Saturday, October 11, 2008

Roadside Ruin Trail

The Roadside Ruin Trail is a short 0.3 mile loop trail is a small granary ruin in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah.

The trailhead is just a little past the visitor center and is one of the first attractions a first time visitor would come across. In addition to the small ruin, this is also a botany trail, identifying nine of the common plants in this desert environment.

Visible along the trail are the Pinon Pine and Utah Juniper trees, along with Prickly Pear Cactus, Big Sagebrush and Four-wing saltbush. Two grains mentioned are Indian Ricegrass and Peppergrass.
The ruin is tucked up under a small rock alcove. The interpretive information says that granaries were common in this area but there are few dwellings, indicating that farming was carried on here but the area was occupied only seasonally.
Granaries like this were used as storage for corn, seeds, and nuts. Canyonlands is mostly a geological hiking park, but there is a cultural overlay of ruins and rock art that adds interest to this carved rocky landscape. There is a similar granery near the Paul Bunyan Arch in Horse Canyon.

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