Butler Wash Ruins Overlook
Historic Point of Interest
14 miles southwest of Blanding, Utah on Highway 95
No Admission Fee | Open Year Round Location
Butler Wash Ruins Overlook is accessed from Utah Highway 95 just west of Blanding. After parking, an easy half-mile walk across slickrock is required before arriving at the overview of Anasazi cliff houses.
Butler Wash Ruins are cliff dwellings that were built and occupied by the Anasazi about 1200 AD. The site has been stabilized and reconstructed to some degree, but most of it remains as it was found in the 1800s.
The structures here represent the full range of Anasazi daily activities: habitation, farming, ceremonial, hunting, storage and tool making. The site has 4 kivas, underground chambers where ceremonial activities were held, located toward the front of the largest caves. Habitation and storage rooms are visible behind them and in various niches and caves around the canyon.
Three of the kivas are of the round, Mesa Verde type most common in this area. The fourth is square, indicative of the Kayenta culture to the south in Arizona. The ceramics found at Butler Wash are exclusively of the Mesa Verde type.
The Anasazi here, as elsewhere, were dry farmers who utilized extremely efficient means of water conservation to grow corns, beans and squash in the deep alluvial soils of the canyon area. It is possible that at some point, a cycle of deep erosion cut arroyos, lowered the water table and made irrigation impossible. But whether by drought, overpopulation, eroding resources or warring neighbors, the village was abandoned before 1300.
Butler Wash is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. For more information, contact:
BLM Monticello Field Office
435 North Main
PO Box 7
Monticello, Utah 84535
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