After visiting Monument Valley, we had some time left that day to do some exploring, so we visited the Bluff Fort Historic Site.

In the late 1800’s Mormon’s were building missions throughout Utah to spread their religion. When the mission call went out to build a mission in remote San Juan area, 70 families signed up. They traveled by wagon train from Escalante, Utah on a journey that was expected to take 6 weeks, but instead took 6 months. Although the route had been mapped out by scouts in advance, winter conditions slowed things down considerably. In addition, the pioneers spent 6 weeks blasting a route down sandstone cliffs, 1200 feet, in order for the wagon to pass. This trail, known as the Hole in the Rock Trail is on the National Register of Historic Places and we learned about the experiences of the pioneers in depth. The Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition is considered one of the most extraordinary wagon trips ever taken in North America.

The pioneers finally stopped, 20 miles from their final destination, too exhausted to continue. They named their settlement Bluff City and built their houses in a fort to facilitate defense from Indians.

The Fort was rebuilt by the Hole in the Rock Foundation, restoring some of the original structures, and recreating others. Many houses were furnished by the descendants of the people who originally lived there. We had expected this to be a quick stop, but the information presented at the fort was comprehensive and the exhibits were very well done. The Bluff Historic Fort is free to explore and well worth the time spent.

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

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