12 American Ruins And Their Incredible Stories

Photo by Danita Delimont at Shutterstock

River House Ruin, Utah

You’d need a 4×4 or really great hiking boots to reach River House Ruin, a sandstone cliff dwelling built by Ancestral Puebloans between AD 900 and the late 1200s. The five-mile route from the highway is marked by deep sand and rocks. It’s well worth the effort, though. The early desert-dwelling consists of well-preserved rooms and some arranged over two stories tucked beneath the orange cliffs. There are hundreds of petroglyphs, including an image of Kokopelli, a fertility deity and trickster god, drawn with a flute and feathered headdress.

Also, around 30-minutes’ from River House Ruin near Bluff, you’ll find one of the finest surviving examples of Ancestral Puebloan wall art in Bears Ears National Monument. This petroglyph panel stretches for 100 yards and has rock art spanning more than 2,500 years. Images of fertility deity Kokopelli and a flute-playing bighorn sheep are marked onto the rock above clearer, more recent Ute and Navajo carvings.

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