After a number of hikes to check out ruins near Bluff, we decided to take a day off from all that walking and visit a nearby ruin that is accessible by vehicle. Just across the nearby San Juan River is a nice set of ruins called the Sixteen Room House Ruins.
While a number of ruins are known by multiple names, 16 Room House has more names than any ruin we have come across. We’ve seen it called 16 Room House, 16 Room Ruin, 16 House Ruin, 17 Room Ruin, 17 Room House, 14 Room ruin, 14 Window Ruin and Echo Mesa Ruin. There are probably more variations as well but no matter what you call it is a great place to visit.
While the ruins are not far from our RV park, they are on the other side of the San Juan River so it is a bit of a drive to see them. To get to the ruins we drove two miles west of Bluff on US 191 and turned south at its junction with US 163. About ten miles after crossing the San Juan River we turned left on the first paved road, CR 438. The first seven miles of this road are paved. The road is then dirt (well maintained) for the next four or five miles before reaching the ruins. Along the dirt portion of the road we passed a number of wild horses grazing in the desert.
Soon the road dropped down to the river bottom flats near the San Juan River and from here it is a short drive to the large alcove containing the ruins.
The main trail to the ruins leads steeply up the center of the alcove. Can you see the nimble hiker in the photo below?
From the ruins you can look back over a farm field and the green banks of the San Juan River.
This short trip is the last for our stay in Bluff. We explored this area in May of 2013 so this time we skipped a few of the “must see” spots nearby such as Gooseneck State Park, Valley of the Gods, and Natural Bridges National Park and let our friends, David and Karen, visit those spots without us.
Now it’s time to continue our trek north. We’ll be moving about a hundred miles up the road for a stay in beautiful Moab. This will be our second visit to Moab, and we are excited to show David and Karen some of our favorite places. More on that later . . .
It’s been a treat too travel with you on all these hikes. You’ve been on a bunch that we never discovered when we were there.
So good to have you with us as we hike through southern Utah, a very special area for us. There is so much to see in this area. We’ve been here twice and still have more to explore. The ruins are endless.
Another great post. I’m now up to date on your travels and very excited about seeing where you visit in the Moab area as it’s one of my personal favourites too.
Last visit to Moab was October 2013 with so many happy memories … one leading to a photo competition win of the sunrise at Mesa Arch and an educational trip courtesy of Brand USA through the travel industry.
You guys could surely win prizes with your amazing photos too.
Happy travels 🙂
Thanks, Lindsay! Moab is one of our favorites, as well. I am sure we’ll get back to the Mesa Arch to share it with our friends.
That first rock photo looks like it is a piece of petrified wood. Pretty.
Ahhhh…Moab. Jealousy is running through my bones. Enjoy.
This is a special area isn’t it, Marsha:)
Can’t wait to get down that way to check out the ruins! We started our jobs yesterday about an hour west of Salt Lake. Looks like we will be here about a month and then move down your way for a while so we can check out that area. Have fun in Moab!
Have fun with your new job! Maybe we will pass as you come this way:)
We were in Florida so long this winter, we are missing all the great hiking opportunities out west – so we’ve been living vicariously through your posts! We loved Moab and can’t wait to see your posts from there. Are you staying at Portal again? We stayed there based on your posts from your last visit there. Hope you have another great stay!
Yes, we are staying at Portal again. It is so nice to be back on a cement surface with lots of room. Thanks for joining us on our adventures. There certainly is nothing like the hiking out west:)
Oh wow, this is very cool looking! Love the massive size of the overhang and the length of the ruins. That shot of the curve of the ruins is wonderful!
This was a short trip but the ruins were a little different because they were all connected on that high ledge. The area left me with many questions like where did they do the cooking, ceremonies, etc.
Thanks for being our tour guide!!
Beautiful photos of the overhang and the ruins. What an adventure!
Hope you have a wonderful time in beautiful Moab! Wish we were there too. I hope Onion Creek trail is in good condition…it’s my favorite Jeep ride!
It is so wonderful to be back in Moab, Gay. We did Onion Creek two years ago and it was a fun time. We’ll have to see how it is when we head out to Fisher Towers.
Awesome. next time we get there we will have to go there. I have never seen an alcove that big.
I was amazed by the size of the alcove myself. The 16 Rooms were slightly lost in the size.
So did you count the rooms? 16 or 17? What a gorgeous alcove those ruins are in. You’ve definitely done up that area right. Enjoy the hiking heaven of Moab. Great time of year to be there.
Actually, Lenore, we never even thought about counting the rooms, but our friends did when they went and they only got 15. We will totally enjoy our time revisiting Moab. Thanks!
I like Echo Mesa – sounds much cooler 🙂 When I think wild horses, I think brown and scruffy. That paint was a real surprise! Like castles, these structures look like they are built first for defense-ability, then for shelter/comfort. I wonder if they appreciated just how beautiful a spot they found for their village – that rock face is incredible.
I like that name, also, Jodee. The 16 Room House is a rather dull name. This structure did remind us of a defensive shelter with its lack of windows and doors. We didn’t read anything that said it was. The horses all looked very healthy from what we could see.
Thanks for all the fabulous posts from Utah. We love exploring ruins so have added all these to our list. Great photos!
You are going to have so much fun exploring all the ruins that area has to offer:) Glad we can help with your plans.
An OMG place! A true wonder. This post is exactly why envy you, RVers.
You are so right Pam it takes more than just a month to hike and explore southeastern part of Utah. At the moment I enjoyed tagging along and the list is getting longer.
It’s fun having you along, MonaLisa:)
Great hike and photos. I zoomed in on the “nimble hiker” as she was scaling the cliff up to the ruins… Did I see her on all fours going up that hill?! Looking down on John from above wasn’t much better. Straight down… Imagine living in such a high perch… Just amazing. I wonder how many people were once living there…
Yes, Holly, I was on fours for the last part of the climb. The trail was damp and literally straight up with nothing to hold on to once you got by the tree. I am sure the Anasazi’s had a better way to get up than we did:)
They must have had a better way…
This is a fantastic post of a place I would love to see. All of the Anasazi Ruins are so wonderful. There is just a feeling when you are there and so many questions about how did they do that and get there and what was their life like. I had never heard of this one so thanks so much for adding it to my list. That’s a very healthy looking wild pony. What fun! I am really enjoying your hikes. Every one of them.
Thanks, Sherry:) Glad you are joining us for our Utah adventure!
I always enjoy cliffside ruins … hard to get to, but such wonderful views.
This was by far the hardest ruin to climb up to but it was nice that we could drive to the base.
Wait — I thought this was a driving tour — and then I see you scrambling up the cliffside. Haha, you just can’t resist, can you? Seriously, thanks so much for all of the great tips on this area. We’re planning to revisit Cedar Mesa for a longer stretch this time, and you’ve given us so many wonderful ideas.
Do plan to stay for at least two weeks. There are just so many ruins that you can get up close and personal with and explore. This is my favorite area.
I just love it when people visit this area so I can enjoy it vicariously. I’ll get there someday too.
Pam, you will go crazy out here! The west is calling your name:) Yes, one day:)