]San Juan County, located in the Colorado Plateau, is renowned for its stunning beauty and unique geological features. This region, made up of sandstone and limestone, encompasses a significant portion of Utah and parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. The magnificent Colorado and San Juan rivers have created breathtaking canyons and extraordinary erosion patterns in the colorful sedimentary rock.
In ancient times, the Anasazi people inhabited the San Juan area. Their cliff dwellings, pictographs, and petroglyphs have captivated visitors since their mysterious disappearance around A.D. 1300. The Basketmakers, an early phase of the Anasazi Culture, were first discovered and studied in Grand Gulch. Today, the Navajo Indians occupy a significant portion of San Juan County, stretching from the San Juan River to the Arizona border.
The settlement of San Juan County began in earnest in 1879 when Mormon scouts planned the renowned Hole-in-the-Rock Trail. This trail paved the way for the arrival of 230 pioneers from Escalante in April 1880, marking the start of full-scale settlement in the area.
Farming along the fluctuating San Juan River proved challenging, as the river frequently experienced floods or periods of drought, making reliable irrigation difficult. Cattlemen like the Scorup brothers found greater success in the rugged canyon country. However, after ten years of battling the elements, many settlers discovered that life was more manageable in the higher elevations near the Abajo Mountains. As a result, the towns of Blanding and Monticello became the primary focal points of San Juan County, replacing Bluff.
San Juan County encompasses more than 6,000 square miles and is roughly the size of Connecticut. The county's vast landscape features a variety of climates and terrains, ranging from desert to alpine regions. The Ancestral Puebloan ruins in Comb Wash draw visitors to the area, while the stark beauty of Monument Valley attracts photographers from around the world. In addition to these attractions, the county also boasts some of the most remote and rugged off-road trails in Utah.
Places of Interest
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is the premier destination in San Juan County. Consisting of a maze of canyons, mesas, and buttes, this fascinating park offers visitors awe-inspiring scenery and an incredible variety of recreational activities. Hiking, rafting, and mountain biking are some of the most popular activities here.
Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks State Park offers stunning vistas of the San Juan River from several thousand feet above. Here, visitors can observe the river's meandering path for miles in either direction and appreciate its incredible depth carved into the red-rock landscape. The park is also a great spot to enjoy a picnic or simply take in the breathtaking views.