House on Fire (Anasazi pueblo dwelling, Mule Canyon, Cedar Mesa UT)

I first saw a picture of this a couple of years ago (I believe it was Justin Reznick's excellent pic), and was immediately fascinated (and a little obsessed). I thought it was the most incredible-looking cliff dwelling I'd ever seen, and knew I had to see it in person. One of the things that drew me to landscape photography in the first place is a desire to visit the wild places I saw in other people's photographs. I wanted, or even NEEDED, to see these places--not so much to get my own photographs, but just to be there and experience it in person. House on Fire was definitely one of those places, and I'm so glad I was finally able to see it. It's truly in the middle of nowhere (a long drive, and then a short but pleasant hike), located in a beautiful canyon in southeastern Utah.

 

Built into a cleft in the canyon wall about 30 feet off the ground, the cliff dwelling is approximately 800-1000 years old, and is part of a larger network of Anasazi cliff dwellings in Mule Canyon and the greater Cedar Mesa area (in San Juan County in southeastern Utah). When late morning sun lights up the opposite canyon wall, the light reflects onto the dwelling and gives the sandstone roof the appearance of being on fire (hence, its name). The canyon itself is beautiful, and makes for a great hike. House on Fire is about 1.25 miles from the trailhead, and there are other ruins and rock art farther down the trail (The lower arm of the canyon is approximately 6 miles long).

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Taken on March 20, 2011