After we spent several days adventuring through Capitol Reef National Park, we had an entire day dedicated to driving Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 to Bryce Canyon National Park and exploring Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument along the way.
What’s really cool about the national monument — other than the spectacular views — is that it encompasses all sorts of other state parks and activities. Our first official stop of the day was the Anasazi State Park Museum.
The six acre Anasazi State Park Museum complex, established as a Utah state park in 1960, protects the ruins of an ancient Native American village.
The Ancestral Puebloan village, known as the Coombs Site, was one of the largest Anasazi communities west of the Colorado River. Located at 6,700 feet elevation in the heart of Utah’s Bryce Canyon country, it was believed to have been occupied by about 200 Anasazi from A.D. 1050 to 1200.
The Coombs Site was partially excavated in 1958 and 1959 by the University of Utah as part of the Glen Canyon Dam Project. The excavations unearthed nearly 100 structures, including one-story apartment complexes, open shelters for working in the shade, storage pits, and adobe pit houses. Many artifacts discovered during the excavations are on display in the Anasazi State Park Museum.
Visiting The Museum
In front of the museum, we were greeted by a concessionaire — Magnolia’s Street Food — and shady outdoor seating area set up around their super cute blue bus / food truck. It was the perfect spot to grab some coffee and hot cocoa!
Inside the Anasazi State Park Museum and Visitor Center, you’ll find:
- An auditorium and short video about the Anasazi people
- Arrowheads, thousands of artifacts, tools, and pieces of pottery
- Interpretive exhibits and village replicas
- Viewing of the park’s research area
- An information desk for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- A gift shop and store with maps, books, souvenirs, gifts, and snacks
After exploring the museum, we headed out back, along a paved, accessible path to check out a life-sized, six-room replica of an ancient dwelling and a portion of the Coombs site. You can go inside the L-shaped replica building, which made for some fun photos!
The paved path then took us on a self-guided tour around two groups of low-walled Anasazi ruins under metal shade covers. Here you can see the structure of about 30 rooms, a partially restored kiva (pit house), and burned building supports that suggest the village was abandoned after a fire. Interpretive signs along the path provide more information about the ancient village
Know Before You Go
- Anasazi Indian Village State Park is located at 460 North Highway 12, Boulder, Utah 84716 on the east side of Scenic Byway 12. It is in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
- The Anasazi State Park Museum and Coombs Site was added to the National Register Of Historic Places in 1976.
- The day use fee is $5.00. A five day pass is $15.00 and provides day use entrance to most Utah state parks for five consecutive days.
- The park and museum are open year-round, seven days a week but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. From November 1 to March 31, hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. From April 1 to October 31, Hours are 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- A short, accessible, paved trail leads around the Anasazi ruins.
- Group and individual picnic areas, drinking water, and modern restrooms are available. There is no available camping.
- Grab some food at Magnolia’s Street Food, located in a cool Chevy Bluebird Bus in the museum parking lot! They are open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch and serve a variety of street foods you can take away in your hand or sit down and enjoy under the shade of the cottonwoods.
- There are no overnight facilities at the museum, but camping and lodging are available nearby.