Making Final Preparations for Cedar Mesa Area


Sep 28, 2018
I have a particular photography subject that I'm hoping to document in this upcoming trip, so I have at least for now, the locations chosen from a photography perspective. I'll be fine tuning them based on my almost-always incorrect weather app's predictions of the weather and the real-time weather. I'll also be driving from point to point, camping in the evenings at locations which support my day hikes.

What I'd really like to know from you all is any _don't miss_ locations in the towns of Bluff, Blanding, or Mexican hat. Essentially, any must-stops of interest (I find many things interesting, the quirkier the better) in the US-191, UT-95, UT-261, US-163 boundary? (or nearby) Coffee shops, restaurants, shops, stores, abandoned junk.

Many thanks to you all!
Not a draw by itself, but in Blanding, there's a combination of a gas station, bowling alley, and A&W restaurant all in the same building. I thought that was pretty interesting. Definitely worth a stop though if you need gas or lunch of course. Or if the weather sucks and you want to go bowling. Haha.

Also, I've heard good things about Edge of the Cedars State Park museum.
Well, we were just there. I will try to send you a personal message about some things to see in Bluff and Cedar Mesa.

But more public info:
1) the only (!) grocery store in a very wide area is in Blanding, so plan appropriately ;)
Blanding is a "dry town" now, so plan ahead if you like something alcoholic.
Blanding does have the amazing "Edge of the Cedars State park" with a huge collection of Anasazi pottery and a Puebloan village.
2) We stayed in Bluff and Monticello. Bluff is right along the San Juan river.
We ate a few times in Bluff and had great pork tacos at "Twin Rocks cafe". Other good restaurants have closed down for the season. Monticello has a fantastic new BBQ place (doug's Steak & BBQ), with great BBQ and some of the best service I have seen in years. Someone local told us Monticello also has a great pizza place, but I don't know the name.
3) the dirt loop road "valley of the gods" (kind of east and northeast of Mexican hat) is a must. It's really beautiful. It's also loaded (!!!!) with free and beautiful blm camp spots. The eastern half of the loop is the nicest, we thought.
4) the Gooseneck state park close to Mexican hat is suppose to be nice, we didn't make it there. (Unrelated, We also drove into the 'Mexican hat rock formation', kind of lame..... But it looks like a Mexican hat.)
5) if you drive from Cedar Mesa down via Mexican hat to Bluff, or up from Bluff to Cedar Mesa, then the dirt switchbacks on the Moki Dugway north of Mexican Hat are kind of unusual and you certainly get great views.

I will attempt to message you about some other stuff in Bluff and Cedar Mesa. And just so you know, It was already pretty cold and often windy on Cedar Mesa.
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Maybe not "must see"....
Groceries- get them in Monticello if you can. FAR better store there especially for fresh stuff. Blue Mountain I think it is called, west off main drag.
We found the (free!) museum in Bluff interesting in regards to local history.
Coffee shop in Bluff was good, had WiFi and local (pricey) art.
Goosenecks- great view, it was a windy place to camp.
You all are awesome! I really appreciate the info!

One of my favorite combos outside of chocolate and peanut butter: A&W and bowling alley! :) Sounds awesome!

I've got a whole mess of those dehydrated meals that you just add hot water, so I hope to not need groceries. But I do have instant coffee, so a coffee shop would be nice. I didn't realize groceries would be so sparse, good to know though!

Edge of the Cedars is now on my list for bad light/crummy weather/I can't possibly drive another washboard road today. Thank you!

Awesome restaurant info Titans! Thank you! I'm sure I'll take your advice at some point as I won't be able to stomach these meals.

I do have a day (and night camping) in Valley of the gods. I'm looking forward to that. I also tentatively have some time and potentially camping at Goosenecks, so it's good to know I may have to practice guying my tent. And Mokey Dugway and Muley Point are also on my list, so appreciate the confirmation I've selected some fun stuff!

Thanks again all!
Adding that the dirt road on the backside of Bears Ears saddle gets sketchy if it snows or is wet and there are shady hollows that hold snow even if the other roads look clear. Ask me how I know. ;) If you're trying to get to sites accessed by it you can always go from the lower elevation Blanding side.

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