How to explore Bears Ears National Monument and surrounding areas

While we’ve all heard plenty about Bears Ears National Monument in in southeastern Utah, we don’t all know much about it. Those who do have wandered among its labyrinths of canyons and mesas, gazed silently at ancient ruins, climbed tall cracked cliff faces, been lost among the pines or drank from pothole oasis. They know the areas of which it is divided – Grand Gulch, Indian Creek, Dark Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Elk Ridge and others.

But for the first time someone accepted the behemoth task of running, hiking, plotting and mapping 21,000 square miles of landscape, which is now swept up in a political and cultural debate. Some of the trails within the sacred tribal land, a crown jewel of outdoor recreation or rich natural resource cheddar, one thing is certain, this place is incredible and overwhelming.

Writer, runner and beer connoisseur Morgan Sjögren brings us The Best Bears Ears National Monument Hikes (The Colorado Mountain Club Press), a loaded color pocket guide of twenty-five trails of all lengths and levels of difficulty, including maps, insight, photographs and even a history lesson in presidential monument designation. While BENM is currently composed of two smaller monuments, Indian Creek and Shash Jáa, all trails in the book are still on federally protected lands. Go get ‘em.

The author rehydrating after some time logging miles on trails. Morgan Sjogren