Celebrate Cedar Mesa Weekend March 4 – 6

Local conservation group Friends of Cedar Mesa is hosting its annual Celebrate Cedar Mesa event, a full weekend of lively presentations, local films, workshops, hikes and service projects helping protect the beauty and archaeology of this spectacular landscape.

2016 Celebrate featured imageThe three-day weekend held March 4 – 6, 2016 in Bluff is sure to make a splash. Friends of Cedar Mesa kicks off the weekend Friday the 4th with service projects on our public lands. Friday night, everyone is invited to a free evening of films, awards, snacks and a presentation on archaeoastronomy.

Saturday is the big gathering at the Bluff Community Center. Early registration for this event is $30 and includes lunch and a chili dinner. The agenda featuring archaeologists, botanists, local land managers and FCM staff can be found online. Saturday night, registrants are invited to an evening of dancing and live music by Durango bluegrass band “Running out of Road.” Cash bar.

Sunday, meet up with other Cedar Mesa Celebrants for organized hikes and workshops. Register now for workshops, as they’re filling up quickly!


The 18th Annual Bluff International Balloon Festival!

18th bluff balloon festival

The 18th Annual Bluff International Balloon Festival was held January 15-17th, 2016. Despite some weather holdups, we had a beautiful Saturday night Glow-In and spectacular flights Sunday morning over the Bluff skies of Bluff.

Bluff Arts Festival: Trail of the Artists

Here is all you need to navigate the 2015 Bluff Arts Festival Trail of the Artists Friday Oct. 16 – Saturday, Oct. 17. The map below will help you decide at which gallery to begin your tour.

baf map 2015

Additional Details

For more details on the Bluff Arts Festival, visit the event website or check out their Facebook for the latest updates.

Click here for a full schedule of the weekend’s events.

New Monument to be Dedicated in Bluff on October 10th

A new monument at the Bluff Fort honors the San Juan pioneers who came to Bluff after the original Hole in the Rock company.  The monument will be dedicated on October 10th by Steven Snow, LDS Church Historian and Record, and Executive Director of the Church History Department.

The dedication ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Bluff Fort and will be preceded by a public chuck wagon breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The original Hole in the Rock pioneers arrived in Bluff in April 1880.  Beginning the next year, more pioneers came to Bluff as part of the San Juan Mission via the Hole in the Rock trail.

Elder Steven Snow is a descendent of Apostle Erastus Snow, who issued the calls to those sent to the San Juan Mission between 1879 and 1883.

Bluff’s Buick: A History of the Iconic Car at Cow Canyon Trading Post

Bluff Buick


It’s one of the iconic images of the ultimate Southwest road trip; the 1949 Buick Super parked in front of Cow Canyon Trading Post in Bluff, Utah.  American Road magazine recently featured the Buick on the cover of an edition dedicated to the land and legends of the timeless Southwest.

“I love the form and the shape of it,” explained Liza Doran, owner of Cow Canyon Trading Post. “I found the Buick on the road to Mesa Verde and brought it to Bluff twenty years ago.”

Bluff buick cow canyon trading post

Photo: Ryan Logan / Flickr

The 1949 Buick now sits in front of the Cow Canyon Trading Post which was also built around 1949 by the first sheriff of San Juan County, Rusty Musselman. Liza and her late husband purchased the property, began restoration and opened Cow Canyon Trading Post in 1986, and Cow Canyon Restaurant in 1987. After Liza’s twenty-five year restoration, the compound now consists of a charming trading post brimming with unique Native American pieces, and a sleek art gallery featuring modern works from local artists.

Known as the Bluff Buick, the car proudly sports the wear and tear of past decades.  The car’s original Detroit paint color has now weathered to a lovely patina. “It looks like rock,” Liza declared.

Liza explained that the Buick contains several features relating to World War II. “The hood ornament is in the shape of a sight from a World War II bomber. The round side Ventiports are symbolic as well.” In 1948, a Buick styling executive modified his own car with side Ventiports which flashed on and off to simulate flames from the exhaust of a fighter plane. Buick was delighted with the concept and ordered non-flashing Ventiports be installed on all 1949 Buicks.

Bluff cow canyon trading post buick car

The Bluff Buick as featured on American Road Magazine

When Liza ran her restaurant, she didn’t use to-go boxes. Customers received a take away dinner on a regular plate along with instructions to return empty plates to Liza’s car if the restaurant wasn’t open. Thinking that customers understood the deposit point was her Honda, she never checked the Buick. One day while cleaning around the Buick, however, she noted a stack of dutifully returned plates inside the Buick.

Photographs of the Bluff Buick have been featured in several magazines and guidebooks.  Google “Bluff Buick” and you will see numerous images of the car. A photosharing page has been set up on Flickr for photos of the Buick. While working on a project at Cow Canyon, a local tradesman counted fifty-five cars that stopped to photograph the Buick in a single day. “If I had put a coffee can out for donations, I would have had an engine by now,” joked Liza.

Gazing fondly at the Buick, Liza smiled and stated, “It’s romantic.  It evokes people on the road.  And, people love old cars.”