When we first started planning this trip we could not find much information about access to this ruin besides an old blog post. Now that I’m trying to find that blog post (no luck), I am finding many other bloggers talking about the ruin. We will be adding to the collective knowledge with how to access the ruin, specifically, if your are rafting the San Juan River from Montezuma Creek.
First and foremost, we strongly recommend that you submit a request for a hiking/camping permit – http://www.navajonationparks.org/permits.htm – this provides you with education about the area you’ll be entering and is part of your responsibility for traveling onto Navajo land. Please do this whether you drive or boat in. Thank you!
We put in with two rafts at Montezuma Creek and turned a long day trip into an overnight. With our permit we were able to camp on river left, Navajo land, which does afford more options than river right, which is BLM. On day two of our trip we used a vague blog post and our river guide to find the hiking trail that leads from the river to Casa del Eco ruin.
In between river miles 8 and 7, there is a marking for “Location of Old Footbridge”. We knew from the blog post that the footbridge is how people used to hike to the Casa del Eco ruin. We kept an eye on the cliffs on river right and for any remnants of the old bridge. Just as the cliff on river right ends there is a metal piling sticking out of the river on the opposite shore. At the time of our float, there was several piles of debris on river left but we were able to eddy out with some creative maneuvering.
There is a road, visible from the river and very evident from the shore, that leads directly to the ruin . We recommend following the road to the left when it splits, it’s a clearer path and you’ll have an eye on the ruin the whole time. As you come up on the mesa, the road will split again, bear right past a homestead. You’ll see a path leading up to the ruin. If you are looking for shade, like we were, go a bit further and you’ll find a spot below the ruin that’s perfect for a picnic (please, practice leave no trace).
When we hiked out we made the loop but recommend retracing your steps back the way you came in as it is a more defined road.
Casa del Eco Ruin:
- Moderate hike
- 2 to 2 1/4 miles round trip
- No drinkable water
- Permit required
We made this hike with four little kids and highly recommend it! We did need to follow-up with Navajo Parks & Recreation for our permit but they happily scanned it and emailed it to us after we chatted with them.