River House is a stabilized ruin along the San Juan River that is a popular stop for rafters. It was occupied by Ancestral Puebloans between AD900 and the late 1200s. At the ruin you can walk among stabilized ruin walls, admire rock art, painted and etched on the overhang walls and ceiling, and examine fragments of pottery and stone tools.
Please remember that all artifacts and the ruin itself are protected by law. It is illegal to remove artifacts or damage the ruin. Violations of the Archeological Resources Protection Act can result in stiff penalties, including heavy fines and jail sentences.
River House was a multi-room dwelling with rectangular rooms used for both living space and for storage. Circular rooms, or kivas, were used primarily for religious purposes. Rock art motifs at the site include human hands, and a large snake figure. Human figures, spirals, and mountain sheep are also depicted. Many figures are abstract or their meaning is open to interpretation. People who lived here were farmers, growing primarily corn, beans, and squash.
How to Get There
Stop at River Mile 6 and hike north to the first sandstone bluff. There are several paths; please use these and do not climb or walk on the walls. The site may also be reached by high clearance vehicle or ATV by following a dirt road down Comb Wash and then up along the river. To reach this road, travel west from about six miles along Highways 191 and 163. Turn south (left) at the bottom of the hill after going through the big rock cut. Travel south for four miles, then turn east for one mile. Park in the fenced area. The site is at the base of the bluff on your left.
For more information, contact BLM Monticello Field Office, 365 North Main, PO Box 7, Monticello, Utah 84535. Telephone: 435-587-1500.