Beef Basin

A historical buff's dream. Explore Native American ruins and hike to cave dwellings on this easy high mountain ride.

Total Miles
82.2

Elevation

2514.04 ft

Duration

9 Hours

Technical Rating

3

Easy

Best Time

Summer/Fall

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Trail Overview

Those seeking high elevation and historical artifacts will love Beef Basin. A relatively easy trail, the route passes alongside an incredible amount of Native American ruins. The road is entirely on BLM and National Forest land and allows unlicensed vehicles. If your vehicle is unlicensed, avoid the alternate exit through Canyonlands National Park. Consider camping and taking day hikes to old cave dwellings. Remember: it is a federal crime to alter or remove anything from historical sites.

Difficulty

Easy. When dry, the road is usually in good condition; however, in wet weather it can be rutted and muddy. Snow can linger in the forest at higher elevations through April, and early fall snowstorms are possible. Suitable for most stock, high-clearance 4x4 SUVs.

History

The ruins in Beef Basin were built by Anasazi Native Americans in the 11th and 12th centuries. The tribe survived by growing corn, beans and squash in small patches across this barren landscape. Plants were meticulously watered by hand

Technical Rating

3

Access Description

From Moab, drive south on Highway 191 about 40 miles and turn right on Highway 211. Continue west 20.3 miles and turn left on Cottonwood Canyon Road, C.R. 107, at sign to Beef Basin. Look for vault toilet. Don't miss a large display of petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock on Highway 211 on your way to the trail. (See photo of Newspaper Rock on page 16.)