Secretary Jewell to discuss protection of Bears Ears at public meeting

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Robert Bonnie are coming to Bluff on Saturday, July 16th for a public listening session on different proposals to protect public lands in the area. Secretary Jewell and Under Secretary Bonnie will be accepting public comments regarding proposals for a Bears Ears National Conservation Area or a Bears Ears National Monument.
cedar mesa ruin

This is an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling in the area seeking protection.

For those wishing to attend the meeting, it will be held at the Bluff Community Center (4th East and Mulberry) from 1-4 pm on the 16th. There will be light refreshments and entertainment. The public meeting will focus on two particular proposals: the Public Lands Initiative legislation spearheaded by Utah Representative Rob Bishop that is proposing a Bears Ears National Conservation for the area and a Bears Ears National Monument proposed by a unique coalition of 5 Native American Tribes. This coalition, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, is asking President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to create the National Monument. Both proposals seek to protect an area that is rich in prehistoric archaeology and sacred to Native American Tribes and Pueblos. The Bears Ears is a large landscape that encompasses many popular recreation areas including Comb Ridge, Cedar Mesa, Arch Canyon and Indian Creek. It is named after its two central twin buttes that look like Bears Ears and hold great significance to many Native Americans. The Bears Ears is famous for the cliff dwellings and rock art left by Ancestral Puebloans and other prehistoric peoples. For more information about the public meeting, you can read the Department of the Interior's Media Release and the latest blog by local conservation organization Friends of Cedar Mesa.

Wildflowers of Southeast Utah

With a wet winter and spring, Southeast Utah is in a for a lush, vibrant wildflower season. Here are a few local varieties to look for when exploring Bluff's backyard.

Indian Paintbrush

bluff wildflower indian paintbrush southeast utah Indian Paintbrush is the harbinger of spring, one of the first wildflowers to grace us with its presence every spring. You can recognize it by it's neon red color.

Globemallow

This fun, orange flower is another early plant. It compliments a desert landscape well - but be careful not to get the irritating plant fibers in your eyes. DSC00743

Prince's Plume

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Yucca

When in bloom, this striking stalk offers purple-ivory, soft petals, a delicacy for big horn sheep and deer. Yum! IMG_2699

Penstemon

Though there are many different varieties of penstemon in our neck of the woods, you can usually recognize the family by its leaves and tall stalks. IMG_2710 IMG_2711

Stemless woollybase

This fun flower is in the sunflower family. IMG_2715

Cliffrose

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Everyone's favorite... Prickly Pear Cactus

DSC00790 And another variety of cactus DSC00824

Anderson's Larkspur

DSC00745   Have spring wildflower photos to share? Email us today! And if you're looking to identify more plant varieties, stop by the Recapture Lodge and pick up a local plant book.

Bluff: your stargazing hub for 2016 Dark Sky Week

dark sky bluff utah canyonlands natural bridges
Did you know that Bluff, Utah is within an hour’s drive of two Dark Sky Parks?  April 4th – 10th, 2016 is Dark Sky Week and a great time to plan a trip to a designated Dark Sky Park near Bluff for a stargazing extravaganza. Outdoor lighting in many metropolitan areas has virtually hidden the stars.  Most people, especially those residing east of the Mississippi river, have never seen the Milky Way.
dark sky bluff utah canyonlands natural bridges

Experience the beauty of the Milky Way at Natural Bridges.

The remoteness of the area near Bluff offers a great opportunity to experience the wonder of the night sky without light pollution.  Two National Monuments near Bluff are designated Dark Sky Parks. Natural Bridges National Monument is 56 miles from Bluff and the world’s first, certified International Dark Sky Park because it has zero light pollution.   You can choose from ranger led programs or explore on your own.   In 2016, Natural Bridges will again offer ranger led programs several evenings a week, and will include new topics such as archeoastronomy.   The ranger led programs also offer you a chance to glimpse the dark sky with Natural Bridges’ telescope and powerful binoculars and learn a little more about the heavenly bodies above you. Specific Natural Bridges 2016 dark sky programs will be announced later this month on the Natural Bridges Facebook site, or on the park’s website.  Natural Bridges states the best times for stargazing are around the time of a New Moon.  In 2016, New Moon dates are April 7, May 6, June 4, July 4, August 2, September 1, September 30, October 30, November 29 and December 28. Hovenweep National Monument is 34 miles from Bluff and was designated a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2014.   Hovenweep will offer ranger led programs every Saturday in 2016 from April 16th – October 1st.   The programs take place at the Visitor’s Center parking area.  Hovenweep also has a telescope which can be used for viewing. Hovenweep was the sight of six prehistoric Ancestral Puebloan villages, and we know that Ancestral Puebloans were keen skywatchers.  At Hovenweep, you can learn more about the importance of celestial events in Ancestral Puebloan life. So, find a New Moon on your calendar and book your accommodations in Bluff.   Find your camera’s instruction manual and brush up on your night photography.  You’ll want to make certain to capture the perfect shot of your star date.

