Montezuma Canyon
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Visitor Activities

You may encounter archeological ruins. Please treat them with respect so that future generations can enjoy them.

The canyon is ideal for auto tours with stops at developed and undeveloped archeological and historic sites including Three Kiva Pueblo and the Bradford Ruin.


The surface of the main road is gravel or graded dirt. The area should be accessed only during dry weather, with spring and fall being the best times. Otherwise, accessible facilities are not provided.

Access and Directions

Access to the area is from US State Highway 191 between Monticello, Blanding, and Bluff. The upper northern access leaves the highway about five miles south of Monticello on the east side (County Road B146). The lower southern access connects to the highway about one mile south of Blanding.  Turn east on County Road B219 for about 1.1 miles, then turn south (right) on County Road B206 (Perkins Road).  Take this road for 18 miles to the bottom of Montezuma Canyon, then turn north (left) on the Montezuma Canyon Road (County Road B146).  The canyon road is about 34 miles long, making for a loop of about 53 miles off of US Highway 191.  Detailed maps are available at the offices of the BLM or the U.S. Forest Service in Monticello, at the Blanding Visitor Center, the Monticello Multi-Agency Visitor Center or the Moab Information Center, and at the Canyonlands Natural History Association.

Preparedness and Safety

Montezuma Canyon is in a desert environment. Temperatures here may exceed 100 degrees in the summertime. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. Spring and fall are the best times to visit.


Montezuma Canyon has many interesting wildlife species, including deer, bobcats, and coyotes.


The canyon is used for livestock grazing.

Points of Interest

Besides Three Kiva Pueblo and the Bradford Ruin, prehistoric attractions include petroglyphs and hand-and-toe holds climbing the cliffs. Watch for these as you drive through the canyon. Remnants of historic uranium mining operations and working historic ranches can also be seen.


Ranching has been an important activity in Montezuma Canyon since the 1880s. It was also important as a uranium mining area during the Cold War, especially during the 1950s.


Montezuma Canyon is cut into the Colorado Plateau, which is a regional uplift that began millions of years ago. These rocks were once below sea level. The canyons have been eroded by the streams which flow through them; and most erosion occurs during times of high water.

The rims of the canyon are carved from Cretaceous age Dakota and Burro Canyon sandstones and the slopes are formed from the Jurassic Morrison Formation. These rocks are well known for discoveries of dinosaur fossils. Quaternary age stream terraces are formed along the canyon bottom.

Last updated: 06-28-2011