bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

Three days in Bluff, Utah–Big Trip #1

We visited Bluff in April 2016 as part of Big Trip #1. We later boondocked just outside Bluff in Valley of the Gods just after this first Bluff visit, and then again in October 2020, during Big Trip #3.

goosenecks state park

There’s not much going on in Bluff, except for the scenery outside of town, and an unexpected and delightful coffee and lunch spot (with wifi!) by day/upscale local-foods bistro by night.

comb ridge bistro bluff

We stayed at Cadillac Ranch RV Park, which was quiet and nicely situated on the edge of town, across the main road from the Visitor Center which sells homemade toffee and cookies (with free samples!) and has all the local travel information you could want. Our only complaint about the campground was that the wifi wasn’t working 98% of time, and the 2% it was working, we had to walk up near the office to use it.

comb ridge bistro bluff
comb ridge bistro bluff

Comb Ridge Espresso Bistro was an oasis in a dining desert. We had local beers, and appetizer, and wifi our first afternoon in Bluff, and then dinner the next night. They provide mouth-watering local food and thoughtful service in a charming atmosphere.

mexican hat
navajo taco

The only other restaurant experience we had during this stay was in the town of Mexican Hat, named for the rock formation nearby that looks like a head wearing a sombrero–can you see it in the picture above? We had lunch at the Olde Bridge Bar and Grill, and as the only real lunch option in town, the slow service and bland food had to do. We had Navajo Tacos–basically an open-face taco on fry bread–because we felt we had to try one, and we probably would have enjoyed them at a different restaurant.

butler wash bluff

Bluff is surrounded by the canyons, red rock formations, and washes we’ve been spoiled by in Utah. We did some notable hiking and driving:

Butler Wash

butler wash hike
butler wash hike
butler wash petroglyphs
butler wash ruins

We spent a couple hours hiking around in Butler Wash, admiring a few petroglyphs and ruins. The road follows the wash for about 20 miles, and we had instructions from the Visitor Center to drive a bit, hike a bit, drive a bit, hike a bit, all along the route. The problem was that the dirt roads and landmarks described in the handout didn’t always agree with reality, so we saw some cool old Native stuff but mostly just hiked around the wash admiring the scenery. The Wolf Man Petroglyph Panel was an especially fun treasure to find.

Moki Dugway and Muley Point

moki point muley dugway

If you’re scared of heights, or of driving off the side of a road with no shoulder and freefalling to the base of a cliff, you probably shouldn’t attempt this drive. Moki Dugway is a 3-mile section of an otherwise innocuous road that steeply switches back and forth across a sheer cliff face. At the top is a dirt road leading to Muley Point, overlooking the San Juan River canyon far below. Muley Point would be a great picnic spot, but skip the picnic beers if you’re driving back down the Dugway!

And three other parks that deserve their own posts, coming soon:

monument valley
valley of the gods airstream
  • Toured Monument Valley National Park with its impressive red sandstone towers
  • Drove through Valley of the Gods, a mini-Monument Valley, fell in love, picked out a boondocking site for later
  • Visited Goosenecks State Park and gawked at the loopy bows a thousand feet below in the San Juan River; later hiked the Honaker Trail from the rim of the canyon near Goosenecks SP allllll the way down to the river and back.
goosenecks state park bluff


3 responses to “Three days in Bluff, Utah–Big Trip #1”

  1. […] We toured Monument Valley from our base in Bluff. […]

  2. […] hills (yes I mean the very opposite of boring and dull) (the folded hills were my favorite) between Bluff and Mexican Hat. It’s like a mini-Monument Valley, but because it’s mini is seems more […]

  3. […] After eating most of our tacos and enjoying them less and less, we decided the experience was strike two for frybread tacos and vowed to never order them […]

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