Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.


Utah > Southeast Utah > 191 South
Warning Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek DetailsDrop down


Bluff sits on the banks of the San Juan River, about 100 miles south of Moab. It is one of the smaller towns along this lonely stretch of Highway 191, and has little in the way of amenities. There are no groceries available, other than the offerings of the local gas station. A couple of restaurants are open seasonally. The Comb Ridge Coffee offers good brew and breakfast fare; it's also open seasonally.

Bluff is much better known for its rock art and ruins than rock climbing. It is an authentic slice of the southwest, that affords vast opportunity for exploration. Scattered inconspicuously about the region are undeveloped and relatively undisturbed archeological sites that exude a timeless feel. Leave all artifacts behind, and minimize your presence while visiting these sites.

Traveling climbers have generally passed by the area without much notice en route to more esteemed zones of the Colorado Plateau. However, Bluff is surrounded by readily accessible cliffs, that can provide a nice layover for the road-weary rockhound. Throughout the years, various aficionados of the obscure explored these walls and left behind a smattering of routes. Mike Baker, Jay Anderson, Mike Friedrichs, etc. contributed routes here.

The Bluff Sandstone Member is an eolian layer unique to the area, and belongs to the Morrison Formation dating back to the Jurassic. It sits atop the crumbling Wanakah Formation and is reminiscent of the Entrada atop Dewey Bridge layering found around Moab in zones like Arches and Tusher Canyon. In many spots, the Wanakah layer is exposed (sometimes with considerable height) and thwarts climbing access to the Bluff Member above. The Bluff Member varies greatly in solidity throughout the region. In general, it is sandy and soft; however, patches of quality stone exist, protected with a reddish/brown varnish, that are of comparable quality to the "good" Entrada zones. Needless to say, this is an area for desert rats familiar with the intricacies of variable rock, and probably won't appeal those only initiated in Creek Wingate.

Getting There

Bluff is on Highway 191, about 100 miles south of Moab, UT.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Mikey Shaefer on the second ascent.
[Hide Photo] Mikey Shaefer on the second ascent.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Josh Ewing
Bluff, UT
[Hide Comment] A protection bolt was recently found near (directly above) a sensitive petroglyph panel in the Bluff area. The bolt has been removed and the hole patched.

Please use extreme caution developing in this area. Routes anywhere near cultural sites are extremely disrespectful to Indigenous people who consider those sites sacred. Beyond the basic dignity we ought to provide those from whom the land we recreate upon was stolen, thoughtless development threatens our climbing access and makes climbers, in general, look selfish and tone-deaf.

If anyone needs ideas for areas to develop that have much better rock and far less cultural sensitivity than Bluff, please feel free to PM me. I have more than a lifetime of areas scouted. If you do decide to develop around Bluff, I'd encourage you to contact a local (someone who actually lives in Bluff or has lived there previously) prior to putting up lines. This is a highly sensitive cultural area and the actions of climbers are certainly under the microscope with these lands now being inside Bears Ears National Monument. Feb 14, 2022