May 222013

Almost 100 years ago, Albert Christensen began carving a home for his family out of this rock near Moab, Utah.  No, that’s not our Jeep in the upper left hand corner.  Just above the “C” is a 65 foot chimney for the fireplace.  The only natural light coming into the home, is from the windows in the three front rock openings.
Front view, Hole in the Rock
We had driven past this place many times and thought it was just a tourist trap.  Well it is, but we were also impressed to see how people actually lived in this big rock.

view of rooms, Hole in the RockWhat’s described as an “engineering marvel”, took 20 years to make this 5,000 square foot home.  Albert excavated 50,000 cubic feet of sandstone with his hand tools.

Fourteen rooms are arranged around these huge pillars.  The summer temperature never varies from a comfortable 72 degrees.

view of the artist's work, Hole in the Rock When Albert wasn’t carving rooms out of this sandstone rock, he painted religious and historic pictures.  He also taught himself taxidermy, when he found animals that didn’t survive the harsh winters.  We considered Albert to be very talented, but his mounted animals were weird.  His wife must’ve really loved him a lot, to allow these grotesque looking animals in her home.   view of the wife's doll collection, Hole in the Rock

After raising two boys, Gladys indulged in her feminine side by collecting dolls.  She displayed them in her pink carpeted bedroom.  At least her dolls could enjoy the elegant dresses she couldn’t wear in this desert environment.

To supplement their income, a large kitchen was carved out of the sandstone to serve dinners to travelers.  To make a deep fryer, Albert carved that out of sandstone too.

view of two rooms, Hole in the RockWe enjoyed our walking tour through the furnishings and tool displays of their life, as it would have been in the early 1900’s.

The Hole N’ The Rock was named by the National Geographic Traveler’s Magazine as one of the top 10 roadside attractions in the USA.  To encourage people to stop, the new owners added a gift shop and small zoo.  If you have ever wondered what living in a rock would be like, this is the place.  Also, visit this website: for more information.

  18 Responses to “Hole N’ The Rock, an unusual Utah home”

  1. How funny – we drove by the Hole N The Rock less than 2 weeks ago while traveling to Moab, UT. We didn’t stop so thanks for showing me!

    • Patti – I can’t tell you how many times we drove past that place too. We finally decided we had to see it for ourselves and glad we did.

  2. I never heard of this- how amazing endeavor. He was a man with a mission, I would love to see this.

  3. Wow, I love when people get creative with their environment, what a cool place to visit, reminds me of a cave hotel I stayed at in Cappadocia

    • I agree, they had to get creative since there weren’t many trees to build a house. Also the temperature was a constant comfortable temperature in summer.

  4. What a strange place. What happened to all the rock he had to remove to carve out the rooms? Was there running water? Electricity? It doesn’t seem like a good house for anyone with claustrophobia—especially with grotesque stuffed road kill or half decomposed dead animals. But, I’d probably feel compelled to stop to check it out.

    • Good question. They didn’t say what or where he went with all that rock. Yes, they had running water and electricity. They actually ran a restaurant in the front part of this cave. When there aren’t many trees, you do what you have to do to live there.

  5. What an unusual home. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a cave. I think I might feel claustrophobic or worry about the ceiling caving in. But I would like to see this place.

    • Besides not having many trees around to build a log cabin, the cave was climate controlled for keeping cool in a hot desert area.

  6. Very interesting! Albert was sure a creative and ambitious man!

  7. I never knew about this place in Moab. Of course, it’s been a long time since I was in the area. I’d definitely like to go inside — even if it is a tourist trap. It’s so unusual.

    • Yes, it’s kind of cheesy but fun to see. It’s worth stopping once cause you don’t want to miss something that’s actually historical.

  8. This looks like one of those “tourist attractions” well worth visiting!

    • We passed by so many times and finally gave in and stopped. It was so unusual that we were glad to see it, even though it’s a tourist trap.

  9. Definitely a labor of love! (Your photographs seem to have a hiccup) 🙂

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