The namesake and heart of the landscape, the Bears Ears stand over 8,700 feet in elevation. These twin buttes are located in the Manti-La Sal National Forest and serve as a local landmark to the region. They are sacred places to many tribes who share oral histories of the area. Navajo Headsman Manuelito, who led a number of Navajos in an escape from the “Long Walk” to New Mexico, was born near these buttes. Ute and Pueblo cultures also share long-standing ties to the area. From the saddle of these twin buttes, you get stunning views of the Bears Ears landscape.
Directions: There are two ways to access the Bears Ears: from Cottonwood Wash to the east or from Elk Mountain Road to the west. Both routes are not recommended when conditions may be wet or icy.
From Blanding: Travel south on Hwy 191 for three miles, take a right onto UT-95 N and continue for 30.2 miles west (past the turnoff for UT-261). Turn right on UT-275N. After 0.7 miles, turn right onto Elk Mountain/FR008. This 6.1-mile road will take you to the saddle between the two buttes.
From Bluff: Travel north on Hwy 191 for 21 miles. Turn left onto UT-95 N and continue 30.2 miles west (past the turnoff for UT-261). Turn right on UT-275N. After 0.7 miles, turn right onto Elk Mountain/FR008. This 6.1-mile road will take you to the saddle between the two buttes.
The Cottonwood Wash access: From the junction of Hwy 191 and UT-95 N, follow UT-95 west for 6.3 miles. Turn right on Cottonwood and proceed 5.3 miles. Take a slight left onto Elk Mountain/268. After 3.9 miles, turn right to stay on Elk Mountain/268. After 10.8 miles, take a slight left onto Forest Road 092. Follow 092 for 5.8 miles to reach the saddle of the Bears Ears buttes.