Southern Utah Region
This monument is about 314 square miles of undeveloped and often rugged terrain and protects the public land surrounding the monument’s namesake: two distinctive twin buttes named “Bears Ears” that rise from the dramatic landscape, and the Indian Creek corridor. Abundant rock imagery, ancient cliff dwellings, ceremonial kivas, and countless other artifacts provide an extraordinary archaeological and cultural record.
Bears Ears is split into two units divided by the Abajo Mountains. The Indian Creek unit borders The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. The Indian Creek Corridor Scenic Byway, Utah Hwy 211, is the drive from US Hwy 191 to The Needles district (entrance fee is charged) and passes by Newspaper Rock. Monticello is the closest town to the Indian Creek unit. The southern unit, called Shash Jaa’, has some of the area’s most incredible remnants of cliff dwellings.
The monument is co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service (through the Manti-La Sal National Forest).
Permits are required for hiking or backpacking in the monument year-round. Some permits for day use may be obtained at the trailheads. Others need to be obtained by visiting recreation.gov or at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station off Utah Hwy 261. For better details, visit blm.gov/visit/bears-ears-national-monument.
Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Ute, and other Tribes and Pueblos all have ancestral ties to the region. Additional care needs to be taken around the numerous archaeological sites in the area. Travel and visit with respect.
Visiting this area with the utmost care and respect is essential so that sites and artifacts can be preserved. Any ancient artifact you might find, inside or outside of a dwelling, needs to be left alone. Looting or defacing any artifact is against state and federal laws. Best practice is to take only pictures.
Neither unit has an official entrance gate or visitor center. This area does not have the same kind of infrastructure as other national parks or monuments so there are no services or facilities. Rangers patrol both units. Travelers to the area need to be well-prepared and experienced in backcountry-style travel.
You can drive the loop around the area to get an overall view of the beauty, but the best way to experience this area is by taking a hike (permits needed for most hikes year-round). Stop by the Kane Gulch Ranger Station off Utah Hwy 261 (open 8am-noon daily March 1-June 15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31.).
Before you visit this area, make sure to stop at the Bears Ears Education Center in Bluff. They are the best resource for the area. 435-414-0343, bearsearsmonument.org.
Another resource is the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding 435-678-2238, stateparks.utah.gov/parks/edge-of-the-cedars.