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Bluff, Utah

Killer Weekend: Bluff, Utah

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Far removed from the busy streets of more popular desert destinations, Bluff, Utah, is a charming rural town surrounded by beauty. Here’s what to do to get the most out of Bluff, from cultural history, natural landscapes to a good ol’ fashioned hearty meal.

1) River odyssey

The magical San Juan River would likely stand still, but since it has the steepest grade of any river in North America, it flows, although the few rapids are manageable. The river corridor is an amazing display of geology, cultural history and natural wonder for boaters and visitors.

2) Desert solitude

The canyons and mesas surrounding Bluff are unlike any place on the planet. Places like the 90-mile Comb Ridge are filled with splendid desert landscapes.

Valley of the Gods features towering red rocks – natural works of wonder,

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is just south of town.

And Goosenecks State Park is a mind- and river-bending geological feature which highlights 300 million years of erosion.

Looking for something a bit different? The steep, 3-mile Moki Dugway is noted as one of the world’s most dangerous roads, but it provides some of the most spectacular views of the area.

3) Fortitude

The Bluff Fort Historical Site is a reconstruction of an original open layout fort built by Mormon settlers in 1880. Filled with early photographs, journals, a reconstructed trading post, and covered wagons, it also holds the story of the Hole in the Rock Trail, a Mormon expedition of epic proportions.

4) Eat like a cowboy

When Rick Reeb floated the San Juan River on a vacation, he liked the area so much he opened a restaurant there. More than 20 years later, the rustic Cottonwood Steakhouse, named for the enormous cottonwood tree that grows in the center of the establishment’s outdoor patio, is well known for serving steaks, ‘chops, BBQ and seafood. Don’t worry, almost everything comes with a side of ranch beans.

5) Art on the rocks

Places like the Butler Wash Archaeological Ruin are world-renowned for their cultural record. Huge sandstone walls feature panels that hold a rich archeological remains, a living museum of the Southwest. More than 8,000 years of human history can be traced through the styles of rock art that appear in the Bluff area.

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