Red Cliffs Archeological Site
The Red Cliffs Archaeological Site houses the remains of structures from when the Ancestral Puebloans were residing there intermittently from about 500 A.D. to 1200 A.D. The occupation spanned three distinct periods in Ancestral Puebloan history: Basketmaker III, Pueblo I, and Pueblo II. This site is accessible via the Anasazi Trail, or Red Reef East Trail.
It is common to find habitation from these periods along water sources, in this case Quail Creek, where farming of maize and other crops was possible. One or two families lived together in pit-houses, and later in multi-roomed surface pueblos. The families at this site were primarily sedentary farmers, cultivating small fields along the creek, but would also gather native plants and hunt. After 1200 A.D. the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned this site, possibly due to prolonged drought periods and climate change.
BLM archaeologists excavated this site between 1977 and 1979, assisted by Youth Adult Conservation Corps youth crews. Data from the Red Cliffs site provided knowledge about the Ancestral Puebloan culture and way of life in southwestern Utah, which scientists only had very little familiarity with at the time. Many artifacts were recovered, including stone tools and pottery, which are now curated at the museum at Southern Utah University.
Within the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, archaeological sites that preserve evidence of Archaic, Ancestral Puebloan, and Southern Paiute occupations and land uses, are conserved and protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Please help us conserve and protect your public lands by following all outdoor ethics and posted regulations.
Access note: To enter the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, vehicle and trailer height and width is restricted to 11 feet 9 inches to pass through two narrow underpasses beneath the I-15 freeway. Plan your travel according.
Northbound from Saint George: From I-15 northbound, take exit 22 for UT-228 north toward Leeds, then turn right onto Old Highway 91. Continue for 2 miles, then turn right onto West Red Cliffs Campground Road.
Southbound from Cedar City: From I-15 southbound, take exit 23 toward UT-228/Leeds, then turn left onto Silver Reef Road. Continue for 480 feet, then turn right onto Main Street. After 1.5 miles, continue southbound on Old Highway 91 for 2 miles. Turn right onto West Red Cliffs Campground Road.
Day Use Fee: $5 per vehicle. Cash or check only. The America the Beautiful Passes are accepted here and allow free day-use.