Edge of the Cedars State Park contains a modern museum that is the regional archaeological repository for southeast Utah. This state park is also the site of a pre-Colombian Pueblo Indian ruin with a partially excavated pueblo. The museum houses a large collection of Anasazi pottery and other ancient Indian artifacts. Additional exhibits display cultural materials and information about Navajo and Utah Indians. You can see the entire history of San Juan County, from the ancient Anasazi, through the Navajo and Ute Indians, and later the Euro-American Settlers. Besides the permanent collections, the museum offers special exhibits, festivals, and events throughout the year.
The Indian Ruin was an agricultural village with six habitation and ceremonial complexes. This excavated area provides a view of Anasazi architecture, especially the underground ceremonial rooms or kivas. There is one kiva on site that has been fully excavated, stabilized, and can be entered by visitors. You enter the reconstructed kiva by a wooden pole ladder.
Edge of the Cedars State Park is located within the city limits of Blanding on the northwest edge. Blanding is located in San Juan County of southeastern Utah, twenty one miles south of Monticello on US Route 191. Once in Blanding, follow the signs from US 191 to the park. The parks physical address is 660 West 400 North, Blanding, Utah.
Edge of the Cedars State Park Information:
Acres - 16
Elevation - 6,200 feet
Open - All Year
Fee charged - Yes, per person or family
Annual Passes - Yes
Park Hours - 9am to 5pm (6pm in summer)
Holiday Closures - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day
Visitor Center/Museum - Hours Vary
Picnicking - Yes
Facilities - Drinking Water, modern flush toilets
Camping - No
Exhibit halls - Two, plus special exhibit area
Gift shop - yes, souvenirs only, no food or supplies
Auditorium - yes
Meeting facilities - yes
In the late 1800's, cowboys from nearby Bluff camped here and called the site Edge of the Cedars because it sits on the edge of a natural boundary. This boundary separates a heavily forested region and the treeless landscape to the south. Cedar is a term local's use for the Utah juniper tree, known for its shaggy bark and blue-green berries.
The online Fodor's Review states, "One of the nation's foremost museums dedicated to the Ancestral Puebloan Indians is at Edge of the Cedars State Park. The museum displays pots, baskets, spear points, and the only known metal implements from the Anasazi era in Utah. Behind the museum, you can visit an actual Anasazi ruin.''
As a side note, there is an Edge of the Cedars Museum-Archaeological Lab Work tour. For five days you can assist the museum's staff catalogue more than 500,000 ancient artifacts. This process contributes to a statewide computer system for use by the public and researchers. This tour allows you to practice curation, categorization and cataloging methods and learn about archaeology as a profession. You experience behind-the-scenes access to Edge of the Cedars accumulation of Anasazi pottery. This program is part of the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, a non-profit organization based in Monticello, Utah.