One of the less known but very special Southwest destinations – the “House on Fire” ruins in Utah. It’s called that for a good reason: In the late morning light, the sun lights the rock formations above the ruins and changes it appearance so dramatically that they look like as burning in a fire blaze. It’s very impressive to see how the light is able to turn an interesting spot into a somewhat spooky and scary place, just within seconds.
Best time to get here is around 11:30am to make sure you don’t miss it. At least that was the time we arrived when we visited in June. The sun needs to not have reached its highest point yet so it lights up the ground in front of the rock overhang which reflects against the ruins and its formations. Also, it should not have disappeared behind the rocks.
This place is located in Mule Canyon which has Blanding (about 26 miles away) as one of the nearest towns. Get on highway 263 from Blanding and look for the turn near mile marker 102 on your right (if you’re coming from Blanding). Don’t use a later turn that has a sign for “Ruins”, this is not “House on Fire”.
To get to the ruins, it’s a quit simple 3 mile roundtrip hike. The difficulty is more to find the right trailhead, we’ve done another nice 5 mile roundtrip but noticed too late that this one will not lead to the ruins. When you enter the area and pass a kiosk to pay the day use fee ($2/person) just continue a bit further and drive down the hill. There is a turnout which you can use for parking on the right-hand side. Opposite to the turnout, you’ll see the trailhead, its located a bit below street level. Enter your credits in the trail book, if you see a book with lots of entries and raving feedback – you’re at the right spot! Continue on this path until you spot it right next to the trail – you can’t miss it.
We’ve enjoyed a picnic while shooting it from all angles. I’ve found the spot right in the middle, on a lower level very good. Make sure you got a solid wide-angle lens with you (recommended flexible 18-30mm range) to get a full shot of the house and formations.