"A lot more than first meets the eye" Bluff by Segolily

Bluff Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 37 photos

One resident described Bluff as a little dot on the map. You can certainly drive through Bluff in about 5 min. But you shouldn't. There is much to see here and much to learn.

Bluff and the surrounding area (known at the Four Corners area) has been home to native dwellers for thousands of years. The new sign posts into town say it was established in 650 AD. This is when the ancient pueblo on the hillside next to the cemetery was inhabited. More recently it is the Utes and the Navajos who have lived here.

In 1880 a group of Mormon settlers moved in after an arduous journey across the arid desert land west. This "Hole in the Rock" group came because they were called as missionaries to settle the San Juan river corridor. In order to cross the Colorado River first they had to get to it. They had to blast their way down a sandstone cliff making what is little more than a hole in the rock where they lowered all their wagons. Sent to settle this wild and forbidding land theirs was a difficult life as the mercurical waters of the San Juan river would alternately flood them out or leave them high and dry.

All of these people have left their mark on the land. The ancient puebloans most of all. At one point there were an estimated 100,000 people living and trading in the area. Now San Juan county has around 15,000, Bluff only 320.

The naked geology of the area is the first thing you notice. The striking Comb Ridge shoots up forming a rock barrier. Then the muddy San Juan River which winds its way through the rock layers cutting down through rock first formed in the Jurassic period. The entrenched meanders of the San Juan Goosenecks are truly impressive.

But in the end it is the Anasazi that keep you coming back. The kivas, towers, graineries, pueblos and petroglyphs tucked up in the numerous canyons and arroyos have been waiting in the arid desert for a thousand years. With pots and corn cobs left behind they are intriguing and mysterious. They have finally been discovered and the fear is that they will be lost to the trampling of many feet and especially the shovels and hands that cart away valuable artifacts. How to protect a culture that is little understood and spread over thousands of acres?

  • Last visit to Bluff: Oct 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (1)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    I was lucky to find this excellent page. What a beaut area, somewhere my husband and I would love, and I wish I was nearer to buy some of those native items! Your photo's are lovely, showing the colours in the mountain and the ruins, I just think this area is stunning!

    • Segolily's Profile Photo
      Mar 27, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      I'm glad you found it. I love visiting. It is just far enough away that we don't get down there as often as I would like either. Twin Rock Trading Post has an online store.... http://www.twinrocks.com/ I'm sure they'll ship anything you want :-)

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Mar 28, 2013 at 1:40 AM

      It is a shame nobody else has found this page!


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