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Information for those interested in ancient cultures
in the American Southwest

Comb Wash with Comb Ridge in Background, UtahComb Wash

Site Overview

The drive along Comb Wash, the broad, flat valley that lies to the west of Comb Ridge, offers opportunity to view rock art, scattered rubble mounds and hand pecked ladders of moqui steps. Take a pair of binoculars for the moquis.  

Getting There

Comb Wash is located approximately 18 miles southwest of Blanding, It crosses Hwy 95, on the other side of Comb Ridge, west of Butler Wash. You can also access it from the south where it intersects with Hwy 163 from Bluff. Please be sure to observe the posted off-road-vehicle rules.   It is illegal to drive off the main road in Comb Wash unless otherwise signed.

What You Can See

The most impressive feature of Comb Wash is the 1000 foot high Comb Ridge monocline. This giant fold in the earth's crust trends almost 100 miles north to south, and forms the eastern edge of Comb Wash. Composed of Triassic aged sedimentary rock - Chinle, Kayenta and Navajo formations- it dominates the landscape here. Anyplace where large boulders have tumbled to the valley floor from the rim make for a good opportunity to view rock art.  The trails leading up into the side canyons that drain Cedar Mesa into Comb Wash, from the west, provide one with remote, solitary hiking to view granaries, cliff dwellings and rock art. The trail leading up Fish Canyon, past it's confluence with Owl Canyon to the Fish and Owl Canyon Trailhead makes for a very pleasant 3-4 day backpacking trip (or even longer if you wish to take your time). See our section on Fish and Owl Canyon.

Tips for Your Visit

As always, bring plenty of drinking water. Take note of the road conditions in Comb Wash before you begin your drive. The dirt road is not regularly maintained and after heavy rainstorms, the stream channel crossings can get washed-out. Two-wheel drive will get you around on the main road most of the time, but you will need at least all-wheel drive if you plan on exploring any of the open side roads. Down here, you are a long way from the nearest gas station, convenience store or bathroom. Most cell phones will not have reception in Comb Wash. If you are feeling adventurous, and decide to drive "The Twist", you'll want a higher clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle for this stretch of the Snow Flat road. For more information on visiting archaeologically sensitive areas, see our visitor tips page.