Moon House Ruins, Cedar Mesa


Oct 27, 2013
April 15, 2015
Part 2 of ?? (previous day here)

I didn't sleep well that night as the wind howled, blowing sand into my tent until I begrudgingly got up and closed my rainfly. The next morning I woke up covered in grit to discover that a cold front had passed through, leaving temperatures significantly cooler than the low of 50s/ high in mid-70s with which I had been spoiled for the previous days of my trip.

My week alone on the road was at an end. A friend I had met on my previous hiking trip had been able to rearrange her schedule to join me, despite the short notice I had given her. We had arranged to meet at the Ranger Station right after they opened, and were the first group to get Moon House permits for the day. After moving her travel trailer from the parking lot to the camp site I'd found the night before, we left my little RAV4 behind and took her higher-clearance 4Runner out to the trailhead. With the delay, we discovered two vehicles already there.

We found the route into the canyon to be fairly straightforward. If you look closely, halfway-down on the far left before the "penninsula" is a granary. After taking a few more steps and looking to the left, the rest of the Moon House complex came into view.

The main complex. The other groups were exploring to the right, so we started on the far left.

Above the outer wall.

Seems like this must have been a special place to put the time and effort into decorating. (The actual "Moon" room is on the right, just barely in the picture)

I was enamored with these ancient fingerprints. I like to think about what that one individual was like who left her or his thumbprint in history.

When another group came over, we decided to give them some space and move on. Outside the walls, a woman approached me and said I looked familiar...turns out she was part of a group I had met a year and a half prior camping in the Paria area. The night was frigid, and they had graciously allowed me to join them at their campfire. I was wearing my favorite hat on both occasions, so I must have been fairly memorable. If you ever meet a two-legged moose on the trail, that's me!

Continuing along. Look at how the granary wall and the rock wall to the right and below blend together nearly seamlessly.


Closeup, because I couldn't choose which picture was my favorite.


The internal framework, exposed again to the outside after hundreds of years as the plaster falls away


More fingerprints- preserved in mud rather than paint

Optimistic tree

Continuing along the bench

Decorative chinking.

Looking back from the other direction

More decorations


We retraced our steps back to the main complex for another visit before we moved on. The view of the outside wall.

Interior courtyard, looking at the doorway to the "Moon" room

Interior decoration, matching the exterior decoration of the adjacent structure. Look at the blackened ceiling- how many years of fires do you suppose it took to do that?

The same white bar/dots motif repeated in a total of three locations that I saw

The broader context. With the bright light outside contrasting with the dark of the courtyard, I liked this picture better edited to grayscale.

Next, we continued a bit further along the canyon floor in the other direction and soon came across another site.



I admired the details of this knot.

Baby footprints in the wall! Of the many amazing aspects to this hike, this was my favorite. Can you picture the young mother pressing her child's feet into the wet mud? Just like we make handprints in wet driveway or sidewalk cement today.
IMG_5067_baby feet.JPG

Finally, we ended our day at these pictographs, though the rest of the canyon beckoned.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
IntrepidXJ Moon House Ruins & Upper Johns Canyon Hiking & Camping 8
JulieKT Capitol Reef Temple of the Moon vandalism General Discussion 8
Dreamer Craters of the Moon National Monument June 15-17,2017 Backpacking 3
chandlerwest Super Blue Blood Moon Photography 7
Jon Carbaugh Album Moon Shots Photography 70
DiscGo Craters of the Moon (with kids) Hiking & Camping 8
Duke Jupiter, Venus, Moon-sliver trifecta Photography 0
Ben Craters of the Moon NM, the Wilderness Trail Backpacking 11
Dave Invite January full moon snowshoeing Meet Up (Members Only) 26
Dave The 13th Full Moon, December 28-29 2012 Winter Sports 10
IntrepidXJ Once in a Blue Moon | The Arizona Strip Hiking & Camping 18
HomerJ Mt Naomi - Full Moon Hike Hiking & Camping 6
IntrepidXJ Worm Moon Photography 3
fossana Wire Pass fire (impacting House Rock Rd/Buckskin Gulch) Trip Planning 3
DownPour Mountain House meals and Ziplock bags General Discussion 7
Perry Exploring above Cataract Basin - One of the Best Seats in the House Hiking & Camping 1
Perry Forgive my Non-backcountry Post... Santa Came Early to My House Photography 15
Perry Mountain House Deal Back at CostCo General Discussion 3
kimbur96 Lost Creek Wilderness, Goose Creek to Shaft House. Backpacking 4
Eugene Paria Canyon from White House to Big Spring Backpacking 3
powderglut House Rock Valley Rd and Vicinity 2016 (Full Report) Hiking & Camping 12
John Goering Mountain House at Costco again General Discussion 1
cmgz Paria River- White House to Lee's Ferry Backpacking 4
hatchcanyon Doll House in 1994 Off Road 4
IntrepidXJ Montezuma Canyon and the Doll House Hiking & Camping 11
Nick Mountain House deal on Amazon General Discussion 0
Nick Mountain House meals at Costco General Discussion 4
IntrepidXJ The Doll House & Tibbett Arch Hiking & Camping 0
FourisTheNewOne Buckskin Gulch via Wire Pass/White House - 2007 Backpacking 3
Reef&Ruins Nevada Mining Ruins/Ghost Towns Trip Planning 6
Stephanie B Searchin' for Ruins and Rock Art in San Juan County, UT Hiking & Camping 6
powderglut Camping By the Henry Mts, Slots, and Cedar Mesa Ruins Hiking & Camping 9
Devin Ashby Cedar Mesa - Road Canyon - Fallen Roof Ruins Backpacking 6
kansas ruins at Comb Ridge Trip Planning 3
kansas ruins in the four corners area Trip Planning 6
Bob West Clear Creek Ruins Backpacking 7
Eugene Anasazi Ruins Exploration Trip Planning 5
jonmessina Lewis Lodge Ruins Trip Planning 2
Alison RUINS....which ones? Trip Planning 9
IntrepidXJ Cedar Mesa Ruins & Rock Art Hiking & Camping 1
IntrepidXJ Easter Weekend Ruins & Rock Art Hiking & Camping 2
IntrepidXJ Album Rock Art and Ruins Photography 616

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.