Photo of Ed Welch at house On Fire Ruins in Canyonlands, Utah

House On Fire Ruins – Mule Canyon, Utah

House On Fire Ruins – Mule Canyon, Utah – March 8-9, 2015

I‘ve always had a desire to photograph House On Fire Ruins and finally had the opportunity the last week of March. House on Fire is one of many ancient Anasazi ruins in Mule Canyon. It wasn’t really a house at all but a granary.  Looking at photographs of this ruin one might believe that they have been digitally altered as the ruin really looks like it is on fire. The “fire” is created for only a short period of time late in the morning on sunny days when the sun’s rays bounce off of the slickrock slope below the ruins.  If you get there too early it will be in shade; too late and your photos will be washed out as it will be in direct sunlight.

Ed Welch at house on Fire Ruins in Mule Canyon, Utah

Getting There

House on Fire is about 25 miles from Blanding, Utah just off of Utah 95 on County Rd. 263. Look for County Rd. 263 at mile marker 102 on Utah 95. It is on the north side of 95. Turn north on 263 and there will be a BLM sign and kiosk where you can pay your fee. There is a small parking area about a quarter of a mile further north on 263. You will see a trail marker on your left.

Walk down into the wash and follow the trail which pretty much follows the creek. When we were there in late March, there was some snow and parts of the wash were wet but easily navigable.  House On Fire is located about a mile (35 to 40 minutes) from your car just before the canyon turns north. Keep looking to your right as it is hard to see from the trail. It sits on a ledge about 30 to 40 feet above the creek. There should be a cairn to mark it.

Photo Tips

I shoot with a full frame Canon 5D Mark III and only used my wide angle 17 to 40mm f/4 lens. Most shots were between 20 and 23mm except for the horizontal shot shown below which was at 35mm.

My photography partner on this trip got me hooked on a Hoodman.  I don’t think that I could have gotten my images in focus without it given the glare on my camera. Using live view with the hoodman made this much easier. I will never go the southwest again without my Hoodman.

  • Vertical compositions will capture the “flames” better than horizontal.
  • The ruins on the far right are used in the classic shot. Here you get the full effect of the light reflecting on the sandstone.
  • I didn’t use HDR here but you may want to as there there is some contrast (especially the darks in the doors and windows).

House on Fire Ruins - Mule Canyon, Utah

House on Fire Ruins - Mule Canyon, Utah

Share this Post

Leave a Reply