Escalante and Boulder, the two small towns serving Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, also both have the added attraction of a state park - Escalante State Park contains petrified wood and a reservoir, while Anasazi State Park in Boulder preserves the site of a 12th century Ancestral Puebloan settlement, next to which is a museum with a good collection of Anasazi artefacts.
The ruins are neither very extensive nor particularly impressive, consisting of low wall remnants and other minor stone structures, most covered by a rather intrusive metal canopy for protection, but the site as a whole is quite interesting, and takes just an hour or so to visit.
Anasazi State Park is situated on the east side of UT 12 at the north edge of Boulder, adjacent to a couple of restaurants, and surrounded by a mixture of houses and small fields. Visitors enter through the museum, which has a bookstore, auditorium, interpretive displays, interactive exhibits and collections of pottery, tools and other items found during the excavations. There are many arrowheads and spear points, some donated by a local landowner who over many years found in excess of 10,000, made from a variety of different materials including agate, chert, jasper, obsidian and petrified wood. The museum also has a viewing window into a research area where additional material is stored and pot fragment reconstructions are in progress.
Behind the museum stands a replica pueblo of six rooms, built to illustrate what the original settlement might have looked like. The park extends several hundred feet beyond, across a sagebrush and juniper-covered hill, toured by a short paved trail around the excavations - two main groups of ruins totaling approximately 30 rooms, some with original, burnt timbers, evidence of past destruction of the village. There is also a partly restored pithouse, topped by a symmetric roof made of local timbers. The unexcavated section of the site is beyond the trail, quite overgrown, and not appearing to have any recognizable structures, yet another 70 rooms and pithouses (though no kivas) lie buried here.
The ruins, known as Coombs Village
, were first excavated in 1958-9 and are significant for being the remains of one of the largest Anasazi settlements west of the Colorado River - the majority are to the south and east, in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. The site is close to the boundary between the Anasazi and the Fremont, whose lands extended west across much of south and central Utah. This location would seem to be ideal for habitation, owing the arable soils, permanent water supply, good source of timber and other building materials, and the abundance of game for hunting. Dating of wood found in the ruins suggests that most construction was carried out between 1129 and 1169, and the village is believed to have been abandoned around 1200 after burning of the site, possibly on purpose. The inhabitants probably moved back south to less isolated communities in the Kayenta area of north Arizona.