Bullet Canyon/Sheiks Canyon loop (Bears Ears NM)

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fossana

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Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
341
Logistics
Start/end: Bullet Canyon parking lot (with a shuttle ends at Sheiks trailhead)
Mileage: ~17 miles
Elevation gain: not much
Navigation: helpful to have a GPS to make sure you don't miss Sheiks Canyon
Filterable water: seasonal, but don't count on it
Permits: self-service permit for day trips, overnight permits reservable
Dogs: allowed on a leash
Nearest town/gas: Mexican Hat, UT
Date hiked: 03 Feb 2018

Approximate Route (dotted line = optional shuttle, green dots= ruins/pictograph sites mentioned )
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With the (arguably illegal) executive order to downsize Bears Ears and Escalante National Monuments I decided to focus on hitting the highlights before they were no longer protected. Like much of Cedar Mesa, Bullet Canyon is known for its high density of Anasazi archeological sites. I neglected to bring a bike, so I parked at Sheiks and got the road slog out of the way first.

I passed Rim Ruin and scrambled down the short water chute, careful to avoid the ice.
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The canyon opened up with towering striated walls.
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The next major ruin was Perfect Kiva and one of the few, which the BLM encourages entry into.
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Another 20 minutes down canyon was multi-level Jailhouse Ruin (my favorite of the lot).
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After Jailhouse, Bullet Canyon empties into Grand Gulch.
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Some of the minor ruins along Grand Gulch had pottery shards.
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Just before the Sheiks turnoff pictographs filled the walls.
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I headed up Sheiks and encountered one of the few remaining pools on the hike. The canyon followed an interesting water course until opening up again into a shallow sandy canyon.
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Near the top of Sheiks was Yellow House Ruin, which still had an intact roof.
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I drove over to the Citadel parking lot and caught the final light on Road Canyon before calling it a day.
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fossana

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Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
341
Thanks! The number of sights (and sites) in Bears Ears is overwhelming, but this one is definitely a classic. I also quite enjoyed the Fish/Owl loop, but there were fewer ruins.
 

gnwatts

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Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,578
My favorite loop hike.
I agree with Ann Zwinger in Wind and the Rock. The site is cool but creepy.
Thanks for sharing.
 

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