Red Cliffs Archeological Site

The Red Cliffs Archaeological Site houses the remains of structures from when the Ancestral Puebloans were residing there intermittently from about 500 A.D. to 1200 A.D. The occupation spanned three distinct periods in Ancestral Puebloan history: Basketmaker III, Pueblo I, and Pueblo II. It is common to find habitation from these periods along water sources, in this case Quail Creek, where farming of maize and other crops was possible. One or two families lived together in pithouses, and later in multi-roomed surface pueblos. The families at this site were primarily sedentary farmers, cultivating small fields along the creek, but would also gather native plants and hunt. After 1200 A.D. the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned this site, possibly due to prolonged drought periods and climate change. BLM archaeologists excavated this site between 1977 and 1979, assisted by Youth Adult Conservation Corps youth crews. Data from the Red Cliffs site provided knowledge about the Ancestral Puebloan culture and way of life in southwestern Utah, which scientists only had very little familiarity with at the time. Many artifacts were recovered, including stone tools and pottery, which are now curated at the museum at Southern Utah University.

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Red Cliffs Archeological Site
Utah

The Red Cliffs Archaeological Site houses the remains of structures from when the Ancestral Puebloans were residing there intermittently from about 500 A.D. to 1200 A.D. The occupation spanned three distinct periods in Ancestral Puebloan history: Basketmaker III, Pueblo I, and Pueblo II. It is common to find habitation from these periods along water sources, in this case Quail Creek, where farming of maize and other crops was possible. One or two families lived together in pithouses, and later in multi-roomed surface pueblos. The families at this site were primarily sedentary farmers, cultivating small fields along the creek, but would also gather native plants and hunt. After 1200 A.D. the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned this site, possibly due to prolonged drought periods and climate change. BLM archaeologists excavated this site between 1977 and 1979, assisted by Youth Adult Conservation Corps youth crews. Data from the Red Cliffs site provided knowledge about the Ancestral Puebloan culture and way of life in southwestern Utah, which scientists only had very little familiarity with at the time. Many artifacts were recovered, including stone tools and pottery, which are now curated at the museum at Southern Utah University.

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From I-15 Exit 22* (northbound only), turn right onto the frontage road at the end of the freeway off-ramp. Travel south approximately 2 miles. Turn right just past the sign for the Red Cliffs Recreation Area. Proceed under the two freeway tunnels (height and width restricted to 12 x 12) and follow the paved road into the campground. Pay a day use fee and park in one of the day use parking spaces. *From I-15 Exit 23 (southbound only), turn left on Silver Reef Road at the end of the freeway off-ramp. Turn right onto Main Street and travel south for 3.5 miles. Turn right just past the sign for the Red Cliffs Recreation Area. Proceed under the two freeway tunnels, and follow the paved road into the campground. Pay a day use fee and park in one of the day use parking spaces. Access Note: Access to the Recreation Area is through tunnels that restrict vehicle size to less than 12 feet in height and width (dirt and gravel in the tunnel can lower the height by several inches). Parking Note: Parking for day use is extremely limited (52 general use parking spaces) and vehicles with trailers must park at the White Reef Trailhead (take the first right turn after the second tunnel). During Spring and Fall, the most popular seasons to visit the Recreation Area, traffic control measures may be used, causing some visitors to be turned away for lack of parking. Plan accordingly.