Tips For Visiting With Respect
The monument contains many archaeological sites and artifacts that are integral to American history and sacred to Indigenous peoples. By treading softly and leaving things as we find them, we show respect for those who came before us and those who will visit these places after us.
Leave All Artifacts
Artifacts are sacred to modern Indigenous peoples, and scientists can learn valuable lessons about the past when objects stay where they are. Its illegal to remove any artifact from public lands.
Dont Touch Rock Imagery or Make Your Own
Natural oils on your hands damage these delicate images. Vandalism of petroglyphs and pictographs erases stories of ancient people and destroys the experience for future visitors.
Steer Clear of Walls
Structures are easily damaged. Please refrain from touching, leaning, standing, or climbing on any structures, no matter how solid they look.
Guide Children Through Sites
Archaeological sites are not playgrounds. Teach children to respect these places. Keep a close eye on them so they dont get hurt or accidentally damage cultural resources.
Dogs and Archaeology Dont Mix
To prevent damage and erosion, pets are not allowed in archaeological sites. Please make sure to leash pets and keep them away from the site.
Avoid Building Cairns
Cairns can increase impacts on sensitive sites and are a form of vandalism to natural world that detracts from the wild beauty of the area. Leave placement of trail directional signs and cairns to land managers.
What To Pack For Your Visit To Bear Ears National Monument
If you are traveling to Bear Ears Monument soon, you need to plan for you to get all the fun and learning out of the place. Make sure you dont miss any ancient art, prehistoric sites, scenic routes, or breath-taking natural formations. Here is the list things you might need and somethings you have to have.
Waterat least one gallon per person per day.Foodmore than you think youll need.Ice and ice chest.
How To Properly Prepare For A Visit To Bears Ears
Bears Ears National Monument
First of all, a word of caution. Lack of preparation is never good in life, and the desert is as unforgiving as a professor grading a presentation you put together the night before. Bears Ears is remote and spread out across many miles. This seclusion, which makes it so special and uncrowded, also means there are fewer services and limited cell service.
Before heading out there, gear up in Blanding. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of food and water . Inform someone exactly where you plan to go and what time you plan to be back. And if youll be hiking or walking a lot, bring the right shoes. Just because you saw a guy hike Angels Landing in flip-flops once doesnt mean its a good idea.
Lastly, be aware that you need a vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive and high clearance to visit many regions within the national monument though some major highways and dirt roads are passable in a passenger car. Refer to the official map for more details.
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Bear Ears National Monument Free Camping Salvation Knoll
Management: Bureau of Land Management
The road in is Dirt and 1 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length
Just got back from camping 8 days here. Love the Bears Ears area! One tent trailer and one travel trailer. We stayed in one of the first sites on the dirt road on the left. If youre coming from Blanding the road turnoff on the left is after mile marker 98 and slightly before mile marker 97. If youve reached the top of the hill where the knoll is youve gone a bit too far. This dirt road actually loops back around to 95. Great views of Navajo Mountain and some of Monument Valley to the south.
Be A Servant Of Archeology By Visiting The Butler Wash Ruins
Easy and well marked, the hike to the Butler Wash Ruins Overlook will take you to a view of some of Bears Ears most impressive ruins which is saying something. These three alcoves were built by Ancestral Puebloans who used them for storage, ceremony and habitation. Binoculars are highly recommended to see the ruins in greater detail. Accessing the ruins themselves is also possible, but not advised as it requires challenging scrambling. If you choose to do it, act like your germophobic aunt and DO. NOT. TOUCH. ANYTHING.
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Are Fires Allowed When Camping In The Monument
Fire rules differ between BLM and Forest Service lands and can change based on the weather and rainfall. Please check with the BLM Monticello Field Office at 435-259-2100 or the U.S. Forest Service, Monticello Ranger District at 435-587-2041 or 435-259-7155 for current information.
When fires are allowed, bring your own firepan and firewood if you can or use existing fire rings made of metal or rocks. If collecting firewood, use only dead and downed wood near your campsite.
Charcoal or wood fires are not allowed in the canyons of Cedar Mesa.
Can I Ride My Horse In The Monument
Stock use is allowed in the most of the monument, but commercial and private stock use requires a permit.
Advanced reservation permits for overnight use must be obtained from the BLM Monticello Field Office 587-1510 at least three weeks in advance for private parties and by July of the previous year for commercial trips. Walk-In overnight permits are not available.
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Latter Day Saint Settlement
Following the in 1844, , as president of the , became the leader of the LDS Church in . To address the growing conflicts between his people and their neighbors, Young agreed with Illinois Governor in October 1845 that the Mormons would leave by the following year.
Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers reached the on July 24, 1847. Over the next 22 years, more than 70,000 pioneers crossed the plains and settled in Utah. For the first few years, Brigham Young and the thousands of early settlers of Salt Lake City struggled to survive. The arid desert land was deemed by the Mormons as desirable as a place where they could practice their religion without harassment.
Settlers buried thirty-six Native Americans in one grave after an outbreak of measles occurred during the winter of 1847.
The first group of settlers brought African slaves with them, making Utah the only place in the western United States to have African slavery. Three slaves, Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby, came west with the first group of settlers in 1847. The settlers also began to purchase Indian slaves in the well-established Indian slave trade, as well as enslaving Indian prisoners of war.
Alcohol Tobacco And Gambling Laws
Utah’s laws in regard to , tobacco and gambling are strict. Utah is an . The regulates the sale of alcohol wine and spirituous liquors may be purchased only at state liquor stores, and local laws may prohibit the sale of beer and other alcoholic beverages on Sundays. The state bans the sale of fruity alcoholic drinks at grocery stores and convenience stores. The law states that such drinks must now have new state-approved labels on the front of the products that contain capitalized letters in bold type telling consumers the drinks contain alcohol and at what percentage. The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act is a statewide that prohibits it in many public places. Utah and Hawaii are the only two states in the United States to outlaw all forms of gambling.
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Camping In The Monument
There are several developed camping areas throughout Bears Ears National Monument. The Indian Creek region includes Indian Creek Falls, Hamburger Rock, Creek Pasture, and Superbowl campgrounds. Just outside the monument boundary but not far from this region are the Needles Outpost and Windwhistle Campground.
Near Monticello are the Nizhoni, Buckboard and Dalton Springs campgrounds, which are in or near the monument. Near Blanding and outside the monument boundary is Devils Canyon. By Bluff and within Bears Ears National Monument is Sand Island Campground, and Goosenecks State Park .
Check with the BLM and Forest Service to learn about the camping fees for each site.
Dispersed camping is allowed within BLM managed lands, such as along Butler and Comb Wash roads, in the Valley of the Gods, and on Cedar Mesa. When dispersed camping, you must stay on previously disturbed areas within 150 feet of designated routes. Driving off-road to create a new campsite is prohibited. Please dont camp inside structures or archaeological areas as they are vulnerable to damage. Bring all of your own water with you and remove your trash and garbage.
Can I build a fire when camping in Bears Ears National Monument?
What Kind Of Camping Are You Looking For
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There are a number of ways to enjoy camping in the Bears Ears. Private campgrounds, public campgrounds, dispersed camping, and backcountry camping all offer different experiences. We cover each of these in-depth below
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Lay You Down At Natural Bridges
Good things come in threes, and Mother Nature followed that rule when carving out what is now known as the Natural Bridges National Monument. Three majestic natural bridges, which each bear a Hopi name, are the focal attractions of the national monument: the imposing Sipapu, the stout Kachina and the elegant Owachomo. Each can be admired from a viewpoint right off the road or a short hike if you want to get closer. If you want an even more picturesque backdrop, go at night and look up: Natural Bridges was designated an International Dark-Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Bears Ears Camping Faq
Can I camp anywhere in the Bears Ears?
Bears Ears National Monument is almost entirely on BLM and Forest Service land. Therefore, unless it is posted otherwise, you can set up camp just about anywhere. However, you should always try to use an existing site.
Is there a fee to camp in Bears Ears National Monument?
All of the private campgrounds charge camping fees. Most of the developed public campgrounds also charge a nightly fee. There is no camping fee for dispersed camping .
Can I camp near Comb Ridge?
Comb Ridge, Cedar Mesa, and Grand Gulch are all part of Bears Ears National Monument. There are great camping opportunities in all of these areas.
Can I get water at my campsite?
If you are staying in a private campground they will have water. Some of the public campgrounds have seasonal water but many do not. You should always plan to bring enough water for your needs.
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Bill Proposing Two Monuments
On December 4, 2017, Utah Congressman John Curtis, along with fellow Utah representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love, introduced a bill that would codify the Trump administration’s reduction of Bears Ears National Monument by creating two new national monuments in the remaining areas defined by the president. The monuments would be named Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument. Shash Jáa would be managed by a council of seven members, including four from Native American tribes, while Indian Creek would be managed by a council of five with just one Native American member.
On January 9, 2018, members of the Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition testified against the bill with Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe and Utah Business Committee, stating “Congressman Bishops contempt for the United States government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes and the legislative process in his own Committee was on full display during the hearing.” The bill would have effectively negated any legal challenges to the reduction. The bill died in committee.
Bear Ears National Monument Boondocking Fry Mesa
Management: Bureau of Land Management
Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. No reservations. First come, first served.
