House on Fire, Blanding, UT

The southwest is filled with ruins from many previous cultures. One that will be of great interest to photographers is a Pueblo ruin in the South Branch of Mule Canyon near Blanding, Utah. The entrance to the canyon is on Arch Canyon Road off UT 95 between milepost 101 & 102 about 20 miles west of Blanding.

If you reach the “official” Mule Canyon Ruin Exhibit, you have gone about 1/2 mile too far. I suspect the official exhibit was built to keep traffic down in the valley. A BLM kiosk awaits your $2.00 payment for your permit at the entrance to Arch Canyon Road.  There is a parking area (just a wider section of the road) about 1/3 of a mile from the kiosk.  While the entire trail is around 4 miles long with many ruins built into the sides of the canyon, House on Fire is on the right about 1.25 miles from the trailhead & the first ruin along the way. It is barely visible from the trail, however there is an obvious path to it.

The best time to photograph the ruin is late morning. Too early or late in the day & it is just a well preserved ruin, but at the right time reflected light on the rocks above the roof makes it “glow”.




Blanding is about 75 miles from Monument Valley. Between the two are many interesting locations. Spend some time at Goosenecks State Park (dry camping with a view!), Check out Mexican Hat along US 163, Valley of the Gods (dispersed primitive camping) and for those with no fear of heights, and not driving a RV, an “interesting” drive up or down the Moki Dugway, a dirt section of UT 261 filled with switchbacks that climbs 1100′ in 3 miles. If you get to the top, drive out to the end of Muley Point for a great view! Full hookup campgrounds are available in Blanding.

About Jon Vermilye

I am a retired educator from the Theatre Department at the State University College of New York at Oswego. While there I created & taught courses in Theatre Electronics, Photography, Sound Design & Special Effects. I also designed the sound & special effects for over 150 productions. I currently travel with an Escape 17B, a 17' fiberglass trailer, photographing our beautiful national & state parks. My website is

Article Comments