Trail of the Ancients

Overview

The Utah portion of the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway leads you through some of the most iconic of all American landscapes, like Monument Valley, as well as some of the most diverse and beautiful. Visitors of this byway can enjoy world-class ancient Native American cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, art, and artifacts, as well as modern Native American communities, markets, and fairs. Travelers can enjoy both the wonderful drive along the byway, witnessing some of the most interesting landscapes on earth, and the many stops that include opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring.

480 miles / 772 km total for Utah and Colorado

Key Attractions

  • Butler Wash Indian Ruins – large concave niche protects a community of ancient cliff dwellings

  • Utah Navajo Fair – held each year in Bluff, UT

  • Local Navajo market and trading post in Monument Valley, UT

  • Incredible desert scenery, expansive views, and ancient Indian remains at several locations, including Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, and Edge of the Cedars State Park

  • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – famous sandstone buttes towering over desert valleys, visitors center, and Navajo community and market

  • Four Corners – the only point in the United States where four boundaries meet

  • Historic pioneer and prairie settlements and buildings – particularly in Bluff, UT

  • Iconic scenery of golden sand, sandstone buttes, cedar forests, desert wildlife, and sprawling mountains, cliffs, and canyons

  • Camping, biking, and hiking are the main recreational activities along this byway

Location

  • Located in the Four Corners region of southwest Colorado and southeast Utah

  • 287 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, UT; 384 miles southwest of Colorado Spring, CO; 251 miles northwest of Albuquerque, NM – directions here

  • Driving the Utah section of the byway: (click here for Colorado)

    • Byway starts at the Utah-Colorado state line on US-491

    • Drive west on US-491 to Monticello, UT

    • In Monticello, UT, turn south or left onto US-191 and drive 20.3 miles past Blanding, UT

    • Continue on US-191 south for 5.7 miles to the junction with U-95

    • Turn west or right onto U-95

    • Continue on U-95 to Bridge View Dr. to the Natural Bridges National Monument

    • Return to the junction of U-95 and U-261

    • Drive southwest on U-261 to US 163

    • Continue south on US 163 to the state line of Utah and Arizona

    • Return to the junction of US 163 and U-261

    • Drive northeast on US 163 to US 191/U-162

    • Continue on US 191/U-162 past Bluff, UT to U-262 just east of Montezuma Creek

    • Continue on US-162 to the Utah-Colorado state line

    • Return to junction of US 191 and U-162

    • Drive north on US 191 to junction with U-262

    • Turn right and follow U-262/Hovenweep Rd, which will turn into Reservation Road

    • Turn north onto CR 413 and drive to the Utah-Colorado state line.

    • Return to junction of US 191 and U-262

    • Continue north on US 191 through White Mesa joining with rest of byway at junction of US 191 and U-95

Other Information

  • View map

  • Web site

  • View the Colorado section of this byway here

  • In Utah, visitors centers, gas, lodging, and food are located in Monticello, Blanding, Bluff, Mexican Hat, and Monument Valley

  • Camping and restroom locations are located along this byway

  • Fees may exist for entrance to parks

We have provided many travel itineraries for this are HERE.


(This site is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.)