Road to the Mighty: All-American Road Trips in Southern Utah

If “epic family road trip” is what you have in mind for your next trip to Utah, look no further. VisitUtah.com has launched The Road to the Mighty as a follow up to "The Mighty 5" campaign to share some of Utah's hidden treasures. The Road to the Mighty helps you plan a road trip on the many scenic highways and byways that trace their way through Utah's famed National Parks.
Monument Valley 3- iStockphoto

Monument Valley is one of America's classic road trip destinations.

There are far more scenic sights in Utah than the classic 5:  Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches. If you want to get off the beaten path and have an All-American adventure, these 5 national parks, the “Mighty Five”, can be connected by several different road trips that take you through gorgeous landscapes like Monument Valley. VisitUtah.com has created an interactive list of 25 different road trip itineraries but to make it even easier, we've paired down the list to a few of our favorites. Visitors view pottery at the Edge of the Cedars Museum

Native Spirit

This 4 day, 515-mile road trip starts in Moab with Arches National Park and winds down to the Edge of the Cedars State Park & Museum in Blanding, then to Hovenweep National Monument, then on to Bluff to visit the Sand Island Petroglyph Panel and finally to Monument Valley. This whirlwind of a tour experiences Utah’s heritage and Native American connections to the land as witnessed through rock art, cliff dwellings and more.

Southern Dinos and Goblins

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 4.28.00 PM Because you could spend your entire road trip in southeast Utah, Visit Utah created one just for that! Southern Dinos and Goblins is 4 Days and 430 miles that take you to the Bluff Fort, Sand Island Petroglyph Panel, Monument Valley, Natural Bridges National Monument and more.

Footsteps of the Explorers

Fort-72 For a bigger road trip, try Footsteps of the Explorers. Totaling 6 days and 680 miles, its treasures will include the Bluff Fort, the Monument Valley Jeep Tour, a historic Drive-In and the John Wesley Powell Museum. This road trip starts in Green River and ends in Escalante.

Southwest Silver Screen

shutterstock_111755141 (1)mon vall resized Southwest Silver Screen takes you to Forrest Gump Point. Need we say more? Are too many options making it hard to decide? The good news is that Bluff is a great gateway or rest stop for many of these itineraries. And with our great lodging options, including RV and tent camping, we have the perfect location to host you and your family. You may catch the Road to the Mighty TV commercials that are airing across the southwest through April. For additional road trip ideas, see our recent blog 8 Great Road Trip Ideas from Bluff.  

The best time to float the San Juan

River rafting on the San Juan River with Wild Rivers Expeditions

Not a bad view from camp on the river!

The San Juan River is a favorite trip for families, archaeology buffs, photographers and hikers because of its gentle nature and all of the side trips it offers. You're guaranteed a few fun splashes but the San Juan is considered mild by whitewater standards. This scenic winds westward through Bluff towards its resting place in Lake Powell. If you are looking to float the San Juan, the best time of the year is April - June and because of a good snowpack this year, 2016 should be an excellent year on the river with high flows. The folks at Wild Rivers Expeditions are the local experts on the San Juan. They run trips April 1 - November 1 ranging from half-day Stand Up Paddleboarding outings to multi-day river rafting trips.  All of their trips specialize in teaching about the Archaeology, Geology, Flora, Fauna and History of the San Juan.

The San Juan River shares hints of the Ancestral Puebloan past. Visitors can see ancient pottery in its final resting place.

If you're lucky, you can join Wild Rivers guides and regional experts on one of their speciality trips this season:
  • Archaeology May 13-16
  • Ornithology Trip June 1-3
  • Yoga Trip August 12-14
  • Photography Trip August 5-7
To book your rafting, Stand Up Paddleboarding or other adventurous tour with Wild Rivers Expeditions, visit their website or call  (435) 672-2244.
 River rafting on the San Juan River with Wild Rivers Expeditions
Interested in their land based tours as well? 4 Corners Adventures offers jeeping, hiking and canyoneering outings that take you off the path for an unforgettable desert experience.