5 Ways to Run Through America’s Newest National Monument

Over 1.3 million acres of newly protected land for you to enjoy

On Wednesday, President Obama declared 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears in southern Utah a national monument (along with 3,000-acre Gold Butte in Nevada). The result? Protected canyons, Native American ceremonial sites, and unique desert landscape as far as the eye can see. Here are five of the top trails to help you make the most of Bears Ears.

5. House on Fire Ruins

“An out and back to Anasazi ruins famous for their rock roof’s red, flame-like pattern in certain light” —Megan Wilder

Anasazi ruins, bright red rock, and plenty of creek crossings. What’s not to love on this quick, two-mile jog? The trail remains fairly flat and leads you through cottonwoods and rock structures. Maps and essential beta here.

Photo: Caleb Joyce

Photo: Caleb Joyce

4. Hammond Canyon to Posey Canyon

“An awesome canyon-filled adventure; from rim top to canyon bottom, and back again.” —Tom Robson

Runners looking for a solid workout should lace up their shoes for 10.5 miles of singletrack. With 2,482 feet of climbing and a max grade of 47 percent, you’ll feel the burn. But the vista from the top of Posey Canyon will make you forget your aches and pains. Maps and essential beta here.

Photo: Tom Robson

Photo: Tom Robson

3. Kane Gulch to Junction & Turkey Pen Ruins

“A beautiful canyon run highlighting two of the many Anasazi ruins found in Cedar Mesa.” —Nick Wilder

Experts only on this challenging, 9.4-mile run. Brace yourself for a max grade of 64 percent, petroglyphs, and ancient pottery sherds. “There’s an unusual stand of aspen trees here, which would normally require a much higher elevation,” says Wilder. “But they have survived in this micro-climate as clones of the same tree for 11,000 years!” Maps and essential beta here.

Photo: Caleb Joyce

Photo: Caleb Joyce

2. Moon House Ruins

“A fun run down the canyon to some beautiful Anasazi ruins.” —Kristen Arendt

Pinyon pine, juniper, rabbitbrush, and yucca line the path to 1,000-year-old ruins. Intermediate runners will easily be able to tackle this 4.6-mile long trail, which is relatively mellow except for a short scramble leading up to the Moon House Ruin, which marks the half-way point. Maps and essential beta here.

Photo: Sarah Baker

Photo: Sarah Baker

1. Robertson Pasture Trail (20)

“A gorgeous trail through forests and meadows climbing high up the Abajos.” —Nick Wilder

Looking to log some serious miles? Do 14.5 of them among meadows, forests, and aspens. Though the trail begins relatively flat, it takes some fairly steep switchbacks to reach the saddle between Twin Peaks at 10,500 feet, from which you can see for miles. Maps and essential beta here.

Photo: Nick Wilder

Photo: Nick Wilder