In Moab, the city in Utah famous for Arches, Canyonlands and Castle Valley the surprises never end, but this time I want to tell you about a really unusual place, which you will surely notice when you are in Moab. Perhaps it cannot compare with all the incredible beauty of the city’s surroundings, but Hole N” The Rock can be a nice stop before moving on to the next major destination. One thing’s for sure. This place will catch your eye!
What is Hole N”The Rock?
It is hard to define with one word what Hole N” The Rock is! It is a deep cave that is 16,361 square ft carved into a huge red rock, the kind of rock that is typical in this region. Almost a century ago, the Christensen family settled in this cave and adapted the cavities in the rock to real habitable rooms.
Over a period of 20 years, the Christensen family transformed what was supposed to be just a simple refuge for their children first into a diner for the workers of the area, then into a ballroom and finally into a house with 14 rooms separated by huge rock pillars, all furnished and embellished with bizarre, charming and somewhat tacky accessories, such as the fireplace and the large bathtub carved into the rock, as well as an infinite number of paintings, sculptures, trinkets and household items. After the death of Albert, the brilliant head of the family, the Christensen family’s dream was carried on by his wife Gladys, who for almost twenty years was involved in the care of the house in the rock. The couple is buried near the house, in a nearby cave.
Other Eccentric Attractions
- A small petting zoo with camels, donkeys, goats, zebras, emu, ostriches, bison, raccoons, ankole-watusi and many exotic birds. Children love this zoo because they can feed the animals.
- A monument to Franklin D. Roosevelt, right on the “façade” of the house, sculpted by Albert Christiansen himself.
- An exhibit of metal sculptures that mainly animal-themed curated by Lyle Nichols
- A traditional gift shop, where you can buy souvenirs
- A trading post that sells Native American handicrafts
- Several bizarre objects that you may recall seeing in the shops and restaurants on Route 66, such as an off-road vehicle made with work tools, gas pumps of the last century, a caged rock, a reproduction of Mater from Cars (like in Seligman!), a prison cell, an old miners’ passenger lift, a mine worker suspended on a wagon, old motel signs, Bigfoot (if you can find it…), a colorful lizard climbing on the rock, a giant cactus made with bowling balls, a jeep hanging off of the “roof” of the house and many other antique objects and tools.
Hole N” the Rock Hours and Admission Fee
Access to almost all of the attractions listed above is free, but if you are interested in a 12-minute guided tour inside the house you’ll have to pay for a ticket (about $6 for adults and $3.50 for children from 5 to 10 years old). The cost of admission to the petting zoo is about $4, but admission for children under 2 years old is free.
Hole N” the Rock is open daily from 9:00 am. to 5:00 pm. There are no accommodations at the house, but you can easily find a place to stay in Moab.
How to Get to Hole N” the Rock
I’m not kidding when I tell you that if you’re going south from Moab (Monticello) on 191 S, it’s almost impossible to miss Hole N” The Rock, which will be on your left. To say that it is well-marked is an understatement. In fact, on a rock face on the side of the road, you will see a huge white inscription with the name of the attraction and a white arrow. It’s hard to resist the temptation to stop and to take a look. Once you’ve parked, you’ll see that there’s a Hollywood Sign on the front of the rock house too (regardless of whether it is right or wrong to deface nature in this way). If you want to know what the address is so that you can type it in your GPS, here it is: 11037 S Highway 191, Moab.
Why Visit Hole N” the Rock
Hole N” The Rock will interest those who love the bizarre spirit of Route 66, which seems to have extended to this area in Utah. If you prefer to visit a place of pristine natural beauty instead, then head straight to Monticello, where, among other things, you will find Looking Glass Rock, Wilson Arch, and the impressive Church Rock 25 miles away. If you want to know more about these three beautiful natural points of interest, read this article.