better idea of the area. While this day we were unable to discover what is this canyon, it gives us a good reason to go back. Unfortunately, this is a tough place to access and I suspect that few hikers regularly explore this remote part of Cedar Mesa.
Anasazi ruinAnasazi ruin      Several interesting structures were found in the Anasazi ruins 

    Soon after reaching to point opposite the junction of the two canyons we decided to climb up to the rim and began to search for an easy exit route. Of course there were none so we did it the hard way and gradually worked our way up the steep canyon and out onto the rim. Here we were treated to great views of North Fork of Road Canyon twisting away below us, heading toward Comb Ridge visible in the distance.

     After a taking a brief rest to enjoy the view off we went, hiking across the Mesa top heading toward the truck.. Unfortunately I immediately and authoritatively led us in the wrong direction! Fortunately, a quick check of the GPS was all it took and and we were back on track. Back at the truck a check of the pedometer shows that we had traveled about 6 miles this day.

     In summary, the North Fork Road Canyon is a scenic and interesting canyon to visit. It offers a variety of hiking conditions and has a number of ruins and other Anasazi remains.

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