Aztec Butte in Canyonlands National Park

canyonlands granaries

With only a half day to explore the Island of the Sky District at Canyonlands National Park, I opted to check out a few of the shorter day hiking opportunities, including the hike to Aztec Butte. The Aztec Butte trailhead is located on the road to Upheaval Dome, shortly after the road splits at Mesa Arch.

The sign placard at the trailhead reads as follows,

“Rising above the Mesa, Aztec Butte overlooks sheer cliffs and twisted canyons stretched in every direction. Hundreds of years ago, ancestral Puebloans survived here through hard work and ingenuity. Clad in yucca sandals and bearing baskets of seed and grain, they scrambled up these buttes to store their harvest in small stone structures sealed with mud. These granaries still stand today, a testament to the skill of the people who made this area their home”.

The trail was covered in snow and I had to do a little route finding. Still, I was able to reach Aztec Butte easily. The hike did require a bit of scrambling, but nothing technical. As with the other hikes I’ve done at Canyonlands, the short hike to Aztec Butte had some incredible views.

The granaries I came across were tucked in under a large rock shelf. There were two small structures, each with a small opening. Whether here or at Mesa Verde National Park, I’m always amazed coming across these types of structures; structures built hundreds of years ago, by the original inhabitants, that have withstood the test of time.


  1. I just received the dates for Free Park Entrance dates of 2014! Those will be Martin Luther
    King, Jr. Day (January 20), Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 15-17), First
    Weekend of National Park Week (April 19-20), National Park Service Birthday
    (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 27), and Veterans Day (November
    From Moab folks get two National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands – to make the best of one day free!

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