Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yucca Cave Ruins at Canyon de Chelly

The Yucca Cave Ruins is visible from the from the west side of the Massacre Cave Overlook along the north rim of Canyon de Chelly National Monument near Chinle in northeast Arizona.

This is a small ruins site but it is unusual in the Canyon de Chelly as it is near the canyon rim rather than near the canyon floor. Most of the ruins sites at Canyon de Chelly are near the farming fields, peach orchards and water supplies that make the floor area livable.

The area near the canyon rim is very rocky but has good supplies of Pinon Pines and Utah Junipers. The cliffs below the ruins are vertical with an 800 foot drop to the canyon bottom. There is a small granary storage site to the left of the main alcove that looks particularly tricky.

The Yucca Cave site overlooks the area of the large Mummy Cave Ruins, though it is around the corner and not directly visible. This area is about 12 miles from the canyon mouth and at higher elevation, receiving more winter snow. In winter, the roads and parking areas are kept clear of snow and visiting the overlooks is only a short walk.

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