Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip (4.2 km)
Elevation: 6,390 - 6,220 feet (1,948 - 1,896 m)
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Time of Year: Anytime (watch for ice in winter and extreme heat or flash floods in summer)
The Fallen Roof Ruin is one of the premier examples of a small Puebloan ruin not located within a national park. It is remote, but relatively easy to access. It is almost perfectly preserved and even contains dozens of 700+ year old corn cobs on the floor of one of its rooms. If you visit the site, please respect this archaeological wonder and do not touch the structure or disturb any of the artifacts. Any slight bump could permanently damage this structure, disrespecting the work of these ancient people and damaging it for future generations to see.
You can access this site by taking UT-261 up from Mexican Hat or down from Natural Bridges National Monument. Near mile post 20, look for a sign for Cigarette Spring Road on the east side of the highway. Turn here and set your odometer. Drive 0.9 miles to the sign in station. The fee was $2 per person when we were there. Drive to the 3.4 mile mark (2.5 miles past the sign in station) and look for a road pulling off to the left in the brush. If you are driving too quickly, it is easy to miss. Drive about 200 feet to the end of this road where there is a large parking area. Cigarette Spring Road is narrow and brushy, so look out for oncoming cars. It is also sandy in places with occasional ruts, but usually doable for cars in good weather.
From the parking area, there is a small brown sign that says trail. The trail is easy to follow for the next 0.3 miles across the pinyon-juniper landscape and then comes out onto the rim of Road Canyon. Here, the trail drops steeply down the side. It can be hard to follow down 170 feet to the bottom, but it does have cairns to lead the way. Upon reaching the canyon bottom, turn right (following the cairns) and follow the dry creek bed down the canyon.
The trail has a tendency to weave in and across the creek bed attempting to avoid riparian brush, rock jumbles, or debris piles. But, the route is easy to follow and cairned most of the way. After about 15-20 minutes, the canyon opens up into a wide area where another side drainage joins it. Here, if you look up to the left, are three large boulders perched on the alluvium with black desert varnish. If you hop up the slope and look onto the nearly horizontal surface of one of them, you will see a number of very old and faded petroglyphs. Petroglyphs at canyon intersections is a common feature in this region, probably signifying this as a significant site of travel.
Continuing down the canyon, the canyon walls narrow and shortly thereafter, you should catch a glimpse of the ruins about 70 feet up the slope to the left. Although the slope is steep, it is pretty easy to scramble up with adequate footwear. Once at the ruins, you will see why it is called Fallen Roof Ruin. A large slab of the alcove ceiling came tumbling down and shattered into a dozen or so large chunks of flattened rocks.
There are three main rooms and the one furthest to the right contains the numerous corn cobs. It is hard to see them in the darkness, but if you have a camera with a flash, that'll catch them.
After enjoying the site, just backtrack the way you came. Be prepared to deal with icy slick spots on the descent down and along the canyon bottom in winter. In summer, be prepared for near 100 degree temperatures and the risk of flash floods from summer monsoon rains. In summer, it is best to start very early in the morning. The best seasons to go are late spring and autumn. And remember to respect the site and not touch anything.