Edge of the Cedars State Park
Blanding, Utah is located in San Juan County of southeastern Utah, 21 miles south of Monticello on US Route 191. The community is surrounded by wheat fields and pasture with easy access to mountain recreation. Edge of the Cedars State Park is located in Blanding and houses an extensive collection of ancient Pueblo artifacts. Blanding is also home to the Dinosaur Museum where visitors can see what dinosaurs really looked like. Blanding is also the gateway to the 100-mile Trail of the Ancients.
Population / Elevation
4,000 people / 6,036 feet above sea level
Weather / Climate
While the Four Corners area has a pleasant climate with low humidity and warm temperatures, at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet Blanding is cooler year round. Average low temperatures in summer and winter are 63.6 F and 36.3 ° F respectively. Average rainfall is 13.4 inches; winters are usually cold with an average snowfall of 11.3 inches.
Four distinct cultures, Ute, Navajo, European pioneer and Spanish have left their history in Blanding, which sits on White Mesa near Blue Mountain. Anasazi occupation occurred here as early as 600 AD. Utes and an occasional Navajo camped in this area because of the water from local springs and seeps. Navajos called the location "Sagebrush," because of the plant's prolific growth that amidst the pinyon and junipers forest at the base of the mountain.
In 1897, Mormon Walter C. Lyman and his brother Joseph loaded a buckboard with supplies and left Bluff to investigate White Mesa's potential for a community. Lyman supposedly had a vision that one day this isolated area full of sagebrush would have an LDS temple. Soon, digging began on a canal from Johnson Creek, which was completed in 1905 and still waters abundant crops of hay and grain.
First known as Grayson (after Nellie Grayson Lyman, wife of Joseph), the town changed its name in 1914 when a wealthy easterner, Thomas F. Bicknell, offered a thousand-volume library to any Utah town that would adopt his name. Grayson competed with Thurber (renamed Bicknell) for the prize; the two towns split the books and Grayson was renamed for Bicknell's wife's maiden name, Blanding.
Blanding received notoriety for its involvement in the 1923 Posey War, called by some the last Indian uprising in the US. But the "war" was really a final bid for freedom by desperate Utes living on the edge of Blanding.
Blanding's original livestock and agriculture economy eventually came to include lumber operations. In the 1950s, a uranium and oil boom accounted for new roads, service industries and an increased population. But by the 1980s, these resources were mostly depleted, and Blanding has come to rely more on tourism for its economic base, located as it is in the heart of the Four Corners region.
Things To Do
Each year in April and October Chrysler Corporations sponsors the Jeep Jamboree near Blanding. In the spring the group explores Arch Canyon. In October the Jeeps Climb and plunge along the Hole-in-the-Rock pioneer trail. Interested parties can contact the Jamboree office at 916-333-4777.
Trail of the Ancients
The trail encompasses a roughly defined 100-mile loop from Blanding, west to Natural Bridges National Monument, south to Goosenecks State Park, east to Hovenweep National Monument and returns north to Blanding. The Trail can take several days to complete thoroughly but can also be done quickly in one day.
Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum
The first stop on the Trail of the Ancients is Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum, located within the community of Blanding. Housed here is the largest display of ancient Pueblo artifacts in the Four Corners area. The museum also displays the history of San Juan County through the Navaho and Ute cultures to the Euro-American settlers. It is open for day use year round, but hours vary season to season. For more information, including current entry fee, call 435-678-2238.
The Dinosaur Museum
At The Dinosaur Museum, the complete history of the world of the dinosaurs is presented. Skeletons, fossilized skin, eggs, footprints, state-of the-art graphics, and beautifully realistic sculptures present the dinosaurs from the Four Corners region, as well as, throughout the globe.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, from April 15 to October 15, including holidays. The hours are extended for the summer months of June, July and August from 8 am to 8 pm. Guided group tours are available with reservations at 435-678-3454.
Mountain Bike/Hiking & Climbing Trails
Mountain biking, and climbing/hiking opportunities are abundant throughout San Juan County and the nearby Manti-La Sal National Forest.
There is something for every taste and price range. For more information. Click Here. (Hotel-Motel Rates , availability, review and reservation online)
Camping & RV Parks
There are numerous camping opportunities throughout the area, including Manti-La Sal National Forest, BLM areas, state and national parks. For a complete list contact:
Blanding Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 792
Blanding, Utah 84511
Cities & Towns
Parks & Monuments
- Arches National Park: 78 miles north.
- Canyonlands National Park (Needles District): 83 miles northwest.
- Edge of the Cedars State Park: in Blanding.
- Goosenecks State Park: 51 miles southwest.
- Hovenweep National Monument: 39 miles southeast.
- Monument Valley Tribal Park: 72 miles southwest.
- Natural Bridges National Monument: 41 miles west.
- Newspaper Rock State Park: 47 miles northwest.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area/Lake Powell
- Hite Marina: 82 miles northwest.
- Hall's Crossing:80 miles west.
- Recapture Reservoir: 4 miles north.
- Grand Gulch Primitive Area: 43 miles west.
- Manti-La Sal National Forest: 7 miles north.
- Navajo Indian Reservation: 20 miles south.
Historic & Points of Interest
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)