About a half mile of the paved road. Downhill going in, not bad. About halfway for 1/16 mile gets washed out, just got to pick your route. I made it fine with my jeep liberty and homemade utility trailer camper. comes out a a large flat area covered in pea gravel. Plenty of room.I would stay here again but due to the bad spot in the road would look got a better spot. No cell signal for att.
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Visitor Centers Near Bears Ears National Monument
Much of the land in the area is remote, wild and rugged with limited access to visitor center resources. Therefore, it is recommended that travelers prepare for their trips ahead of time. The following list has some resources you can go to with your questions to get a better understanding of how to best navigate and enjoy Bears Ears National Monument.
Edge of the Cedars State Park
Location: 660 W 400 N, Blanding Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday Phone: 435-678-2238
Location: 567 Main St., Bluff Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Thursday-Monday Phone: 435-414-0343
Kane Gulch BLM Ranger Station
Location: UT-261 36 miles west of Blanding Open: March 1-June 15, September 1-October 31 Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 7 days a week
Monticello Visitor Center
Location: 216 S Main St. Hours: 90:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Closes early at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday Phone: 435-587-3401
Location: 12 North Grayson Parkway Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., closed Sunday
Bear Ears National Monument Dispersed Camping Blue Notch Road Blm Boondock
Management: Bureau of Land Management
The road in is Dirt and .5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 40+. You may stay 14 days at Blue Notch Road BLM Boondock.
Site is exactly where the map shows. Scenic area, and not many people are going to bother you here. There arent any facilities whatsoever. No water, no bathroom, no tables, no tent pads. Its just a flat spot along the road.
There are numerous very similar sites to camp along 95 in this region. You can pick and choose whichever youd like.
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Bear Ears Hiking Areas Wolfman Panel Trail
Wolfman Panel Trail is a 0.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Blanding, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Very close to parking. Follow trail to the edge and youll see trail markings to your left. Lots of Petroglyphs in the area.
Length: 0.8 mi
Hiking, Dog friendly, Views, Rocky, Historic site
Browns Canyon National Monument
Size: 21,586 acres
RV Camping Tips: Experience epic fly fishing, hiking and white water rafting just three hours southwest of Denver along the Arkansas River. Although you cant take your RV into this narrow canyon monument, youll find plenty of spectacular places to stake a base camp. For instance, The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation District manages the most RV-friendly public campground near the monument. Known as Hecla Junction Campground, this large primitive campground is located right at the rivers edge.
Day hike the PCT at Cascades Siskiyou National National Monument. Photo: Bureau of Land Management
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Visiting Bears Ears National Monument Respectfully
Utahs Canyon Country is home to many wonderful, historic monuments like Bears Ears National Monument. Everyone should have the opportunity for years to come to experience these amazing wonders. To keep Bears Ears and other locations in the best possible condition please follow these guidelines:
- Stay on the designated trails. Dont take shortcuts or deviate from marked paths as it damages the sedimentary rock layers and archaeological items
- Do not touch petroglyphs and pictographs as oils from your fingers will damage them
- Leave artifacts where you spot them
- Do not touch or enter any archaeological structures
- Please also be aware of and respect the wildlife around you
- If you bring your dog, make sure to keep them on their leash at all times and tie your dog up away from any of the archaeological structures
- When setting up camp, avoid doing so near archaeological sites. The sites are very delicate and could be damaged by your gear
- Do not eat near any of the sites and be sure to pack out everything you brought with you, including decomposable items like banana peels or apple cores
For more information about visiting Bears Ears and other archaeological sites watch the “Visit with Respect” video series provided by Friends of Cedar Mesa.
President Biden Just Restored This Remarkable Utah Preserve To Its Original Size Heres How To Explore It
With its vast expanse of red-rock canyons, high-elevation desert plateaus, juniper stands, sandstone climbing routes, and abundance of archeological riches, Bears Ears National Monument beckons everyone from hikers to mountain bikers to climbers to history buffs. But while the outdoor recreation opportunities here are second to none, its important to know that these lands are much more than a playground. Bears Ears includes the ancestral lands of five tribal nationsHopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, and Pueblo of Zuniand remains sacred ground for these communities today.
Bears Ears National Monument has seen some dramatic ups and downs in its short existence. It was first designated by President Obama in 2016. But the following year, President Trump signed an executive order that slashed the monuments size by 85 percent, raising the threat of fossil fuel development, mining, resource damage, and looting of archeological sites. Then, in early October of 2021, President Biden reinstated the monuments original 1.3 million acres, plus an additional 11,200 acres. Indigenous groups like the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition , as well as public lands advocates across the country, applauded the move.
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