Dry Bayou Mesa


May 29, 2013
We found a strange picture in one issue of the Blue Mountain Shadows, a magazine for San Juan County in Utah. Mostly grey, a moonlike crater or something like that.

Some advice was given where to find the big cavity and we tried our luck. Heading west on US 163 from Bluff to Mexican Head we leave pavement at 12S 0612736 4124671, four and a half mile after crossing Comb Ridge. Barren land. Officially we are on San Juan County Road 2351. One and a half mile to a quarry. To find the exit on the opposite side does not work automatically, we had to search.

After the quarry it is no longer a dirt road, it becomes a trail - a rocky one. The rocks seem to be limestone with pretty sharp edges that might be a risk for the tires.



Reaching 12S 0612736 4124671 leads us to an intersection, one trail going left, south. This trail is faint, sometimes not easy to see. Th next intersection comes at 12S 0612628 4120283. Again to the left! Half a mile to the south and you are there.


Dry Bayou and Mesa

Dry Bayou is a tremendous rincon of the San Juan River with the usual uprising in the middle. Thats Dry Bayou Mesa as the locels call it. The diameter of the basin is about a mile.

We have a problem! Its late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Sunset is within the next 45 minutes and we are looking westwards exactly into the sun. That makes photography pretty tricky. At home we saw that the sky on some exposures is completely overexposed. No way to save it.

Some additional pictures:


My wife sitting at the rim.

After a while we drive farther south reaching the rim of the San Juan River Canyon.


San Juan River Canyon

Geology is pretty the same as at the Gossenecks some miles away.


Southern cape at the rincon


San Juan River Canyon


There must have been a pretty tight neck at the time the loop was still existing


Southern half of the rincon


Central peak


Bear Ears - 30 Miles to the north


My wife shows the trail to me


Looking south over the river onto Comb Ridge


Another Gooseneck


Short before sunset from the north

We use another trail go go back to US 163. There is a spur on the north rim of the rincon. It is on the USGS Topo Maps but our track recordings shows us that we lost the trail. Nevertheless we reached the paved road at 12S 0609736 4122998.

Featured image for home page:
Last edited:


Dec 11, 2013
awesome. I'm headed to Bluff next week, now I have a new place to visit!


May 29, 2013
Thanks for the satellite image.

Near the upper right corner you can see the County Road, something grey which is the quarry and the trail out of it. The faint trail to the south can be seen too as the other trail along the northern rim where the last of our pictures was taken.


Jul 5, 2014
Wow that's jaw dropping. I guess that shows how ridiculously packed with cool places Utah is since some of you guys didn't know about it.


Jun 2, 2012
Thanks for sharing, I knew about this from Google Earth and have wanted to see it up close. I will have to visit it now, thanks so much for the wonderful image.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Sep 26, 2012
I floated by that abandoned meander so many times this summer. It's nice to have a good visual of what it looks like from above!


May 14, 2013
I drove the family to that spot several years ago. I was about 30 miles north of the road I should have been on.
You don't really see it until you are right on it. The size of it is staggering. We sat on the rim and just stared. It was mind boggling.
Since then I have wanted to climb to the top of the middle. I suspect there is a worm hole or space port up there. Best place to hide that kind of thing.


Feb 1, 2014
Very impressive. Nice pictures. I've got a boatload of pictures where the sky is blasted out due to an overexposure. Seems like the best view is always in the direction of the sun! But the pictures you posted are very nice.
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