There are a few names for this destination and the Cave Towers moniker currently is most often in print. Mule Canyon Towers is another name, which also indicates where this ancient sacred place can be found in Bears Ears National Monument. There are several pueblo complexes in this area, which includes the Mule Canyon Ruins on State Road 95 and the House On Fire further up a trail on the north side of the road. On the south side of SR 95 is where the Cave Towers can be found, but the dirt access road may still not be marked with signage, which can make this destination difficult to find. For this reason, the best bet is to stop at the nearby Kane Gulch Ranger Station where the Cave Towers trail maps are freely available.
At the dirt road access point there is a protective cattle gate that must be opened and closed when passing through. The dirt road goes a short distance to an upper parking area that is suitable for ordinary passenger cars. The dirt road is much rougher to the lower parking area by the trailhead, which is only about 100 yards away, so it is worth saving the wear and tear on the vehicle. The juniper forest and meadows on top of the mesa in this area are as picturesque as can be and this is a nice place to view wildflowers during the spring season.
The foot trail only goes a short distance, but there are a few minor obstacles, so those who have mobility challenges may need some assistance. The trail winds its way to the mouth of a canyon, where the first few signs of an ancient civilization can be seen. There are a few stone block rubble piles in this area where buildings once stood and when looking along the south rim of the canyon the remains of the tall towers will come into view.
Once the eyes sense what to look for after seeing the ancient ruins along the rim, gazing into this canyon will reveal many more structures that were not obvious before. There is a large pocket cave down below and the remains of several structures can be seen on the canyon walls. By walking further down the rim trail even more ancient pueblo structures will come into view, which confirms that a fairly large population once called this end of the canyon their home.
All of the ancient sacred places in Bears Ears are interconnected and each structure served a purpose, so hours can be spent pondering over the significance of each individual site. The Cave Towers Trail may be short, yet it is easy to spend several hours visually combing the canyon walls for more signs of life. The Cave Towers still stand tall guarding this serene canyon like they always have done in the past, so be sure to keep this destination in mind when planning a Bears Ears National Monument venture!
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