Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bluff Utah

April 2006 - Bluff Utah

On the road to Bluff.

This 200 foot roadside oddity near Monticello is called Church Rock.

 Hole "N the Rock UT

Hole in the Rock is a narrow and steep crevice in the western rim of Glen Canyon, in southern Utah. Together with another canyon on the eastern side of the Colorado River, it provided a route through what would otherwise be a large area of impassable terrain.

In the fall of 1879, the San Juan Expedition of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was seeking a route from south-central Utah to their proposed colony in the far southeastern corner of the state. Rejecting two longer routes, they chose a more direct path that initially took them along the relatively benign terrain beneath the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. However, when this led them to the 1200-foot (400 m) sandstone cliffs that surround Glen Canyon, they needed a way to cross to the eastern rim. They found (and named) Hole in the Rock, a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river. 

They worked for months to prepare the road, using blasting powder to widen the upper section and hand chisels to carve anchor points directly into the sandstone. On January 26, 1880 the expedition (250 people, 83 full-sized wagons, and over 1000 head of livestock) began their descent to the river. Wagons were heavily roped, and teams of men and oxen used to lower them through the upper crevice, which has slopes approaching 45°. Further down, a wooden track had been constructed along a slickrock sandstone slope. Posts in drilled holes supported horizontal beams to allow passage of the wagons.

After an even more difficult journey on the east side of the river, the expedition founded the community of Bluff in southeastern Utah. They used the Hole in the Rock route as a supply road for only a year before replacing it with an easier route to the north, at Hall's Crossing. Decades later, miners of the Hoskaninni Mining Company carved steps onto the same path used by the Mormon pioneers. The blasting holes, anchor points, and gouges from the hubs of the expedition's wagons are still visible in the walls of the crevice.

Today it has a souvenir shop, petting zoo and fun attractions.

We spent the night at the Desert Rose Inn and Cabins in Bluff.

We went for a drive around town.

Looking down at the restaurant.

At first, the residents of Bluff met under the old cottonwood tree on the banks of the San Juan River. After a swing was attached, the tree became known as the "Swing Tree." A more substantive meeting place was necessary, and Bluff's residents built a double-length "cabin" in which to hold meetings. A new section was added making it three times the length of a family cabin.

This building also served as the school, court house, and community center.

Cemetery Hill - For the Bluff pioneers, this terrace above the river offered the most sensible place to bury their dead. 


Twin Rocks


  1. Utah is one of the states I have not visited. It looks glorious. The tombstones at the top of the photo is really cool.

  2. Looks like a great place. So funny, my sister is the Ann above, we live 8 hours apart! lol.


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